Beyond The Backpack Event In Chicago This Weekend {Gift Card Giveaway}

Nick Jr. Beyond the Backpack event

Thanks to Kmart for sponsoring this post.

Hey Chicago parents! Looking for a fun back to school event to get your kids excited for the first day of school? If so, you’ll want to head to the Nick Jr. Beyond the Backpack event at the Addison Kmart location this Saturday!

This free, kid-friendly back-to-school event will be filled with awesome activities, games, crafts and even a dance party for everyone to enjoy. Plus, big news for the littlest shoppers, there will be surprise appearances from Shimmer and Shine as well as Dora the Explorer. There will also be kindergarten readiness resources from Nick Jr. Beyond the Backpack, a nationwide initiative to promote overall kindergarten readiness for preschoolers.

  • Event Date: Saturday, August 19 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Event Location: Kmart Addison – 3443 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL 60618

While you are at the event, make sure to check out Kmart’s great selection of back to school necessities and get everything else you need to make the first day of school a success. From a cute outfit for picture day to stylish shoes to a cool backpack, they have everything your family needs for the school year.

To make shopping for back to school gear a little easier, Making Time For Mommy is partnering with Kmart to offer a $50 Kmart gift card to one lucky winner. Just enter via the form below and the winner will be chosen Saturday and receive their gift card via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chicago Bulls Basketball Game Ticket Giveaway

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Thanks to the Chicago Bulls for sponsoring this post and giveaway.

Calling all basketball fans! You’ll want to check out this kid-friendly event.

Chicagoland families are invited to “Kids Day” at the Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks game (April 1st at 4 pm) at the United Center. There will be a pre-game Kids Zone in the United Center atrium featuring a face painter and games. During the game there will be kid entertainment and other fun surprises.

Want to attend? Purchase tickets here or enter to win 2 tickets, courtesy of the Chicago Bulls, following the directions below!

GIVEAWAY PRIZE

2 tickets to the Chicago Bulls game on April 1st

HOW TO ENTER

Leave a comment on this blog post telling me why you want to win

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY

Share this giveaway on social media and leave the link in a separate comment below

Giveaway ends March 29, 2017 at 11:59pm CST.

Rules: Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter. Giveaway consists of two (2) tickets valid for the Chicago Bulls game on April 1, 2017. Winner is responsible for all other costs associated with attending the game, including travel and parking. Winner will be chosen at random, notified via email, and will have 24 hours to respond to claim tickets. The Chicago Bulls are responsible for ticket fulfillment.

A Magical Evening To Start The Holiday Season

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank but all thoughts are my own. I got to attend the event to see what it’s like to be at Lights Fest as a BMO customer.

I shared a couple weeks ago about one of our favorite winter Chicago events, the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Lights Festival. My family had a chance to attend this year’s parade, as guests of BMO Harris Bank, and had some of the best seats in the house!

We sat in the Grandstand which was right behind the performances. My favorite performances were Drew Lachey and Blue Man Group. The boys enjoyed the groups that came out and performed songs.

They also loved all of the balloons that were in the parade. We had never been that close to them all but they are huge! I never realized how many people it took to hold on to them. Most of the people walking along the parade route were handing out goodies which the boys enjoyed receiving. Thankfully BMO Harris Bank gave use some things as well like hand warmers and blankets because it was cold out there!

The parade featured floats with performers, some of our favorite Chicago sports mascots, Luke’s favorite Toy Story characters and Mickey & Minnie Mouse.

Of course, Santa was there, too!

It was such a magical way to start the Christmas season! Thanks again to BMO Harris Bank for inviting my family to this fun event.

Chicago’s BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Lights Festival Returns

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank but all thoughts are my own.

One of the most magical times here in Chicago is the Christmas season. The kickoff to the holidays starts with a fun event called the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Lights Festival which includes a parade downtown Chicago along the Magnificent Mile, a tree lighting of a giant Christmas tree and a fireworks display along with other family-friendly activities. It’s an event we’ve had the pleasure of attending a few times and always enjoy. It’s nice to spend the day shopping downtown and then getting hot cocoa before we find a spot along the parade route.

Over a million lights are lit during the festival and the parade, led by Disney’s Mickey & Minnie, features spectacular floats, helium-filled balloons, marching bands, top musical performers and well-known Chicago mascots. Santa and his reindeer can be found in the parade, too!

This year’s event is on Saturday, November 19th. For the fifth consecutive year, BMO Harris Bank is the title sponsor of the festival and they are working with a few local businesses in Chicago to make the parade day even more special for their customers. BMO Harris Bank customers will enjoy discounts, perks and offers including:

  • 15% off at Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Discounted holiday beverages at Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Discounted parking with Spot Hero
  • 20% off a single item at the BlackHawks store on Michigan Ave

Some customers will also get to enjoy one of the best views of the parade from a special seating area! BMO will select 100 customers on parade day to enjoy the parade from grandstand viewing in the broadcast zone. Find out more details here.

Have you ever attended this festival in Chicago? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below :)

 

 

 

How Toys”R”Us Helps Children Celebrate Their Birthdays

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Both of my boys have June birthdays so I’m very excited to be working with Toys”R”Us to share about the changes coming to their Birthday Club this month, just in time for summer celebrations.

The boys had their birthday party at the beginning of the month and the first thing they wanted to do with their money and gift cards that they received was to head to their favorite store, Toys”R”Us. I remember when I was young and how hard it was to hold on to the gift cards when there were SO. MANY. TOYS. so the very next day (which happened to be Jacob’s actual birthday) we headed to the store.

As members of the Toys”R”Us Birthday Club they had also received coupons for $3 off a purchase which they proudly brought into the store along with their wallets. They each received a birthday crown, balloon and small gift from the store (Pokemon cards which they loved!)

We’ve enjoyed being members of the Birthday Club and we are so excited that the club is getting even better! Toys”R”Us recently updated Geoffrey’s Birthday Club – which lets parents register their children’s birthdays and receive special birthday-month offers – in a big way. Geoffrey’s Birthday Club members will continue to receive a personalized birthday card, a phone call from Geoffrey and a special gift but Toys”R”Us will now be hosting special events every month, just for those celebrating birthdays!

Geoffrey’s Birthday Club members who are celebrating a birthday on/around the day of the event will have the opportunity to participate in story time with Geoffrey and receive a complimentary “The Legend of Geoffrey” book, crown, balloon and Geoffrey plush, PLUS dance to Geoffrey’s brand-new birthday song in a conga line around the store. The next birthday events are this Saturday 6/18 for June birthdays and 7/16 for July birthdays.

The new book children will receive is titled, “The Legend of Geoffrey.” The book tells the story of how Geoffrey arrived at Toys“R”Us, how he got his stars and why he loves birthdays so much. We received a copy of the book and it’s so cute (as is the Geoffrey plush)!

If your child is not a member of the Toys”R”Us Birthday Club yet you can register them here. It’s free and it really does make kid’s birthdays extra special! You can also find lots of great gift ideas for your birthday child as well.

Party For The Planet At Brookfield Zoo

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Every day is Earth Day at Brookfield Zoo, but on April 24th they will be showcasing some of the steps you can commit to that will truly make a difference for animals across the globe at their Party for the Planet! Visit the Eco Expo featuring over 40 Earth friendly vendors, drop off recycling, enjoy live entertainment, plant a tree, and enjoy green activities and crafts. Party for the Planet will be filled with educational, engaging, and fun activities for the entire family and I’m excited to be attending with my family courtesy of Brookfield Zoo.

