Family-Friendly Event: Run Or Dye Chicago {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I will receive compensation and admission to this event in exchange for this promotional post.)

Run or Dye, the world’s most colorful 5K, is headed to Toyota Park on May 24, 2014!  Bring all your friends and run a color-blasted 5K, where you get showered in safe, eco-friendly, plant-based cornstarch dye every kilometer. Then enjoy the world-famous Dye Festival afterward, where you can Tie-Dye the Sky (not to mention all your friends!) in this ultimate celebration of life, friendship, fitness, and fun.

Run or Dye is for everyone! Whether you’re a recovering couch potato or an avid marathon runner, you’ll love the atmosphere and experience at Run or Dye. You’re welcome to walk, run, dance, or skip your way to the finish line. And Run or Dye is family-friendly — kids 6 and under participate for FREE and do not require registration!

Use the code: BLOGCHICAGO to save $10. CODE EXPIRES MAY 17th!  If you join a team you can save another $5!

GIVEAWAY:

Enter below for your chance to win two codes for free admission to Run or Dye in Chicago on May 24th, 2014. Giveaway ends 5/10/2014 at 11:59pm. Winner will be send the codes via email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway.

 

So who wants to join in on the fun with me?!

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago: A Kid-Friendly Luxury Hotel

Ritz baking collage

Despite living only about an hour away from Chicago, we don’t really go downtown that often. I wanted to go somewhere over President’s Day since the boys were out of school and I had the day off from work, so our family headed to Chicago for a couple days of fun in the big city. I was really excited about this trip because I would be reviewing The Ritz-Carlton Chicago hotel. I had heard of this hotel, and assumed it would be too “fancy” for me to bring the boys to, but when they invited us for a “family sleepover” we decided to go and I’m so glad we did.

When I checked out the website I noticed a few things immediately that keyed me in to how great it would be for kids. Room-wise they offered childproof rooms which I think is great for people with young children. They also had a bunch of amenities just for the kids. To keep children occupied they also had a pool, cookie baking, and a candy cart that you could have come to your room.

When we first walked into the suite I was amazed at how large it was. We were staying in their Deluxe Lake-View Suite. It was about the size of my first apartment. Here is a video walk-through of the suite:

This suite was located on the 24th floor and was on the corner so we had lake views from every room. I even got to wake up to the lake outside of my window as I laid in bed! That to me is a dream!

The boys were so excited to see a little tent in the room. One of the maids also came before bedtime for “turn down” service and made the pullout couch into a bed for the boys. Some of my other favorite kid-friendly features in the room were the bathrobes and kid-toiletries. 

We didn’t make it to the pool but the boys loved baking cookies in the kitchen. They were then delivered to our room about an hour later with whipped cream and sprinkles so the boys could decorate them and then eat them.

There were delicious treats for mommy and daddy, too!

Along with the fun inside the hotel, guests of The Ritz-Carlton can take an elevator down to the Water Tower mall. This was perfect for our winter visit to the city because we could enjoy the mall and it’s restaurants without having to put on our coats and walk in the slush and snow outside. The boys enjoyed playing at the LEGO store and Luke and I walked through the American Girl store. We also went up every escalator in the mall and then took the elevator down.

Another thing I liked was that the check-in and check-out times were really generous. Check-out was at noon so we were able to walk down Michigan Avenue and relax in our room a bit before we had to leave. We wanted to avoid this wintery weather for as long as we could….

Are you looking to enjoy an evening in Chicago? While the $785/night suites are a little pricier than my family would normally stay in, I think it’s worth splurging a bit to experience the luxury that we did! When I checked there were also hotel rooms priced at $295/night. Along with the beautiful hotel located in the perfect spot on Michigan Avenue, the staff was excellent and the beds were really comfortable. I think both couples and families would enjoy staying at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago. It is definitely a hotel we will go back to!

(Disclosure: My family received a free stay at the hotel but all thoughts are my own.)

Chicago’s Favorite Chocolates

Fannie May gift ideas

(Disclosure: I received a box of chocolates for review but all thoughts are my own.)

You all know I love chocolate. As a Chicagoan, I am lucky to have one of the very best chocolate companies based right here in my area- Fannie May! I can’t remember a Christmas without a box of Fannie May chocolates. My favorites include their pixies and their mint meltaways. I also enjoy their boxes of assorted chocolates.

I’ll tell you a funny story that I am extremely embarrassed to share…. when I was younger (a long time ago) we had a box of assorted chocolates in the fridge. I don’t remember how old I was but I was young enough that I couldn’t just eat as many chocolates as I wanted because they were limited to a dessert item. Well I had my favorites and then flavors I had never tried. I was in the fridge one day when I decided that I wanted to try the other flavors but didn’t want to be selfish and eat the whole piece of chocolate so I took a bite of a few of them and left the other halves in the fridge.

At the time it made sense in my head to share the other half with someone else but, as you can imagine, my dad was not very happy that I had left half-eaten chocolate in the fridge. He probably would have preferred that I just ate the whole piece. Looking back I realize now that a knife would have been a better cutting choice than my teeth. I think about that story every time I have a box of chocolates from Fannie May and it brings back memories of my childhood every time I bite into a piece of chocolate. 

Along with the special memories I have of Fannie May chocolates, I think the chocolate is delicious. I took a look at their website and chose some of the gifts I think *someone* would like if you haven’t bought me them a gift yet ;)

Sea Salt Caramels

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Milk Chocolate Pixies

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Artisan Holiday Bark

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Mint Meltaways

I checked and it’s not too late to place your order for Christmas. There is a 20% off sale and free 2nd day shipping promotion as well. Head on over to their website for full details!

How To Make Perfect Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies

With baking season in full-swing I wanted to share these 9 tips from Country Woman magazine to help you make the perfect sugar cookie. I’ll be baking with the boys tomorrow so these tips came just in time!

1.    Don’t Be Too Touchy: Use a light touch when handling the dough. Over-handling will result in tough cookies.

2.    Stay Cool: Refrigerate the dough before rolling for easier handling.

3.    Avoid Sticky Situations: Prevent sticking by lightly dusting with flour both the rolling pin and work surface. Be careful—working     too much extra flour into the dough will make the cookies tough.