During the event, Nature Cat will be in the Discovery Center to greet all of his fans and Chicago’s own WTTW will be engaging kids in an eco-friendly activity. NATURE CAT is the hit new PBS KIDS series that was recently nominated for a Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program.  NATURE CAT follows Fred, a house cat who dreams of exploring the great outdoors. In each episode, once his family leaves for the day, Fred transforms into Nature Cat, “backyard explorer extraordinaire.” Nature Cat can’t wait to get outside for a day of backyard nature excursions and bravery, but there’s one problem: He’s still a house cat with no instincts for nature. With the help of his animal friends, Nature Cat embarks on action-packed adventures that include exciting missions full of nature investigation, “aha” discovery moments and humor, all while inspiring children to go outside and “play the show.”

List of special events during Party For The Planet:

9:30am – 3:30pm – FREE PARKING in the North Parking Lot if you donate recyclables (see website for items they accept)
10am – 4pm – Eco Expo – Pavilions
10am – 3pm – Meet Nature Cat from WTTW’s new public television series.
11am – Tree Planting – Butterflies!
11:30am, 3pm – Giraffe Zoo Chat
12:00pm, 1:30pm – Green Thirteen Performance – Bison Pavilion
1:15pm – Bilingual Zoo Chat – Bison Pavilion

*Update 4/25: It was such a fun event! The boys liked meeting Nature Cat and our family enjoyed the beautiful day at the zoo!

***

Come Hear Me Speak At The Baby & Beyond Event

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I am excited to share that I’ll be speaking about parenting at the upcoming Baby & Beyond: Discover The Journey event hosted by Riverside Healthcare. If you are in the Chicago area I invite you to come on down to the event. I’d love a chance to meet my readers!

Baby & Beyond 2016Riverside Healthcare’s Baby & Beyond is just over 20 days away and we want you to be a part of it! This year’s event is on Saturday, April 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

We are excited to bring in a Top 50 U.S. Mom Blogger, Alicia Peiffer from Making Time For Mommy to be our keynote speaker, plus a variety of community vendors and three different educational tracks. Pre-register for #BabyAndBeyond at riversidehealthcare.org/babyandbeyond. See you there!

Posted by Riverside Baby Faces on Thursday, April 7, 2016

The event is Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 8:30am-12pm on the beautiful campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. This free event features a keynote speaker, community vendors and three educational tracks including Women’s Health, Expectant Mothers and Pediatrics. You can register for the event here.

BabyGap Mr Men Little Miss Events This Weekend

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I am so excited to share that I am working with Milk & Bookies and Gap to help celebrate the launch of BabyGap’s Mr. Men Little Miss clothing line collection! I will be at the Chicago event at Water Tower Place this Saturday morning as the guest reader at their special event.

BabyGap is collaborating with Mr. Men Little Miss this Spring to create a limited edition collection featuring beloved characters from the iconic children’s books created by British author Roger Hargreaves. The collection includes onesies, bibs, blankets, socks and hats all designed with Mr. Men Little Miss’ signature bright colors and bold lines.

In conjunction with the collaboration, 20 Gap stores across the country will host a celebration of reading on Saturday, February 6th in partnership with Milk + Bookies, a charitable organization that celebrates reading and provides books to under-resourced families. Guests will enjoy a Mr. Men Little Miss book reading by a local parenting blogger, refreshments and activities for children and the opportunity to take part in a book drive benefitting a local Boys & Girls Club.

See the invite below for the Chicago Water Tower event, RSVP here and please make sure to introduce yourself if you attend the reading! I’d love to meet you :)

Not in Chicago? Here are the rest of the events:

• 17th & 5th 122 5th Ave. (New York)
• 59th & Lexington 734 Lexington Ave. (New York)
• Chestnut St. 2159 Chestnut St. (San Francisco)
• Chinook Centre 6455 McCloud Trail SW (Calgary)
• Copley Place 100 Huntington Ave. (Boston)
• Garden State Plaza 290 Garden State Plaza (Paramus)
• The Grove 189 The Grove Dr. (Los Angeles)
• Hoboken & Washington St. 222 Washington St. (Hoboken)
• Houston Galleria 5085 Westheimer Rd. (Houston)
• Court King Prussia 160 N. Gulph Rd. (King of Prussia)
• Lenox Square 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE (Atlanta)
• Lincoln Rd.1001 Lincoln Rd. (Miami Beach)
• Michigan Ave 555 N Michigan Ave. – Chicago
• The Mall at Millenia 4200 Conroy Rd. (Orlando)
• NorthPark Center 728 N. Park Center (Dallas)
• South Coast Plaza 3333 Bristol St. (Costa Mesa)
• Stanford Shopping Center 228 Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto)
• Eaton Centre 260 Yonge St. (Toronto)
• Tysons Corner Center 7906 Tysons Corner Center (McLean)
• Water Tower Place 835 N. Michigan Ave. (Chicago)

Safer Car Rides

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Our family loves road trips, whether it’s to visit family or to discover a new town. In the summer we love to drive with the windows down to enjoy the warm breeze on our way to the beach. In the Fall we enjoy driving through the nearby forest preserves to look at the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. The biggest thing that makes road trips more enjoyable is that in the back of my mind I know my kids are safe in their car seats for the whole ride. Fortunately car travel has revolutionized itself since the time I was a toddler.

New parents might have lots of questions about which car seats are the best and as the children grow bigger more questions arise. In my case I always want to know if my boys are in appropriate seats for their individual sizes.  Luckily for all parents we have a great store we can shop at, with people that can help answer our questions, called Babies“R”Us.

Babies“R”Us and Evenflo, both advocates in child product safety, have come together to announce the newest innovation in car seat safety – the SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat, now available at Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Babiesrus.com. I want to check it out because I think it would be a great fit for both my boys. Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately twice the federal crash test standard, the SafeMax™ All-in-One is the first car seat that has been dynamically rollover tested. I love that The SafeMax™ All-in-One Car Seat is appropriate for infants and children from 5 to 120 lbs or up to 57 inches in height, in three positions – rear facing, forward facing and booster seating. Beyond just safety, this car seat offers SafeZone™ Headrest: A combination of premium materials designed to absorb and dissipate crash forces, providing advanced protection where your child needs it most.

Evenflo believes car seat installation is so important that they give Evenflo car seat owners access to live video chat help when installing their car seat. I think that’s an awesome service! You can also find a free car seat inspection station near you here.

Want to get one of these new car seats? It’s the perfect time because the popular “Great Trade-In” event is back at Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide! Through this national safety event, Toys“R”Us, Inc. provides people with its latest call to action to rid their homes of potentially unsafe, old and secondhand baby gear and furniture in exchange for savings on a new item that meets the latest safety standards. Since August 2009, the company’s Great Trade-In event has resulted in the removal of more than 1.1 million pieces of used and potentially unsafe cribs, car seats and more from homes, garages and attics nationwide.

During the event the following deals can be found:

  • 25% savings with trade-in of a used gear or furniture item
  • 30% discount when using an “R”Us Credit Card
  • No trade-in? No problem! 15% off with an in-store and online coupon available online

Make sure to visit any Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide Monday, February 1st through Monday, February 29th to participate in this promotion. To learn more, please visit Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn.

Baby’s First Easter (Babies”R”Us Events Nationwide)

baby's first easter

This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

The biggest joy a parent gets is seeing their child’s firsts. No matter if it is their favorite holiday or baby’s first steps. those are the most precious memories. With spring underway all thoughts turn to Easter and a Baby’s first Easter is a most wonderful time that will turn into a great tradition for years to come.

Easter is a special time for me on a personal level and as a parent. Since we had kids it has become even more so. Lots of great memories and smiles and lots more candy and toys and Easter egg hunts and happiness.

 

My kids favorite part about Easter by far are the Easter baskets because to them it’s treasure. Every year they are filled with something different. As they grow older they try to guess what the Easter bunny will bring them. Most recently we made ‘baskets’ with super hero stuff, Legos and cars. We also included some fun outdoor things like shovels for their sandbox and water guns. All of the things were in big planters so that the fun could continue after Easter when the kids helped plant flowers in them.

When they were younger their baskets were simpler. I remember when we made Jacob’s first Easter basket. We included things like board books, bubbles, crayons and small toys. The little guy was thrilled.

To make things easier for parents, Babies“R”Us is helping celebrate Baby’s First Easter in a big way at stores across the country.  Babies“R”Us stores are stocked with everything parents and gift-givers need to make this Easter special, such as Easter-themed apparel, My First Easter products, gift basket ideas and more.

This Saturday, March 28th from 10-11am, parents can bring their little bunnies – dressed in their Easter best – to Babies“R”Us stores nationwide for festive, interactive activities for the family. Attendees can experience a Bunny Hop around the store, photo opportunities and craft and story time, as well as receive Pampers giveaways (while supplies last), participate in raffles and meet other local families and babies.

What is your favorite memory with your little ones at Easter time?

Art Exhibit Encourages Parents To Talk About Tough Topics

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As a mom of young kids, the hardest topics I have to talk to my children about these days are sharing, being kind to others and taking turns. In a few years though, I know I will have to tackle tougher topics like drinking, drugs, and physical intimacy. I’m actually very nervous about those talks so I’m happy to be partnering with Rosecrance, a private not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and families, and learning more on how to approach these conversations.

I participated in a Twitter party earlier this week and loved hearing from parents that have teens now, women that I admire in business who are also amazing moms. I also got some tips on talking about difficult subjects from Dr. Wright, the Chief Medical Officer at Rosecrance. Though my oldest is only six, I’m already in the process of figuring out how I am going to approach hard topics.

If you are a parent of tweens or teens and live in the Chicago area I’d highly recommend checking out the “In My Shoes” art exhibit at the Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale, IL during National Drug Facts Week. The exhibit was created to help parents understand teenagers’ points of view about the pressures they face and how they are confronted with the potential to use and abuse substances.

Developed by teen patients at Rosecrance’s adolescent campus in Rockford, “In My Shoes” displays shoes that have been painted and decorated by teens to tell their stories about substance use. From shoe selection to showcase, the process of creating shoe art is a meaningful experience because each shoe is unique and tells a teen’s story about addiction, recovery, and most important, their hopes and dreams for the future.

Here are all the details:

  • WHERE: Robert Crown Center, 21 Salt Creek Ln, Hinsdale, IL 60521 (SEE MAP)
  • WHEN:  Monday, Jan. 26 – Friday, Feb. 6, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Open house: Jan. 31, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • WHAT: During the open house there will be activities, presentations and screenings to raise awareness about substance use and prevention.
  • WHO:   Jennifer Thammavong, art therapist, will be onsite during the community open house on Saturday, Jan. 31
If you don’t live in Chicago, see if the exhibit is coming to a town near you here. They also have other resources on their site like this ebook about teens and weed.
Join in the conversation online using the hashtag #InMyShoes.

 

Celebrate Baby’s First Christmas With Babies”R”Us

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(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Babies”R”Us.)

Exciting news! Once again, Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will host several Baby’s First Christmas events this November. On select Saturdays, new parents are encouraged to visit their local Babies“R”Us to celebrate their baby’s first Christmas, where they can meet and greet with other moms and dads whose little ones are the same age as well as take part of memorable activities, including storytime, adorable photo opps and a make-and-take craft. During the one-hour events, Parents can also enter in a raffle to win exciting prizes and receive exclusive holiday deals. The celebrations are geared toward babies of all stages in their first year, and below is a birthday outline to help parents plan:

  • November 8th (10-11am): Dec 2013/Jan/Feb/Mar 2014 Babies
  • November 15th (10-11am ): Apr/May/Jun/Jul 2014 Babies
  • November 22nd (10-11am): Aug/Sep/Oct/Nov 2014 Babies

Looking for more fun? Join the #BRUChristmas Twitter Party

On Tuesday, November 11th at 9pm EST, Babies”R”Us will be hosting a Twitter chat, sharing helpful tips about buying presents for Baby’s First Christmas and celebrating this important milestone. Join the chat by following @BabiesRUs and tweeting using the hashtag #FirstHoliday.

Celebrate Play in the Windy City this Saturday with Let’s Play!

#LetsPlayChicago

As many of you know, I’ve been working to help share the importance of play in the lives of children as a Play Ambassador for Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple to get kids and families active by providing them with the tools, places and inspiration to make physical activity a daily priority

Play is important to children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. It is more important than ever for kids and families to get outside and play, especially in Chicago, where playgrounds are often lacking at public elementary and middle schools, according to research shared by the Chicago Tribune.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce that Let’s Play is helping bring play to Chicago this Saturday, August 9 and we want you and your family to join the fun! In the morning, Let’s Play will be working with its partners KaBOOM! and Good Sports and a team of volunteers to build a playground from the ground up at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy and donate nearly 2,000 pieces of new sports equipment valued at $68,000 to eight youth organizations in Chicago.

In the afternoon, you can come on down to #LetsPlayChicago, a FREE community event for families and kids of all ages, featuring fun play activities like bouncy houses, obstacle courses, face painting and snacks. The #LetsPlayChicago community event is from 12:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy (6024 W Warwick Ave., Chicago, IL 60634). It will be a fun time for all and a great way to get active with your family!

For more information and to register to join the fun, visit LetsPlay.com.

Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.

 

Babies “R” Us Happy Places Design Events {Nationwide}

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When I found out the gender of my first child I did two things: buy a bunch of blue baby clothes and start planning the nursery. To help with the fun, but often overwhelming, task of designing the nursery, Babies“R”Us is launching a nationwide campaign to help expectant parents and I’m happy to be partnering with them to promote it in this sponsored post.

This Sunday, June 29th, from 12-1pm, Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will host an in-store event, where parents can meet with local designers about how to create a happy place for their baby or toddler, browse 6 room vignettes specially designed by a Disney Baby Designer, peruse a palette of paint colors provided by Home Depot, and review a printed look book of select “dream rooms” to help foster inspiration and design ideas. Plus, attendees will enjoy giveaways and prizes throughout the event. You can learn more, here.

If you are on Twitter, make sure to join the #BRUHappyPlaces Twitter party this Wednesday!

On Wednesday, June 25 at 9pm EST, we will be hosting a @Babiesrus Twitter Party and would love for you (and your readers) to participate! Babies“R”Us will be leading the chat, sharing helpful tips and tricks regarding nursery and toddler room design. To join the conversation, use #BRUHappyPlaces.

 

Pictures With Santa For Children Who Have Special Needs

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Caring Santa is an opportunity for children with special needs and their families to enjoy a photo session with Santa. Extra care has been taken to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children so they can enjoy this wonderful holiday tradition.  To learn more and find a location near you check out the website 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.

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.)

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.

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.)

How to Throw a Home Canning Party‏

home canning party

Summer’s last juicy pickings are still available and fall’s hearty harvest is on the horizon. Stumped about what to do with all this abundant produce?