4.    Start Small: Roll out a portion of the dough at a time; keep remaining dough in the fridge so it stays easy to work with.

5.    Create An Even Playing Field: Roll from the center to the edge, keeping a uniform thickness. Check thickness with a ruler. Uneven dough means cookies will bake unevenly, and thinner cookies may burn before thicker ones are done.

6.    Get a Clean Cut: Dip your cutter in flour or use nonstick cooking spray to keep dough from sticking to the cookie cutter.

7.    Take Out the Tools: Keep cutouts intact before and after baking by transferring them to and from the baking sheet with a large    metal spatula or pancake turner that supports the entire cutout.

8.    Keep it Simple: Limit designs and colors when decorating. Too many colors and shapes can be overwhelming.

9.    Leave Them Out to Dry: Let decorated cookies dry overnight before packaging them for gift giving or freezing.

Illinois Moms: Become A Field Mom

field moms

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post. I am an Illinois Farm Families Ambassador® but all thoughts are my own.)

Have you ever wondered where your food came from? If so, I have an exciting opportunity to share with you! Illinois Farm Families® is now accepting applications for it’s 2014 Field Moms program.

“Field Moms” are moms from the Chicago area. They visit different Illinois farms throughout the year to learn more about the farmers and their families and what they do on their farms. Four Saturday trips are planned for the year. They also get to ask questions about food and farming topics they see in the news.

2013 Field Moms

Along with visiting farms, the 2013 Field Moms followed the growth of an acre of soybeans and an acre of corn at Donna’s farm and a pen of pigs at Jen’s farm. This gave the Field Moms a chance to experience first-hand what it is like to be a farmer.

Here are what two moms had to say about the Field Moms program:

“As a person concerned with the overall public’s health and as a self-declared ‘foodie,’ how (and where) our food is provided, butchered and served is of utmost importance to me. Clearly, cattle steering is not an easy way to earn a living. I was impressed with the family’s candor and openness when faced with tough questions.” –Renee Keats, 2013 Field Mom

“Integrity, hospitality, hard work, intelligent, precision farming are all words or terms that shined through on this visit to Paul and Donna Jeschke’s farm. We learned so much about corn and soybean planting. They hosted us even though they were still planting on the day of our visit.” –
Susan Herold, 2013 Field Mom 

Want to join in on the fun and learning? Find out more about the Illinois Farm Families, the Field Moms program, and how to apply here.

 

Chicago Toy & Game Fair {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I am receiving free tickets and attending their complimentary media breakfast but thoughts are my own.)

Kick off your holiday fun! Go to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, the largest toy and game fair in the US that’s open to the public. Come out to preview, play with the hottest new TOYS and GAMES from around the world, and meet the inventors who created them. Other fun includes: tournaments, contests, meet costumed characters, see Radio Disney AM 1300 Road Crew, live stage entertainment, contests, and much much more!

I went two years ago and found lots of great new toys and games for my family.

Where:

Navy Pier, Festival Hall A

When:

Saturday, November 23, 2012 – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday, November 24, 2012 – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Click here for ticket info and a $2 off coupon.

GIVEAWAY:

3 people will win Weekend Family Passes to ChiTAG

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Tell me what your favorite game or toy is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and 18 or older to win. This giveaway includes tickets only. All other fees including parking/travel are the responsibility of the winner.

Family Fun At The Pumpkin Farm

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(Disclosure: We received free tickets into Pumpkin Fest but all thoughts are my own.)

I love going to Fall festivals with my family. Last weekend we went to Pumpkin Fest at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, IL. There was so much to do there and the kids were in awe as they ran from activity to activity. We only were able to stay a couple hours but they jumped on inflatables, rode a pony, went on a hayride, went through a haunted barn, went through an obstacle course, saw animals at the petting zoo, and played on giant climbing structures.

There were pumpkins for sale throughout the farm and a big pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Other activities we didn’t get a chance to do included paintball, stories told by the Pumpkin Princess, a big bouncy inflatable “cloud”, a giant corn maze, a rock climbing wall and a train ride.

Here are some pictures from our afternoon of Fall fun:

The boys posing on the pumpkins {the one must-take pumpkin patch photo!}

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Wooden train play area

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The cornfield maze

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Jacob and Daddy

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Big spider web climber

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Luke on his pony ride

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The haunted barn we went in (which wasn’t all that scary but good for kids)

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The playland area the kids loved

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The pick your own pumpkin patch we got to by hayride

What a fun afternoon! Visit Siegel’s Pumpkin Fest in the next couple weeks to make great memories with your family.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Chicago Mix Popcorn

(Disclosure: I received samples but thoughts are my own.)

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Have you ever heard of Chicago Mix Popcorn before? It’s a concept that is fairly new to me but I love it. What it does is take the sweet taste of caramel popcorn and the salty taste of cheese popcorn and combines the two flavored popcorn into one bag. No idea how it got it’s name but it’s delicious!

I recently received samples of GH Cretors Popcorn. The caramel corn is made the old fashioned way: by hand, in copper kettles. Cane sugar, brown rice syrup (a non-GMO alternative to corn syrup with a lower glycemic impact) and real butter is heated over a flame and then stirred slowly by hand to develop its rich complex flavor and crunch. For the cheese corn, real cheddar cheese is melted in special kettles and then gently mixed with locally-grown, air-popped corn. The result is a perfect combination of tastes, two-cheese to one-caramel in every bag. And, this treat is all natural and completely free of GMO’s, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives!

Not a fan of mixing your popcorn flavors? You are in luck because GH Cretors sells “Just the Cheese Corn” and “Just the Caramel Corn” separately. Also, just in time for Halloween, they are selling single serve sized bags of the popcorn that is just right for handing out to Trick-or-Treaters.

Which flavor would you try first?

Literacy Events Around The Nation Today

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Join the record-breaking literacy celebration today, October 3, with Jumpstart! People all across the country will read the children’s book Otis by Loren Long in support of Jumpstart’s mission to work towards the day that every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Joined by Tiffani Thiessen, actress and star of USA’s White Collar, Jumpstart hopes to break last year’s record of 2.3 million participants reading the same book at the same time.

Jumpstart will host several large scale events on October 3 in cities and towns across the country with marquee events in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. In addition, many of Jumpstart’s campaign Reading Partners and sponsors will be hosting events. Gymboree will host events in every Gymboree, Janie & Jack, Crazy 8, and Gymboree Play & Music locations across the country. Additionally, official Reading Partner, We Give Books will have Otis available to read online for free in both English and Spanish at www.wegivebooks.org.

”Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is a meaningful way for Americans to support the critical need for high-quality early education in our country,” said Jumpstart’s president and CEO, Naila Bolus. “We know that for children living in low-income communities, this need is significant. By the time these children enter kindergarten, they are already 60% behind their more affluent peers. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record brings light to this national issue and gives citizens a platform to voice their support for this cause.”

Learn more at http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-record.

Chicago Area Events

Chicago will hold two events today in honor of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record.

Lincoln Park Zoo:

The Lincoln Park Zoo will host three readings of “Otis” by Loren Long on Thursday morning. The readings are open to the public, and U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley will attend. Readings are at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Chicago Children’s Museum:

The Chicago Children’s Museum will also hold an event. Kraft Family Free Night will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is open to the public. There will be readings of “Otis“ throughout the night.

 

 

Bears Football And Buffalo Wild Wings: The Perfect Combination

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buffalo Wild Wings for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m sure you all know by now that I love football.  I loudly cheer for my Chicago Bears and have even been getting my young boys into the game (though lately my 4 year old has started cheering for the Packers so I obviously have some more work to do there).

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One of my favorite football foods is wings and not just any wings but honey bbq boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. I often send Sinisa out to pick them up when there are night games since the kids are sleeping. Thursday night games are great because then he can get a deal on my wings during Boneless Thursdays.

Mid-day Sunday games are my favorite because we can go as a whole family to enjoy the game and some family time at the restaurant after we go to Church. The boys love the arcade like games they have as well and I don’t have to worry about them being loud because the whole restaurant is loud- especially when our team scores a touchdown!

I look forward to many more football games at Buffalo WIld Wings with my family because there is nothing better than football and wings with the ones I love! Connect with Buffalo WIld Wings! Follow Buffalo Wild Wings on Twitter or Like Buffalo Wild Wings on Facebook.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Microsoft’s Creative Workshop in Schaumburg, IL 10/3 {Microsoft Gift Card Giveaways}

artmobb

Tomorrow, LA artist ArtMobb is going to be in the Chicago area for a Microsoft Store “Creative Workshop” event at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Mike Farhat and Chris Hoyle of Art Mobb have established themselves as two of Los Angeles’s most innovative artists by creating sought after mixed-media artwork for the NBA elite and other top athletes. ArtMobb will be demoing different things you can do with the “Fresh Paint” function on Microsoft’s Surface tablets.

Image via artmobb.com

ArtMobb’s is also going to be debuting a cool, brand-new unique Bears painting while in town. As a huge Bears fan I’m so jealous of everyone who will be there and can’t wait to see it!

EVENT DETAILS:

Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL

Thursday, October 3

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

GIVEAWAY:

5 winners will win a $50 Microsoft gift card

HOW TO ENTER:

 {Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite Microsoft product is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @artmobb on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Follow @FreshPaintTeam on Twitter

6) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 16, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to win.

(Information and prizes courtesy of Microsoft.)

Kuipers Family Farm: Apples, Pumpkins, And Trees {Maple Park, IL}

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(Disclosure: I am receiving a family pack of passes to the pumpkin farm.)

Kuipers’ Fall season began in August when the orchard opened for apple picking (Sat & Sun only) and the aroma of fresh apple cider doughnuts, home-baked pies, fudge, pasteurized apple cider and hand-spun caramel apples from The Orchard Shop and Bakery lingers in the air.

September 21st the west side of the farm opened for some down-on-the-farm-fun like The Maize Corn Maze, hayrides, farm animals, a haunted forest, tractor tire mountain, peddle tractor derby, nature walk, jumping pillows,  pumpkin picking and much more.  Be sure to catch the Pig Races and The Cowboy Randy Roping Show on the weekends.  The Pumpkin Farm is a great place to host your child’s birthday party or visit with your Scout group (see website for package details). 

November and December at the farm is dedicated to the holidays with pies and specialty foods for entertaining, unique gifts for giving and of course, Christmas trees.  Harvest your own right from the fields or select a freshly harvested Fraser Fir from our huge selection.

Save on Fall fun at Kuipers Family Farm with this coupon! Visit Kuiper’s Family Farm online here.

Find Fun Near You With SpotOn.it {Chicago Children’s Museum Passes Giveaway}

children's museum giveaway

It’s rare to find “free” time where I’m not working and the boys aren’t in sports, school or other activities. I love taking the kids places when we have that extra time but the hard part is figuring out what we can go do. I was contacted by SpotOn.it and have decided to partner with them because I love the service they offer.

Parents can create wishlists based upon their different interests and discover new things to do in their city. I created two wishlists to start- “fun for the kids” and “time for a date” {a mom can dream, right?}.

One thing that I think sets this site apart from the other “event” type sites I have been on is that you can look for events based on when you are available down to the time of day. Want to see what is going on tomorrow afternoon? You can search the date and time of day along with a category (ie. kids, food & drink, etc…)

There are lots of great locations on SpotOn.it that are sharing their events and activities. One of those places is the Chicago Children’s Museum. I’m thrilled to be able to offer 2 of my readers a family 4 pack of tickets to this fabulous children’s museum located on Navy Pier in Chicago. Giveaway ends at midnight on October 13, 2013.

(Disclosure: I received passes for the Chicago Children’s Museum in exchange for posting. Thoughts are my own.)

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm {Crest Hill, IL}

siegel's

(Disclosure: I am receiving admission to the pumpkin patch for my family but all thoughts are my own.)

Live in the Chicago area? Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, IL has lots of fall fun for your family! The Siegel’s have been farming this same land since 1909 and is a 4th generation working family farm.