Thanks to Country Woman magazine, you can now celebrate this bounty and enjoy it year-round by throwing your own Home Canning Party! Preserving is all the rage today and it’s something that you can do in the comfort of your own home. So go beyond that same-old cocktail soiree, grab some good friends and follow this simple advice:

  • Pick out your produce and canning recipes. When you combine prep work and processing time, a canning recipe can take an hour or more to complete. Limit your party to three canning recipes. Plan to make a full batch, but don’t double it. Altering a recipe’s quantities and times may affect the quality and safety of the final product.
  • Gather your tools. Have these basics on hand (or assign guests to bring them): jars, lids and rings; heavy-bottomed cooking pots; a roomy stockpot to use as a water-bath canner; sharp knives and a grater; stirring spoons and ladles; measuring cups and spoons; jar grabbers; a funnel; clean towels; and hot pads.
  • Send invitations. Mail invitations to guests about three weeks ahead. Include how much and what type of produce, other ingredients or canning supplies to bring. Also tuck in the recipes you’ll use as a preview.
  • Plan some snacks. Give home canning party guests something to nibble and sip. Incorporate fruits you’ll be using into beverages, and pick up breads, meats and cheeses to serve.
  • Set up stations. Clear off counters and tabletops to make ample room for work stations to sanitize equipment, prep produce, fill jars and seal, boil and cool your finished batch. Assign guests to each station and have only one canning recipe going at a time.
  • Jam out! Karaoke with your canning? Sure! Stir some of these tunes into a party playlist: Cherry, Cherry (Neil Diamond), Blueberry Hill (Chubby Checker), I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) and Strawberry Fields Forever (The Beatles).
  • Label your labors. “Mystery jars” collect dust in the pantry, so clearly label your goods with contents and canning date. With printed labels, pens, decorative ribbons and fabric on hand, guests can create personalized wrappings for cooled jars.

For more on how to plan your next home canning get-together, visit Country Woman Magazine.

(Disclosure: Post and text-free image courtesy of Country Woman magazine. I was not compensating for posting this but I am sharing because I loved the idea.)

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.)

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.

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 :)

 

Venus de Miles All-Women’s Ride {Chicago Area Giveaway}

venus de miles

Venus de Miles is a lot of things – Northern Illinois’ first all-women’s road ride, a celebration of sisterhood, support for Greenhouse Scholars, and crazy fun – but one thing it’s not is a race. So, don’t be afraid to walk your bike up that hill, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself. The ride is on Sunday, July 28th 2013.

When you ride Venus de Miles, you’re making a commitment to support Greenhouse Scholars – an organization dedicated to helping high-performing, under-resourced students reach their full potential. Greenhouse Scholars uses a unique and holistic Whole Person© approach that ensures Scholars have the scholarships to attend college and other resources to help them become community leaders.

Register for the ride here.

Giveaway:

One lucky person will win a FREE registration to the ride (a $99 value)

How To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win.

Giveaway ends July 21, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. US winners, 18 years old or older only. Winner is responsible for any other travel/event costs occurred.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.)

Family Friendly Events at Chicago Botanic Garden

garden

It’s July and the time of the year that many parents start to hear “I’m bored”. With over a month still left of summer and plenty of nice weather days left it’s the perfect time to go visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.

This summer, the Garden has a variety of activities for families to enjoy together. From the new Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden and Kleinman Family Cove to the Model Railroad Garden and Butterflies & Blooms exhibitions, there are many engaging destinations to discover. A full calendar of events is designed specifically for families throughout the summer.

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

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

The Model Railroad Garden returns for a 14th season with new features such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a refurbished White House. Eighteen model G-scale trains will 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 on Wednesdays, June 5 – August 28, until 8 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates; Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays. The Model Railroad Garden is generously sponsored by Bank Of America. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/railroad for more information.

Plant Giveaways – Wednesdays through October 6

Visitors are invited to stop by the Fruit & Vegetable Garden between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to pick up a free seedling. Plant giveaways vary by month and include a care sheet and recipe to help you enjoy your new plant.

Butterflies & Blooms Exhibition – runs through Monday, September 2

The popular Butterflies & Blooms exhibition returns for its second season. Visitors are immersed in a tropical habitat full of hundreds of colorful butterflies interacting with plant life. Butterflies & Blooms features butterflies from around the world, including South America, Asia, North America, and Africa, as well as those native to Illinois. Volunteers are also on hand to answer questions. The 2,800-square-foot white mesh enclosure is located on the lawn of the Learning Campus. Cost is $6 for adults; $5 seniors; $4 children (3-12). Members receive $1 discount off these rates; Garden Plus members are free on Wednesdays. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/butterflies for more information.

Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden Family Drop-in Activities – Daily, through September 2

Get close to nature and discover where food comes from and how plants grow. Pollinate flowers, dissect seeds, see roots growing, compost with worms, create a rainbow for healthy eating, and more. Activities vary from week to week and all feature books and puzzles. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekday hours are noon to 4 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.

Kleinman Family Cove Family Drop-in Activities – Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, through September 1

Explore the plants and animals in aquatic habitats. Use scientific tools to look at tiny critters living under water, find out what makes water plants different from land plants, and more. Activities may vary from week to week. Program hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.

Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays – Sundays, July 7 and 21, August 6 and 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. 

Family Campout – July 27 (rain date August 2)

Families can come pitch a tent in our Outdoor Classroom for a low-stress camping experience with flushing toilets and running water! We’ll go for a scavenger hunt and evening hike through the prairie and cook s’mores around a campfire. Please plan to spend the night, as the Garden is unable to accommodate “under-night” or evening-only participants. Activities are geared for participants ages 5 and 6, but younger campers are welcome. Please note the rain date when registering for the campout. Campout fees will only be refunded if both the original date and the rain date are cancelled by the Garden. Program runs 5 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Cost is $50 per child; $20 per adult. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Adult must accompany children. Limit of three children per adult. Campers should bring a sack lunch for dinner. S’mores and breakfast is provided. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/afterschool/campouts or call (847) 835-8239 for more information.

Herb Garden Weekend – Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28

Learn about a variety of kitchen garden herbs in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden at Herb Garden Weekend. Staff, volunteers and outside experts will talk about their top ten herbs, how to grow herbs in containers, herbs in the kitchen and more. Herb Discovery Carts will introduce visitors to the herbs and edible flowers they can grow in their own gardens. Marcia Carmichael, herbal expert and historical gardener at Old World Wisconsin, will answer herb gardening questions throughout the weekend. Select vendors will offer plants and herbal products for sale. Visitors can take part in a number of family-friendly activities, including a sniff guess game, planting an herb seed and making a dried herb mix for herb butter. As part of the Plant Giveaway Program, visitors can take a marjoram seedling home (while supplies last). Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nature Nights: NEW! Abounding Butterflies – Saturdays, July 6 or 20

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. You’ll learn how butterflies sense the world around them, find out about the butterfly life cycle, and discover how to attract butterflies to your garden. Each Nature Nights also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Hours are from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights/ for more information.

Nature Nights: Aquatic Adventure – Saturday, August 3 or 17

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. You’ll gather your own water sample and look at plants, insects, and animals that live in the water at the Kleinman Family Cove using scientific tools. Each Nature Nights also includes a tram ride, a planting project, and s’mores around the campfire. Hours are from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for nonmembers. Garden Plus members receive a 20 percent discount. Visitwww.chicagobotanic.org/naturenights for more information.

Kite Festival – Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11

Enjoy a day at the Garden as colorful kites decorate the sky above the meadow west of Evening Island. Members of the award-winning Chicago Fire Kite Team perform sport kite ballet and precision flying demonstrations, and experts will offer kite-flying tips. Kids are encouraged to join in the fun by making their own kite during the kite-making workshops between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There’ll also be a ‘Kids Mad Dash’ in which participants will compete to see who can get their kite built and soaring the fastest. Registration is free and available at the Gift of Wings tent between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The first 30 children to register will receive a free kite to build and fly in the competition. Participants may bring and fly their own kites in the designated “Kite Festival” area between performances. Kites will also be available for purchase through Gift of Wings, a Milwaukee, WI-based retailer which will set up shop during the festival. Gift of Wings along with the Kite Society of Wisconsin and Illinois make this festival possible.

Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/specialevent/kite or call (847) 835-5440 for more information.

Malott Japanese Garden Summer Festival – Saturday, August 17, and Sunday, August 18

Learn about the summer festivals (matsura) celebrated in Japan during this special weekend of activities. Listen to taiko drum and koto harp music, enjoy traditional folktales, and watch a tea ceremony. Kids of all ages can make projects to celebrate summer—fold origami, create a paper fan, make a kite, and more at family-friendly, hands-on stations. Program hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Malott Japanese Garden will be staffed with volunteers in the Shoin House and around the Garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also stop by the Mid-America Bonsai Society Show & Sale. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/familyprograms/dropin for more information.

Heirloom Tomato Weekend – Saturday, August 24, and Sunday, August 25

Get new ideas about everyone’s garden-favorite, tomatoes, with programs focused on growing and using heirloom varieties. Volunteers and staff will provide tips on growing and using tomatoes. “Tomato Discovery Carts” will explore many types of tomatoes you can grow at home and trace the history of tomatoes as they’ve traveled the world. Visitors can ask experts tomato questions and shop for tomato-related items in the Wheelbarrow Shop and from select vendors. Family activities include a creating an herb mix for pasta sauce, a tomato toss, a tomato test, “sorting supper,” “rainbows of tomatoes,” and “indicator art.” As part of the Plant Giveaway Program, visitors can take a Crimson King basil seedling home (while supplies last). Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to tour the tomatoes growing in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden with the horticulturist at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Seed saving demonstrations will be offered on the half hour throughout the weekend.

Find out more at www.chicagobotanic.org

(Disclosure: This post is not sponsored.)

Pretty Muddy Women’s 5K Run {Chicago}

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(Disclosure: I received free registration to this run in exchange for sharing about it but all thoughts are my own.)

Pretty Muddy, the all women’s 5k mud run, is coming to Chicago September 7th! This run is more fun that exercise. With obstacles and costumes it will be a blast so get your friends together and sign up! Use code: HAWKSWIN to receive $20 off your registration. Offer expires July 5th.

View Chicago’s Skyline From A Seadog Cruise

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(Disclosure: I will be going on a Fireworks Seadog cruise in July during BlogHer but thoughts are my own.)

I love living near Chicago. It’s such an exciting place to be and an absolutely beautiful city. I don’t get to the city to explore as much as I’d like but the BlogHer conference is in my hometown this year so this July I will be spending a lot of time doing “touristy” things. One of the things I can’t wait to do is go on a Seadog cruise along Chicago’s scenic lakefront.

Seadog offers four exciting ways to see and experience Chicago from the water:

Lakefront Speedboat Tour

This 30-minute cruise along the shoreline offers a descriptive tour of Chicago’s famous skyline, while playing your favorite music.

Extreme Thrill Ride

This cruise is perfect for the dare-devil in you! This 30-minute ride features splash down stops, 180-degree turns, slalom runs and more.

River and Lake Architectural Tour

Enjoy historic views of Chicago’s famous landmarks and neighborhoods during this 75-minute cruise on both Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Lakefront Fireworks Cruise

Enjoy front-row seats to the spectacular fireworks display aboard the Lakefront Fireworks Cruise! Cruise along Lake Michigan with an exciting speedboat ride paired with an informative tour of the Chicago skyline, then end the evening with a dazzling fireworks show and top-40 hits playing in the background! The open aired vessel allows for panoramic views, providing a perfect view. The Seadog Fireworks Cruise is available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, running from Memorial Day – Labor Day.

Seadog is great for both individuals and groups and they offer customizable group events for up to 450 people. Seadog also features specific holiday cruises, such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Halloween.

For more information, please visit www.seadogcruises.com/chicago/ or call 888-636-7737.

Six Flags Great America’s New igNIGHT Show

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Six Flags Great America. As someone who loves Great America I am happy to share about this exciting new show and provide my readers with a discount on admission.)

Six Flags Great America is pleased to present the premiere of igNIGHT – Grand Finale, a mesmerizing and immersive nighttime spectacle bursting with energy, vivid colors, brilliant visual effects, lively performances, fascinating imagery, and pure imagination.

 

The groundbreaking new high-tech show — the most advanced show in the park’s 37-year history! — plays on all your senses, taking you on a wonderfully wild journey to a beautiful never-before-seen world. Watch in wonder as igNIGHT illuminates the dark night, magically bringing to life a phenomenal bright and vibrant multimedia universe filled with music, singing, dancing, laser lighting, and pyrotechnics right before your very eyes. Guest interaction along with advanced audio, enhanced video projection, and special effects round out the brand new show that is sure to stun and delight audiences of all ages.

 

igNIGHT – Grand Finale will premiere in summer 2013 and will take place in the evenings right before the park closes because there’s no better way to end an adrenaline-filled day at Six Flags Great America than with a big bang!

 

My Readers Save $20 Off One-Day Admission to Six Flags Great America http://www.windycitykidsguide.com/coupon.php?bid=11220&dealid=1287


Zoos Go Blue

zoos go blue

I recently learned about “Zoos Go Blue” and am really excited to share about this with you all. Through a national partnership with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, member Zoos & Aquariums from across North America will be participating in the inaugural “ZOOS GO BLUE” event in April to support Autism Awareness Month. Find out if your zoo is participating here. You can register for up to 6 people for free basic admission and parking.

If you live in the Chicago area, Brookfield Zoo’s special event is April 28th. The Zoo is also going blue that day so I’m really excited to visit with my family and see everything lit up blue.

In addition, there is a toolkit for families who want to visit the zoo that will help them prepare their child for the visit. Lucas is a little young for this but I think it’s a great resource for families with older children. (The toolkit can be found at the link provided above.)

(Disclosure: Like most of my Autism related posts this is not sponsored and I’m not affiliated with any Zoo, other than having a membership to one that I paid for with my own money.)

 

Girls Night Out: Be Bold. Go Red. {Ticket Giveaway}

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Be Bold. Go Red and join B96, 104.3 K-HITS and Bath & Body Works to celebrate the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement on Thursday, February 28, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Alhambra Palace Restaurant, located at 1240 West Randolph Street in Chicago.

Treat yourself to a Girls Night Out! Get the red carpet treatment, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beauty services, consultations and more when you Go Red!

Plus, VIP Attendees will receive a beverage ticket and a Girls Night Out Swag Bag packed full of fun goodies including Bath & Body Works Forever Red fragrance mist, Garrett Popcorn, cosmetic and hair care samples, sweets, treats and more!

Top off the night with a high style Spring fashion show, previewing collections from Chicago Fashion Incubator’s top designers.

You can purchase VIP and general tickets on Eventbrite here.

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive 2 VIP tickets to the Be Bold. Go Red. event

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 attend this event

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Follow @SassyMomChicago on Twitter

Giveaway ends February 17, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Winners must be 18 or over. This giveaway only includes tickets to the event. Transportation, parking, and any other fees will not be covered. Since this is a dated event, the winner will have only 24 hours to respond to my email or I will have to choose another winner.

(Disclosure: Be Bold. Go Red and join B96, 104.3 K-HITS and Bath & Body Works for a fun and charitable event on Thursday, February 28th, at the “Girls Night Out Benefiting Go Red for Women” at Alhambra Palace Restaurant. I was selected to host this giveaway by Sassy Moms in the City. This is not a compensated post…just sharing for a great cause!)