Harvest your Family Memories on 40 Acres of “Affordable Family Fun” with over 20 different attractions included in General Admission. Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm features a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkins right from the vine! Not many places around Chicago let you do that. Also, new this year are the Statesville Zombie Paintball Ride and Lexi’s Jumpin’ Blob Jamboree!

Make sure to grab this coupon before your visit and save $5 off the price of a ticket if purchased ahead of time or $2 off at the gate.

First Swim Lessons At Goldfish Swim School

goldfish swim school collage

(Disclosure: My boys are receiving free lessons at Goldfish Swim School but all thoughts are my own.)

My boys started swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School last week. I was really excited to check out the facilities and get the boys back in the water swimming.

Goldfish Swim School is definitely a happy place to be! Look at all the bright colors and fun murals on the walls.

The viewing area for the parents is even fun.

Arriving early is no problem because there is plenty to keep the kids occupied while they wait for their lessons to start.

I like that Goldfish Swim School has small class sizes. My boys class size will never be more than 4 kids to 1 instructor. Also, the water is always nice and warm at 90 degrees. Cold water was one of the things that Jacob hated at other swim lessons. We won’t have that problem at Goldfish!

There was also someone doing assessments of the children while they were swimming and at the end of the lessons we were able to see how where they were at skill-wise. The boys even got ribbons and balloons to celebrate their first lesson. What a nice treat for the kids!

After lessons we headed into private changing rooms to get out of the bathing suits. There is also a hair drying station which will be nice when it’s cold outside and I don’t want to bring the boys outside with wet hair. Goldfish Swim School seems to have thought of it all.

Overall, the boys loved their first lessons at Goldfish Swim School. We can’t wait to go back next week and continue to learn how to swim.

Fall At The Morton Arboretum {Giveaway}

Morton Arboretum Visit {Fall 2009}

Morton Arboretum Visit {Fall 2009}

Fall is quickly approaching and The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL is a great place to see amazing fall color, and enjoy the smells, tastes and sounds of fall. We love visiting the Arboretum and the Fall is one of our favorite seasons to go. Here are some fun events coming up in the next couple of months:

Tails on the Trails

For the first time, man’s best friend is taking over The Morton Arboretum. Tails on the Trails will be offered Saturday, September 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Enjoy a “paw”fect day out with your pet as you meander down the Arboretum’s 16 miles of hiking trails. Then, check out canine demonstrations and local vendors by Meadow Lake.

The cost is $5 per dog. A portion of the proceeds will go to a local animal shelter. All dogs must be current with vaccinations, be social with other dogs and be kept on a leash at all times while on the Arboretum property.

Honey Bee Weekend

September is National Honey Month. Celebrate at The Morton Arboretum’s annual Honey Bee Weekend, September 7-8. Explore the Honey Bee Expo, featuring honey and bee-themed products such as honey mead, candles, lotions and beekeeper kits.

One out of every three bites we eat depends on pollination by bees. But recent headlines have been full of warnings about the health of our bee populations – should we be concerned? Over a honey-themed buffet lunch, entomologist and author May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois will update us on the health of our honey bee populations during Honey Lunch & Learn: Healthy Bees, Healthy Food, Saturday, September 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn their biology, find out just what honey bees eat, hear the latest on Colony Collapse Disorder and more! Cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

An opportunity to have May Berenbaum’s books signed by the author will follow at 2 p.m. at the Honey Bee Weekend booths in Arbor Court.

Learn all about honeybees, their favorite flowers and how honey is made on a Family Honeybee Hike. Hike includes a viewing of Arboretum beehives and sampling of our Arboretum honey! 45 minute hikes are available Saturday, September 7 or Sunday, September 8 at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Cost per person is $5 for members, $6 for nonmembers. Designed for families with children ages 2 and up. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

Take a Bee Hive Tour on Friday, September 6 or Sunday, September 8 from 9 to 11 a.m. with Greg Fischer, the Arboretum’s beekeeper. Bee netting will be provided. Enjoy a sample of honey for a sweet finish to the tour. Cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.

Submit your own honey in our second annual Honey Competition on September 6. A certified judge will award best in class and best in show ribbons in a variety of categories. A complimentary workshop on how to prepare honey for competition will take place on Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 p.m. in the Sycamore Room. No registration required.

Enjoy honey inspired food paired with mead, a honey wine at the Arboretum’s second annual Honey Mead Dinner on September 5. Arboretum beekeeper, Greg Fischer will be present explaining the pairings and how mead is made.

Wish the Children’s Garden a Happy Bee-day! Celebrate the garden’s 8th birthday by making bee masks, meeting a real beekeeper and checking out the hives we have in the Children’s Garden! The party is happening September 7-8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with admission. Cook DuPage will be present with their Observation Bee Hive.

Interested in starting your own hive and harvesting your own honey? Already have a hive and want to learn more about managing it? Join Greg Fischer of Wild Blossom Meadery and beekeeper for the Arboretum, for Beginning Beekeeping. Explore the history of beekeeping, bee anatomy, starting and managing a colony, equipment basics, honey bee pests and diseases, harvesting honey and more. All participants will receive their own hive tool to take home. This four week class will be held September 10-October 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $80 for members, $94 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education, in the Visitor Center or call 630-719-2468.

Theatre-Hikes®

Follow the action – literally – of some time-honored stage productions during the unique Theatre-Hikes® program at The Morton Arboretum. Performances are each Saturday and Sunday, through October. Shows in September begin at 1 p.m. Shows in October start at 3 p.m.

The first Sunday performance of each month will be a low-impact hike (suitable for strollers, walkers and wheelchairs). Each performance lasts approximately three hours, so please wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather and bring a chair or blanket, water bottle and insect repellent. All performances begin at the Thornhill Shelter (Parking Lot 21).

Tickets are on sale now and include Arboretum admission. For members, tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for children. For nonmembers, tickets cost $19 for adults and $13 for children. Season tickets are available and cost $40 for member adults, $25 for member children, $60 for nonmember adults and $45 for nonmember children. To purchase tickets, call 630-725-2066, visit mortonarb.org, or stop by The Morton Arboretum Visitor Center.