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out! Tour

Tour Logo

The sillies are crazy little creatures that live inside of us and need to be shaken out! DJ Lance Rock and everyone’s favorite cast of colorful characters are calling all fans in to get ready to jump, shake and shimmy them out at the new live tour Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out!. The tour will visit more than 50 cities across the U.S. in 2013.  For a complete list of tour dates, cities and show times, and a preview of the show, visit www.yogabbagabbalive.com

CHICAGO SHOWS:

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out! will have four performances in Rosemont at the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on Sat., January 19th/ Sun. January 20th. CLICK HERE for ticket information for the shows (2:00PM and 5:00pm both days). Tickets start at $23.00. VIP Party packages are available as well which include a ticket in the first 15 Rows, a pass to “Get the Sillies Out” in the private VIP room featuring a super fun party with the Gabba Gang (costumed characters) and more. Children under 1 year old do not require a paid ticket to sit on a parent’s lap.

I’m so excited to take my boys to get their sillies out with the Yo Gabba Gabba crew! Will you be there with your little ones?

(Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to this show but all thoughts are my own.)

 

Energizer’s “Power The Creativity” Event With Crayola

power the creativity
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

{Sorry for the blurry picture. He was scribbling so fast I couldn’t get a good shot!}

A couple of weeks ago the boys and I had the opportunity to go to an event sponsored by Energizer and Crayola. While I networked with other Chicago bloggers and learned about some of Energizer’s new products the boys had a chance to play and try out new Crayola toys. We had a great time and it was fun to attend an event with the boys since they love seeing what mommy does when she goes to “acago” {aka Chicago}.

The first product I learned about was the Energizer Flameless candle. I had received one previously from Energizer and loved it because it had the look of a burning candle but was safe enough to have around children and pets. What I did learn at the event though was that there was a timer on it so I could set it to go on and off. I currently have my candle sitting on a high shelf in my entryway and it turns on in the early evening and offers a nice flickering of light in an otherwise dark area.

The other product I learned about were the Energizer Max Batteries with Power Seal Technology. These batteries can hold their power up to 10 years on the shelf! Wow! They’d be great for an emergency kit because they last so long.

Energizer currently has a great promotion going on with Crayola. Here are the details:

I am excited to get some of the Crayola products the kids tried out, especially the Color Wonder Light-Up Paint Pallete. Here’s what the Crayola website says about our favorite product: “Create like a real artist in a magical mess-free way! The Magic Light Paint Palette lights up to match the color of whatever paint you use. Dip the brush in blue, it lights up blue – in red it blushes red and so on!”

(Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Energizer. I attended an event and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.)

 


Santa Visits For Children With Special Needs

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Visiting Santa is a really fun Holiday tradition for most families. It’s one I loved as a child and was excited to continue with my own children. The first couple years went well but eventually, visiting Santa became a tradition that I dreaded. It has turned into an overwhelming experience for my boys and as a mom, when my children aren’t having a good time, I’m not enjoying the tradition either.

As a mother of two preschoolers with special needs I am honored that Ability Path contacted me to share about their “Caring Santa”. It brought tears to my eyes to realize that people cared enough about my children and other children with special needs that they’d work together to create this special experience for our children.

This year Caring Santa will be at over 80 locations across the United States. Here are more details from Ability Path: Due to this collaborative effort and greater mall participation this year, more children with special needs and their families will have an opportunity to participate in the time-honored holiday tradition of taking a photo with Santa in an environment set up to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children with all abilities. Each mall will be asked to make some minor modifications to subdue the mall the morning of Caring Santa, and the result of that will be a magical experience for families; and some will walking away with their first-ever holiday photo of their child or family with Santa.  Until now, visiting with Santa and the Bunny really wasn’t a reality for families of children with special needs.

Last year, families who have experienced Caring Santa expressed great appreciation to participating malls for the extra care and welcoming environment.  While the accommodations made are for the child with special needs, often there are siblings who, as a result of their brother or sister’s disability don’t have the opportunity to partake in moments like these. The Caring Santa event is as much for them as it is for the child with a disability.  It is truly a morning for making memories for children of all abilities!

You can look to see if there is a location near you and RSVP by clicking here.

A HUGE thanks to Ability Path, Simon Malls, and Noerr Programs for organizing these events.

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post.)

 

Batman Live {Chicago}

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For the first time in DC Comics history, Batman – the worlds most popular DC Super Hero – is now an all-new, live-action arena spectacular which is taking the world by storm. BATMAN LIVE is a 15 million dollar stage production with an original story featuring a 43 strong cast of actors and circus trained acrobats, a 3D Gotham City landscape, a bespoke symphonic score, custom-built state-of-the-art stage, a 100 foot bat-shaped LED video wall, pyrotechnics and the impressive Batmobile, designed especially for the show by legendary racing car designer Professor Gordon Murray.

Faithfully adapted from the DC Comics characters and stories, BATMAN LIVE focuses on Robins quest for justice, which leads him to follow in the footsteps of his hero the mysterious vigilante known as Batman, much to the dismay of his protective guardian, billionaire Bruce Wayne, whom the audience knows is secretly Batman. This dynamic triangle resolves itself in a non-stop thrill-ride across Gotham City that transforms Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson into the legendary crime-fighters, Batman and Robin. The adventure transports the audience from the Big Top of Haly’s Circus to the depths of Arkham Asylum, and from the glittering peaks of the Penguins Iceberg Lounge to the subterranean wonders that await inside the Batcave.

Batman Live is coming to Rockford November 30th to December 2nd!  Save $10 use promo code: BATMAN  http://www.usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=460&bid=10937&dealid=1033

(Disclosure: I am receiving a family pack of tickets to go see Batman Live.)

New Exhibit At Kohl Children’s Museum: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

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On Exhibit: Now – January 6, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz exhibit features larger than life pop-up books that dazzle the eyes and stimulates the mind. Each section of this exhibit, based on the book published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, is an oversized three-dimensional page from the original story. Experience science, art and history through the magic of this timeless story and instill a love of reading and storytelling in young children. My readers receive $1 Off Child admission with this coupon.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was developed by the Great Explorations Children’s Museum.
(Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to the museum to take my children to the new exhibit.)

How Sweet the Sound Gospel Celebration {Ticket Giveaway For Chicago Event}

how sweet the sound

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ Gospel Celebration unites communities and cities across America in celebration and song.  The tour pays tribute to gospel music and provides local choirs a platform to showcase their talent with a broader community. Choirs rejoice in song and praise; sing in front of gospel greats and fans; and compete for a chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.

 This year, regional events will take place in the following cities:

·         Dallas – Sept. 6 at Verizon Theater at Grand Prairie

·         Atlanta – Sept. 10 at Philips Arena

·         Washington, DC – Sept. 12 at Verizon Center

·         Newark – Sept. 13 at Prudential Center

·         Detroit – Sept. 15 at Joe Louis Arena

·         Chicago – Sept. 17 at United Center

·         Los Angeles – Sept. 21 at Staples Center

·         Finale – New York – Nov. 4 at Barclays Center

GRAMMY® award-winning, songwriter, producer, arranger and music director Donald Lawrence will return as host and be joined by GRAMMY® award-winning entertainer, producer, author and syndicated radio host Yolanda Adams. In addition, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and CeCe Winans will serve as resident judges for this year’s competition, which will feature each region’s top six choirs.

Tickets to the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound™ tour are on sale now.  For more details about Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound™ including video content, judging criteria, ticket sales information, and official rules, please visit www.HowSweettheSound.com.

TICKET GIVEAWAY:

I have one pair of tickets to give away to the Chicago stop of this tour.
The event is September 17th at the United Center.

{Giveaway does not cover transportation to the event, parking or any other costs}

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win!

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network :)

Giveaway ends September 11, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. Winner will have 24 hours to respond due to the timely nature of this giveaway.

(Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Moms program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.)