A Walk with Mark Twain

Weekends in September Meet Mark Twain as he shares two of his famous stories: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and The Diaries of Adam and Eve. In our first story, Jim Smiley, a man with all the luck in the world, finds his luck has run out when he gambles everything on a giant frog that he figures can’t lose. Then, Twain retells the creation story, with a reclusive Adam who finds himself unprepared for the arrival of Eve, a talkative, emotional female. Will they find a way to get along? Appropriate for all ages.

Fall Color Festival & 5K

Fall Color Festival kicks off with The Morton Arboretum’s 10th annual Fall Color 5K Run & Walk and Kid’s Dash on Sunday, October 6 at 8 a.m. The 5K follows a challenging USATF-certified course along the East Side Main Route through rolling terrain. ChronoTrack B-Tag timing system, a technical t-shirt, awards and recovery food and water are included. Cost is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, or $35 on race day including admission.

The Kid’s Dash begins at 9 a.m. for ages 2-10 and includes a cotton t-shirt and participation ribbon. Cost is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers and $15 on race day. Register at mortonarb.org or in the Visitor Center.

Scarecrow Trail will be back around Meadow Lake, with nature-based scarecrows created by local Girl and Boy Scout Troops. Open daily in October, 7 a.m. to sunset.

Plus, fulfill your fall food cravings at the Fall Color Festival. Enjoy juicy brats, build-your-own taffy apples and other mouth watering bites available for purchase in Arbor Court. Plus, sample complimentary wine tastings. The festival will be open weekends in October and Columbus Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Glass Pumpkin Patch and Workshops

This fall, The Morton Arboretum announces the return of the Glass Pumpkin Patch, a cornucopia of unique blown-glass artwork set against a backdrop of the Arboretum’s colorful trees. From Wednesday, October 16 through Sunday, October 20, the event will feature 3,000 glass pumpkins and other autumnal designs such as apples, gourds, acorns, and more. The Glass Pumpkin Patch will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and is free with Arboretum admission.

During glass blowing demonstrations, visitors can watch top glass-blowing artisans, called gaffers, from around the country turn molten glass turn into works of art. Meet the artists and see how they work the molten glass, adding colors and creating different patterns and shapes. The glassblowers use an outdoor furnace, assembled on site just for the Patch, which reaches temperatures higher than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After watching a demonstration, visitors can walk through the Glass Pumpkin Patch to see finished pieces in a wide variety of styles, sizes and colors. The Glass Pumpkin Patch will be open for viewing and glass blowing demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday as well as on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The pieces will be available for sale starting at 1 p.m. Friday, October 18. The pumpkins and autumnal designs range from $35 to $300 per item based on the artist’s experience level, techniques used, color, size and style of the pumpkin, and are only available for sale at the annual Patch.

The event is co-produced with Shannon Jane Morgan, of Girl Glass Studio in Sacramento, CA and features many local glass artists.

Morton Arboretum Children’s Garden {Fall 2009}

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a family four pack of tickets to The Morton Arboretum

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which event you think your family would love attending

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Morton Arboretum on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends September 19, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: Information provided by the Morton Arboretum. I was not compensated for posting this event info and giveaway.)

UniverSoul Circus Is Coming To Chicago {Giveaway}

usoul_logo (1)

UniverSoul Circus, one of the top three circus acts in the country, is returning to Chicago Wednesday, September 18 in Washington Park, as well as expanding to Union Park beginning Oct. 11. The unexpected, one-of-a-kind show features an incredible cast of performers hand-selected from around the world, from Africa and Ethiopia to Trindad and Ivory Coast. The cross-cultural spectacle incorporates pop and hip hop music for a truly modern take on the traditional circus act.Among the awe inspiring performances will include:

  • Caribbean dancers – Decked out head to toe in colorful, festive costume, dancers from the the islands of Trinidad and Tobago perform stimulating, show-stopping routines.
  • Irina Markova’s comedy dogs – The talented dogs take the show to new heights with jumps, leaps and tumbles through hoops.
  • Contortionists – Twisting and contorting in unimaginable ways, the unbelievable Ethiopian performers are known to stun audiences.
  • Teeterboard acrobatics – One or more acrobats jump from one end to launch a flyer from the other, propelling into the air for a must-see display.

Tickets, ranging from $16 to $35, are available now at www.ticketmaster.com and 1-800-745-3000. Children under 1 are free.

There will also be a free “Circus Camp” on September 17 at Washington Park from 3:30 pm until 7:30 pm. Kids will be able to come after school and learn a thing or two about how to be a circus performer, with everything from mini tightropes to small scale stilts.

 GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a 4 pack of tickets to UniverSoul Circus in Chicago

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite part of going to the circus is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends September 18, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to win. Giveaway does not include coverage of any other costs such as parking. This giveaway is for the tickets only.

It’s Football Season!

GO BEARS

Football season ranks at the top of my Fall favorites list {right up there with Pumpkin Spice Lattes} so you know we are all wearing our Bears jerseys today in honor of the first Bears game of the season.

 

Fall Family Events at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

Fall at the Chicago Botanic Garden is brimming with activities the whole family can enjoy. I can’t wait to take my family for a visit with the passes the Garden sent me. Here are some of the fun things your family can do there this Fall:

Discovery Backpacks – Available Year-Round

Families visiting the Garden can borrow Discovery Backpacks from the Information Desk in the Visitor Center. Backpacks include two magnifiers, two binoculars, and field guides. Discovery Backpacks offer a highly interactive experience for individual families. They are available year-round and will be loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information please visit, www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms/dropin or call (847) 835-5440.

Discovery Programs: Buehler Enabling, Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable, Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese and English Walled Gardens – Wednesdays through Sundays, continuing through October 6

Volunteers stationed at discovery carts and throughout the gardens offer information and hands-on experiences on a variety of topics through Discovery Programs. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. In the Fruit & Vegetable Garden, topics include: bees, tools, herbs and composting. Volunteers at the dry garden and Shoin House in the Malott Japanese Garden provide cross-cultural insights and an introduction to Eastern garden design. In the Enabling Garden, volunteers demonstrate the advantages of a universal design garden while performing maintenance tasks. The Tool Shed, a resource center staffed by volunteers who answer questions and demonstrate tools that make gardening easier for people of all abilities, is also open. Volunteers in the English Walled Garden share seasonal highlights with visitors and identify the variety of plants growing in the garden. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/volunteer or call (847) 835-8392 for information on volunteer opportunities in the Discovery Programs.

Family Drop-in Activities in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden – Saturdays and Sundays, September 7 to 29, 2013

Free harvest-themed family drop-in activities will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September weekends at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. Programming includes a fall fragrance challenge, pumpkin prints to take home, and chef and root vegetable activities.

Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America – through Sunday, October 27

The Model Railroad Garden features the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a refurbished White House this year. Eighteen model G-scale trains run on 17 tracks, winding over bridges and trestles, and around nearly 50 models of American landmarks. The 7,500-square-foot exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Special evening hours keep the event open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 5 to August 28. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; and $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates. Admission is free on Wednesdays for Garden Plus members. The Model Railroad Garden is generously sponsored by Bank of America. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/railroad for more information.

Nature Nights: Prairie Prowl – Saturdays, September 7 or 21

Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the Garden! Children ages 4-10 and their families will explore different areas of the Garden and enjoy a variety of discovery-based activities. Explore the Dixon Prairie to learn about how prairies grow, find the plants and animals that call it home, and pot up a prairie plant to take home. Each Nature Night also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Class is from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration costs $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights for more information.

Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays – Sunday, September 1 and 15

Drop by the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden for hands-on activities related to Japanese arts and culture. Practice using chopsticks, rake miniature dry gardens, make Japanese kites, and more. The free activities vary each time, and are subject to change.

Little Diggers – Select Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, starting September 12, 13, and 14

Learn about flowers, discover animals, experience the changing seasons, and more! These four-class series for children ages 2-4 and caregivers meet mornings, once a month. Each program includes group activities, time for free play, and a planting project. Programs run 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. from September through December. The fee is $75 per child for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Registration is required in advance. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/littlediggers or call (847) 835-6801 for more information.

Model Sailboat Sunday – Sunday, September 15

Bring your child (and childlike wonder) and watch model sailboats race across the North Lake! Demonstrations are organized by the Chicago R/C Model Yacht Club and held at the Waterside Terrace on the Esplanade. Admire spectacular views of the North Lake and Smith Fountain as you watch the race, and learn about building and operating model sailboats. Club members will be on site to answer questions about sailboats, races, and regattas. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting). Visit https://www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/model_sailboat_sunday for more information.

Sukkot Family Activities – Sunday, September 22

Families can celebrate the Jewish harvest holiday, Sukkot, and help decorate the sukkah with handmade decorations. The sukkah, a branch- covered booth, also features fall fruits and vegetables, including dried corn, squash, and gourds. Activities are sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, Chicago North Shore Section. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/sukkot_family_activities or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.

Fall Bulb Festival – Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6

Celebrate the season with the Fall Bulb Festival, an event that includes an outdoor market on the Esplanade and a bulb sale inside the Regenstein Center. Families can enjoy shopping among local vendors selling seasonal produce, roasted nuts, pottery, kettle corn and much more. Children can participate in Family Drop-in Activities (Saturday and Sunday only), navigate a straw-bale maze and dance to live music. Shop for bulbs that you can take home and plant as a family that will bring delight the following spring. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/bulb for more information.

Spooky Pooch Parade – Saturday, October 19

The Chicago Botanic Garden is going to the dogs! For two hours only, cleverly costumed canines are invited to the Garden to celebrate Halloween. Activities include several categories for judging, a parade through the Garden, and an awards ceremony. Nonprofit animal advocacy groups and local vendors will share information and sell dog-related products. Registration forms, complete with the dog-gone rules, will be available in the Visitor Center, or on the web at www.chicagobotanic.org/dog. Parade spectators are welcome—no ticket needed. Regular parking fees apply.

Trains, Tricks & Treats – Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20 (weather permitting)

Celebrate Halloween at the Model Railroad Garden, specially decorated with spider webs, spiders, ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins, as well as seasonal plant materials. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume. An array of treats to take home can be found throughout the Model Railroad Garden. Kids can take part in a planting activity. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. Members save $1 off each ticket. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/event/trains_tricks_treats for more information.

HallowFest – Saturday, October 26, and Sunday, October 27

Celebrate Halloween if you dare at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s HallowFest: A Garden of Good…and Evil. Take either the “friendly” or “spooky” path to activities in the Regenstein Center and McGinley Pavilion. Experience family-friendly thrills and chills, including two stages of entertainment and face painting. As night falls, walk through the Model Railroad Garden, decorated in ghastly lights and running special ghost trains. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/hallowfest or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.

(Disclosure: I received passes to the garden.)

Santa’s Village Autumn Harvest Fest {Giveaway}

santas village

(Disclosure: I received a family pack of tickets to Santa’s Village but all thoughts are my own.)

Santa’s Village is tons of fun in the summer months but did you know that the Chicago area amusement park has special activities just for the Fall season? Starting in September, the park will begin its annual Autumn Harvest Fest days. Open Weekends & Columbus Day, Sept. 28 through Oct. 27, Harvest Fest offers fun for families looking to perk up their weekends with a seasonal celebration. Harvest Fest provides guests with all the summer magic that Santa’s Village Azoosment Park has to offer, but with an exciting fall twist in the air.

In the spirit of the season, the park will be decorated with pumpkins and autumn colors. Enjoy new additions such as a straw maze, magic shows and your favorite fall treats like chili, caramel apples, specialty funnel cakes, pies and beverages. As the season comes to a close, celebrate Halloween at the park on October 26 and 27 with trick-or-treating and a costume contest from 2 p.m. -3 p.m. both days. Regular park admission fees apply.