How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular {My Thoughts}

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We went to the How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular on Friday night and really enjoyed it. {See my first post for details on the show and a great discount code!} The visual effects of the show were amazing and much larger than I thought they would be. I was expecting just a simple stage show but instead was pleasantly surprised that they used every area of the arena that they could possibly use. I loved that the images moved so for part of the show I felt like I was really in the show with the characters. The whole experience is just something I can’t even describe in words so I took a short video of the show  so that you could see how much of a production it really is. What you see lit up in the video is the back screen and that’s pretty much all you can see in the video other than a little movement on the stage.

If the show will be near you {check here} I would recommend that you go see it with your families. Jacob is 4 and he enjoyed it and I think it’s something adults would enjoy too so I’d suggest it for preschool age on up. Try to get seats as close as possible, too. I also liked that the parking was free. I am not sure if it’s free at every show but the arena we went to normally has paid parking so I thought it was a nice perk.

(Disclosure: I received tickets to the show in return for sharing about the show and my opinion of it.)

How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular {Discount Code}

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DREAMWORKS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR is coming to Chicago! It will be at the United Center this weekend. The first show is on Thursday, July 26 at 7:00 PM. Other showtimes are Friday, July 27 at 7:00 PM; Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM; and Sunday, July 29 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM. All shows have free parking at official United Center parking lots for all performances.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR was created by DreamWorks Animation, producers of the Academy Award®-nominated film, How to Train Your Dragon, which opened as the #1 film in more than 30 countries, and Global Creatures, the masterminds behind the international phenomenon Walking with Dinosaurs, the #1-grossing world tour of 2010. 

The live production rolls fire-breathing action, epic adventure and heartfelt laughter into an original captivating story set in the mythical world of Vikings and wild dragons.  Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, it centers on Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers.  Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges him and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.

Find more information about the show at www.dreamworksdragonslive.com.

Ticket Prices:

Tickets are on sale now and start at $26.50 plus applicable facility fees and service charges.

Discount Code:

Save 25% nationwide on select seats for weekday performances (including Fridays)

with code MOM on ticketmaster.com

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(Disclosure: I received a family pack of tickets to attend the show in exchange for posting about the show and sharing my honest opinions afterwards.)

Jump For Free {And Support Autism Speaks}

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Most Pump It Up locations are having an open jump tomorrow {Wednesday, July 25th} from 6-8pm so your children can jump for free when you make a donation to Autism Speaks!

Check out their website to see if a location near you is participating!

My Experience At Ribfest {With Ty Pennington & Sears}

Ty & I

I posted back in June about the Sears “Grilling Is Happiness” live event and how I was so excited because Ty Pennington was going to be there. I wanted to follow up and update you all about my experience and share lots of pictures, too!

Friday night I went to a media/blogger event at a beautiful hotel. There were about 10 bloggers, people from Sears, and then the cooking and lifestyle experts. The experts that attended the event were Ty Pennington {best known for Extreme Makeover Home Edition}, Robyn Lindars of Grill Grrrl, Perry Perkins of Burnin’ Love BBQ, and George Hirsch {a cooking and lifestyle expert}. We ate delicious food while chatting about grilling and blogging. It was also a great chance to get some pictures taken:

Ty & I

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Robyn & I

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Some of the Collective Bias Social Fabric bloggers at the event: myself, Laura, Kelly, and Michelle

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The dessert- yum!

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Saturday I attended the Ribfest in Naperville, IL. This is an annual event with many barbeque restaurants participating. This year Sears participated and hosted a “Grilling Is Happiness” event with live grilling demonstrations, pictures opportunities, and a chance to enter their sweepstakes to win some great prizes. Here are some pictures I took at the Ribfest:

George Hirsch showing off the Kenmore Grill he is using

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Shrimp that George Hirsch made with the help of Ty Pennington {I tasted it and it was delicious! He paired it with asian style noodles.}

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Ty being interviewed by ABC News

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Trying to stay cool on a hot day

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Perry showing what he uses to grill

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I learned a lot watching the experts grill and think it’s great that Sears included a woman in their panel of experts. I don’t know a lot about grilling but seeing that a girl could grill just as well as the men could made me want to go outside and figure out how to use the grill I just bought last month. I also loved how she made a variety of things on the grill that I’d never think to make. She even makes dessert on the grill! {Check out her grilled pound cake recipe}

I had so much fun at the event and took over 60 pictures! You can view the rest of my pictures in my Google+ photo album. I also took two videos at the Ribfest. The first is of Robyn giving a couple of her grilling tips and the second is of Ty sharing a grilling story with the crowd.

If you are in the Chicago area I encourage you to attend the Naperville Ribfest next year! You will not be disappointed. The food is amazing, they have live bands playing throughout the fest, and they even have a fun family area with lots of things to keep the kids busy.

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Connect with Sears:

Sears on Facebook, Sears on Twitter, Shop Your Way on Twitter, Sears Local Ad

Connect with Ribfest:

Ribfest on Facebook, Ribfest on Twitter

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears. #CBias #SocialFabric #GrillingIsHappiness All thoughts are my own.)

Universal Orlando’s “Despicable Me” Breakfast {Not-So-Wordless Wednesday}

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Yesterday the boys and I headed to The Wit Hotel in Chicago for a blogging event with Universal Orlando Resort to celebrate a new attraction coming this summer.

Here is more information on the Despicable Me attraction from the press release:

Universal Orlando’s newest attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, will take guests on an unforgettable 3-D adventure with their favorite characters from the hit film – Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the mischievous minions. The experience begins when guests enter Gru’s home, where they learn that they’re being recruited to become minions and undergo “minion training.” Things don’t go as planned, and guests find themselves on a wildly hysterical journey with Gru and his daughters. Once guests make it through training, they join an interactive, minion-inspired dance party where they can show off their best moves.

Click here to see a picture of the boys and I with the characters from Despicable Me {It’s copyrighted so I can’t share it here on my blog.} Here are two of my favorite pictures from the breakfast:

Two of the minions

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Jacob loved watching the minions come out and dance. I didn’t get a picture of Lucas because he was busy dancing around at the table :)

(Disclosure: I attended this event free of charge but all thoughts are my own.)

Disney On Ice: “Dare To Dream” Is Coming To Chicago

http://disney.go.com/disneyonice/

Get tangled up in the newest thrilling show to hit the ice, Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream. Experience Disney’s hilarious hair-raising escapade, Tangled; as Rapunzel, her unlikely companion, Flynn, and Maximus, embark on an uproarious journey that takes adventure to new lengths!  Boogie to the beat of the bayou with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen in a magical, musical journey that all begins with a fateful kiss.  And fanciful dreams become reality as Cinderella meets her Prince Charming, with a glass slipper fit for an unforgettable fantasy come true. All your favorite princesses take to the ice in a spectacular finale at the ultimate Disney Princess event of a lifetime!  Experience the beauty, sparkle, and spirit when Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream comes to your hometown!  Playing Allstate Arena Jan. 25-29 and United Center Feb. 1-12, with ticket prices starting at just $12 on opening night.

DISCOUNT CODE:

Use code MOMMY to receive 4 tickets for just $44 for all weekday shows (Monday-Friday, excluding Friday evenings and holidays) or to save $4 for all weekend performances (Friday evening-Sunday).

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

(Disclosure: I received tickets to this Disney on Ice show but all thoughts are my own.)

Christmas Fun In The Chicago Suburbs {8 Places To Take Your Family}

Do you live in a Chicago suburb and are looking for places to take your kids to do some fun Christmas things? I have some ideas:

BASS PRO SHOPS (Bolingbrook and Gurnee)

BOLINGBROOK PROMENADE (Bolingbrook)

Symphony in light shows every evening from 5-9pm until December 31st. Find more information on the Bolingbrook Promenade here.