We were planning to go today but because it’s raining we chose to push our visit to a later date. Here are some pictures from last year’s visit to the park:

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GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a family pack of tickets to Santa’s Village

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Follow Santa’s Village on Twitter

5) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends September 11, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: I received a family pass to the park in exchange for posting. All thoughts are my own.)

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie {Recipe}

chocolate pecan bourbon pie pin

Pie image courtesy of Delightful Pastries

Did you know that August has two pecan “holidays”? Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and today is National Pecan Torte Day. I had to share this delicious pie recipe from Delightful Pastries,  a family-owned and operated Chicago bakery.

Delightful Pastries’ Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

By: Executive Pastry Chef & Owner, Dobra Bielinski

 Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces pecan halves
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 9-inch pie shell

 Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar till smooth. Add the corn syrup and molasses, then the flour and mix well.
  • Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down after each egg; add the vanilla extract and salt. Fold the pecans and chocolate by hand, add the bourbon.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, till the top is dry and the filling is barely jiggling. Let cool. 8 servings.

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If you live in the Chicago area, Delightful Pastries is celebrating the “holiday” at all three of its locations (Chicago French Market, N. Wells St., and Jefferson Park) by offering their delicious Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie ($5.25/mini pie; $25/8-inch pie) by executive pastry chef and owner Dobra Bielinski. Delightful Pastry also has the Chocolate Pecan Pie available without Bourbon.

“The Dump” Luxury Discount Home Furnishing Store Opening In Chicago Area {Giveaway}

the dump

The Dump, America’s fastest-growing furniture outlet which features famous name furniture at dramatic discounts, is coming to the Chicago area! It will officially open its new location in Lombard on August 30th. 

The Dump, which is located at S. Highland Ave and Butterfield Road, in the former Great Indoors space, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week. Totaling a massive 134,000 square feet, The Dump is the largest high-end furniture outlet in the Chicago marketplace. 

“The secret of our success is based on our unique retail business model, which is focused on delivering the best savings for our customers,” E.J. Strelitz continued.  “For example, at The Dump, we are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which allows us to keep the cost of doing business down as well as refresh and replenish the entire inventory before the weekend rush. This demonstrates our intuitive understanding of our customer, who prefers to buy furnishings with other family members or friends, making the weekend an ideal time to shop.  Plus, shoppers can expect to find something new every weekend at The Dump, which attracts a high level of increased traffic among our loyal customer base.”

 “At The Dump, we have always been completely transparent with our buying model,” says Randi Strelitz, Executive Vice President, Haynes Furniture/TheDump.  “Our customers know we don’t pay full price, which means they don’t pay full price.  We accomplish this by purchasing overstocks, one-of-a-kinds, factory sell-outs, showroom models, and design prototypes – all brand-new, top-quality merchandise at highly discounted prices.  This creates the ultimate shopping experience for our customers every weekend of the year.”

“The Lombard store will feature the latest furnishings at 30 to 80 percent discounted prices for all areas of your home, including modern living and dining room furniture, chic rugs, and much more,” added Randi Strelitz.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $134 gift card to The Dump

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me what piece of furniture you’d like to get for your home

2) Follow The Dump on Twitter

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Share this giveaway on a social network

5) Leave a comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends August 30, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to win.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this. I was invited to the Chicago grand opening and can’t attend but I wanted to post because I thought you all would enjoy this.)

Chicago “Walk For Water” Charity Event

Image courtesy of Living Water International

Image courtesy of Living Water International

Living Water International Chicago is hosting a “Walk for Water” on Aug. 24 in suburban Glen Ellyn. Participants will walk 1.5 miles as a group to Lake Ellyn, where they will collect water in gallon jugs – comparable to the jerry cans used in developing countries. They will then walk back carrying the water, putting themselves in the shoes of the millions of children and adults who spending hours walking each day to reach a water source.

Registration is $20 at ChicagoWalkForWater.eventbrite.com; all proceeds will go toward wells to be drilled in India. Children under 15 may participate for free.

More than 783 million people face the daily challenge of finding water. Many spend 20 hours per week – often trekking seven miles per day – collecting contaminated water, which can lead to life-threatening diseases. Clean water means better sanitation and hygiene, disease and infant death prevention, freed time for paid work and school, full hydration with improved focus and energy and more cooking water for meals.

WHEN: 

Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:

Ben Franklin Elementary School
350 Bryant Avenue, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

About Living Water International

Living Water International began drilling water wells in 1990. Working in 25 countries around the world and motivated by Christian faith, Living Water strives to implement the most effective and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene solutions. For more information, visit www.water.cc.

Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years Of Magic In Chicago {Giveaway}

disney on ice

(Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to the show in exchange for posting about it. All thoughts are my own.)

Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, and many Disney Princesses.  Experience a skating spectacular you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!

The show will be coming to the Chicago area September 11-15, 2013 at the United Center.

Schedule:

**Spanish Performance on Sunday, Sept. 15th at 7pm

Opening night tickets are only $12! Other shows range from $13-$70 a ticket. Save 40% on all weekday shows and Save 20% on all weekend shows with the discount code “MOM”. Purchase your tickets here.

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a 4 pack of tickets to the Chicago show.

Performance choices are Sept. 11th or Sept. 12th.

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me who you would take to the show

2) Follow Disney on Ice on Twitter

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Share this giveaway on a social network

5) Leave a comment on another post

Giveaway ends August 16, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter this giveaway.

 

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer At Chicago Farmer’s Market Tomorrow

Freshness Chart

I am excited to announce that I am partnering with the FoodSaver brand to share about their NEW Vacuum Sealer. I will be at the Green City Farmers Market in Chicago with Alli of Couponing for 4 tomorrow, Saturday August 10th, helping people keep their fruits and vegetables fresher longer! Using the FoodSaver system, people can save money by purchasing food in bulk and preserve it for future use.

With a FoodSaver system, families can enjoy fresh, nutritious food throughout the year at a reasonable price. Check out the chart below to see how much longer your food can last!

This past week, I used the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer myself to keep some broccoli fresh.

I found the system so easy to use. You literally stick the food in the FoodSaver bag, put the edge of the bag in the system, and it gets all the air out of the bag. You then press a button and it is sealed. I really liked that there is a button to manually vacuum out the air so you don’t squish items like breads and soft berries. The system also has multiple pre-made sized bags and a roll of “make your own” size bags.

I look forward to using the FoodSaver system more tomorrow and will share more in depth about it and my experience at the Farmer’s Market in my next post. If you are local, I’d love to meet you there tomorrow.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time but all thoughts are my own.)

Calling All Chicago Cubs Fans! {Giveaway}

KidsClubGraphic

Calling all Chicago Cubs fans!! I am so excited to be working with the Chicago Cubs to offer a giveaway of their Kid’s Club membership. I loved being on the field and I know the little one in your life will love the chance to tour Wrigley Field and run the bases themselves.

The Cubs Kid’s Club, presented by ComEd, is a great way to get kids involved in the game and Wrigley Field by providing club membership benefits. These benefits include:

  • Official Cubs Kids Club membership card
  • Cubs Kids Club lanyard
  • Cubs thermal lunch tote
  • Cubs mesh drawstring bag
  • Cubs baseball cap
  • Coupon for one free Wrigley Field Tour ticket (A $25 value!)
  • Front-of-the-line privileges for Kids-Run-the-Bases (All Sunday home games)

A Kid’s Club membership is valued at $20 with a $2 convenience fee and a $6 shipping per membership. More information can be found here.

GIVEAWAY:

One winner will win a Kid’s Club Membership

HOW TO ENTER:

We want to hear or see why your little one should win!

You can leave a comment below telling us, tweet us, or share a picture of them in their Cubs gear on instagram or pinterest!

Make sure to include the hashtag #CubsKidsClub and tag the applicable profiles so we see it:

Pinterest: cubsbaseball and aliciamarie112

Instagram: cubs and Alicia

Twitter: @Cubs and @aliciamarie112

 For an extra entry, share the giveaway on a social network!

Giveaway ends August 10, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident ages 18 and older to enter. Winner will be chosen at random. Winner is responsible for all additional costs including travel to the game and parking.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this giveaway.)

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US Free Advance Screening Passes {Chicago}

‘One Direction: This Is Us’ Screening {Chicago}

(Please note: The flyer contains a code that will allow anyone who is interested to log on to www.gofobo.com/rsvp and enter the code listed on the flyer for the chance to redeem a free admit-two pass to the screening this Saturday at 10:30AM at AMC River East (322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, 60611). You have to scroll down on the document above to see the code. The passes are first-come, first-served and a pass does not guarantee a seat. Those with passes should arrive early.)

Synopsis: ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US is a captivating and intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon. Weaved with stunning live concert footage, this inspiring feature film tells the remarkable story of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis’ meteoric rise to fame, from their humble hometown beginnings and competing on the X-Factor, to conquering the world and performing at London’s famed O2 Arena. Hear it from the boys themselves and see through their own eyes what it’s really like to be One Direction.

Directed by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and produced by Simon Cowell, Adam Milano, Spurlock and Ben Winston.

Quaker Fuels Healthy, Busy Families

quaker perfect portions

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of Quaker but all thoughts are my own.)

When I was growing up my dad offered me a lot of advice. One of the most common things he’d repeatedly tell me was how important it is to eat a good breakfast. He told me how he’d read that people who ate breakfast tended to weigh less and have more energy throughout the day.

As a parent I keep my father’s advice in mind as I raise my children and we go about our daily routine. We are always on the go so we need to start our day with something that will keep our bellies full all morning and give us the energy that we need to go from soccer practice to swim lessons to the playground. These past few days it’s been chilly in Chicago {seriously- I thought about turning on the heat last night….} so I wanted to make a nice, warm breakfast for the kids. For me, the Quaker name is synonymous with breakfast and I discovered a whole new line of products I didn’t even know about.

Quaker sent me some products to try and as soon as I opened the package I was overcome with the smell of maple. One of the best breakfast smells ever! The new ‘perfect portion’ oatmeal packages let people make as little or as much oatmeal as they want and, since they are unsweetened, let the consumer choose how they want to sweeten their oatmeal. I normally add brown sugar to mine.

Another item Quaker sent me to try was their soft baked bars. These are perfect for busy families. Ten seconds in the microwave and you have a hot breakfast ready to take in the car or on the bus. The cinnamon nut bread with pecans, raisins and sweet swirls of cinnamon makes a delicious treat.

Quaker not only fuels healthy, busy families but they inspire them through programs that encourage physical activity. Quaker serves as the title sponsor of the Chicago Fire Juniors, the club’s youth player development program that supports more than 10,000 soccer kids and families in Chicago and nationally. As a “soccer mom”, I love that Quaker sponsors this program because I think soccer is both fun and a great way to learn about teamwork and other important life skills.

One special event coming up is The Quaker Invitational which is hosted by Quaker and the Chicago Fire August 9th through August 11th. Hundreds of Chicago Fire Juniors teams from around the country will come together for a weekend of soccer, community and fun. The two winning youth teams will earn a chance to play on The Chicago Fire’s home field, Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL on Sunday, August 11, and each player in the tournament will receive a free game ticket to attend the Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact MLS game.

In addition to the Chicago Fire, Quaker has joined forces with national and local organizations to reach families through nourishment, education and physical activity including the National Football League, Fuel Up to Play 60, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Movement and Common Threads.

Now that you have heard about how Quaker fuels healthy families, including mine, which of their delicious breakfast options are you interested in trying first?

 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center {Schaumburg, IL}

legoland

(Disclosure: I am receiving a family pass in exchange for promoting LEGOLAND. Will share my review after my visit.)

Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and it’s like you’ve just jumped into the world’s biggest box of LEGO bricks! With over 3 million LEGO bricks, rides and a 4D movie theatre all under one roof, what will you discover?

I am excited to take my family to LEGOLAND since the boys are just starting to get into building with LEGO bricks. I can’t wait to see their faces when they see everything they will get to play with!

My readers can get a FREE Child Admission with Full Paid $20 Adult Admission!

Exclusive Coupons For Family Fun In Illinois {Summer 2013}

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! I wanted to share some great coupons with you all to help you save money this summer and have fun with your families on a budget :)