BROOKFIELD ZOO (Brookfield)

Chicagoland’s largest light festival takes place at Brookfield Zoo. There are lots of lights, animated light displays, a laser light show, music and entertainment. Find out more information here.

CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDENS (Glencoe)

Take a magical adventure to a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and holiday beauty at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Outside, 750,000 lights sparkle and welcome you and your family to the Garden’s wonderland. Inside the Regenstein Center, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition of miniature trains winds through more than 80 miniature Chicago-area landmarks. In addition to the Wonderland Express exhibition there will be decorated trees, a gingerbread village display, and a wreath display and sale. Find out more information here.

MORTON ARBORETUM (Lisle)

A holiday favorite returns! The “Enchanted Railroad” rolls through with model trains of different colors and styles. One train even has a tiny camera on board so visitors can see what it would be like to ride along! Nine trains operate via remote-controlled interlocked signals, allowing them to cross tracks safely, and two trolleys that reverse direction automatically. Bring the kids and spend 30 minutes or more “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing” at the toy trains. Find out more details here.

LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER (Schaumburg)

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago invites you to celebrate the season during Holly Jolly Holidays. Festive decorations will deck the halls of the Center throughout the month of December. Guests will also enjoy special seasonal games, group builds and plenty or LEGO-tastic holiday fun! Find out more information here.

CUNEO MANSION & GARDENS (Vernon Hills)

The Drive Thru Holiday Light Show presented by the Village of Vernon Hills in cooperation with the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens is held annually on the magnificent grounds of the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens.  The event opens Friday November 25, 2011 and runs thru December 31, 2011. Find out more information here.  

COSLEY ZOO (Wheaton)

20,000 twinkling lights and spectacular displays transform Cosley Zoo into a fairy tale winter wonderland from Thanksgiving Friday through the end of December. The lights come on at 3p.m. and the zoo closes at 9p.m. Visit the animals and purchase your Christmas tree, wreath, and holiday gifts! FREE to the public! Find out more information here.

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Make sure to visit Kidgrade to get more ideas of where to head for family fun in the Chicago area!

Best Toys For Kids {2011}

Looking for some gift ideas?

Here’s the “Best Toys For Kids” list from the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association:


Active Play

Freestyle Spooner Board
by Spooner Inc.
For ages 3+
Using the Spooner Board, riders of all abilities can pretend they are catching a wave, riding the slopes, or burning up the asphalt without leaving the comfort of the family room. Designed for beginners, kids 3 can simulate spins, twists, slides, and wobbles, while getting a workout, stabilizing their core and improving their balance and coordination.


Z-Curve Bow
by Zing
For ages 8+
The ultimate foam arrow shooter for high tech archery, Zing’s Z-Curve Bow uses safe, soft arrows that can soar 100 feet! Set includes bow, two long-range arrows with holder, and a stick-anywhere Zartz-tip dart for accurate target practice.



Classic Play (0-7 Yrs)

Teaching Cash Register
by Learning Resources
For ages 3+
Cha-ching!! Playing store comes to life with this talking, interactive cash register that rewards transactions with lights, sounds and voice messages. Holds actual-size money and includes a built-in scanner, scale, coin slot and volume control. Engaging play helps kids practice basic math skills and recognition of coins and bills. Requires 3 C batteries, not included.



Classic Play (8 Yrs+)

Potholder Kit
by Harrisville Designs
For ages 6+
Children love to weave, especially with this easy metal loom from Harrisville that helps kids understand spatial relationships while developing fine motor control and builds self esteem. It’s a great way to produce something useful. Make handmade items to sell at fundraising events or to give as gifts!



Constructive Play

nanoblock
by Ohio Art/Kawada
For ages 8+
You don’t have to be an engineer to build with nanoblock from Ohio Art! Watch in amazement as 3-D buildings are erected with micro-sized building blocks. With assorted size and colored pieces, create a detailed replica of France’s Eiffel Tower, India’s Taj Mahal and others that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand.



Tegu Blocks
by Tegu
Tegu angle blocks from Tegu allow geometric building possibilities for gravity-defying play! Constructive play reaches new heights with the Explorer Set, which includes 40 blocks in seven shapes and a booklet of building ideas—all packaged in a beautifully designed box large and rigid enough to store the blocks for many years to come.



Creative Arts Play

Happily Ever After Jewelry Box
by The Orb Factory
For ages 5+
Bring a little Happily Ever After to any girls’ room with this beautiful new jewelry box from The Orb Factory. The whimsical tale of a Princess and her Frog Prince is illustrated all around this sparkling box. Follow the numbered legend and mosaic over 750 sparkling tiles and jewels… and watch this magical story spring to life!


Safety Pin Bracelets
by Klutz
For ages 8+
Super-simple, fully illustrated step-by-step directions by Klutz for Safety Pin Bracelets shows how anyone can craft an entire collection of brilliantly sparkling jewelry out of garden-variety safety pins. The book includes 12 unique bracelet designs. You pick the colors and patterns so each bracelet is uniquely you.



Early Play 0-3 Year

Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench
by Hape
For ages 12 months and up
This sturdy wooden toy from Hape gives babies lots of ways to have fun with sounds. They can pound the balls with the hammer to make them roll down the xylophone, making a beautiful scale of musical sounds or pull out the xylophone and tap directly on the keys to make an original tune!


Pic ‘N’ Pop
by International Playthings
For ages 18 months and up
Pic N Pop by Tomy gets children moving! With the click of the button, kids launch a ball from the chute, then roll over the ball and magically pick it up! With five balls, you can use this indoors and outdoors.



Game Play (3-7 Years)

Fast Track
by Blue Orange Games
For ages 3 to 7
Ready, aim, score! With Fastrack from Blue Orange Games, the action is non-stop and the fun is plentiful. Using the elastic cord, be quick and aim well. Be the first to send all of the disks zooming across the other side. WARNING: you may find it difficult to stop playing!


Perplexus Rookie
by Plasmart
For ages 4+
6.5 Inches in diameter, the Perplexus Rookie by Plasmart is filled with layers of detailed maze structures. It’s a brainteaser puzzle with facets kids and adults find both fascinating and mind-bending. Flip, twist and turn the sphere to solve the puzzle. Easy to play but challenging to complete. Great for improving eye-hand coordination and spatial relationships.



Game Play (8 Years+)

Pathwords
by Thinkfun Inc.
For ages 12+
Exercise your brain with PathWords from ThinkFun, the exciting new game that combines the best of Tetris® and Word Search! Place the puzzle pieces onto the selected challenge so the letters under each piece spell a word. With 40 challenges from beginner to expert, PathWords appeals to word game lovers AND puzzle game fanatics.


Trigger
by Blue Orange Games
For ages 8+
You won’t believe how many laughs are packed into the game of Trigger Blue Orange Games. Players answer “true” or “false” to statements as quickly as possible by slapping the target. Right hand is true and left hand is false. With humorous statements in a fast pace atmosphere, the game is always full of surprises.



Pretend (Doll Play)

Tidoo Raspberry
by Corolle
For ages 18 months and up
Designed for bathtime fun, Corolle’s 12-inch Tidoo Raspberry doll is soft, posable and so light it floats! Filled with polystyrene “beads” that dry quickly, Tidoo is a favorite playmate out of the tub, too. Tidoo’s eyes open and close so Tidoo can take a nap — just like a real baby!


Baby Stella Playtime Potty (doll not included)
by Manhattan Toy
For ages 12 months and up
Teach Baby Stella how to use the big potty with the Manhattan Toy Playtime Potty chair! This charming little toilet can be a helpful tool in the potty training process. It encourages your little one to be a “big kid” and encourages social and emotional development through nurturing the Baby Stella doll. (Doll sold separately.)



Pretend (Fantasy Play)

Falcon Knights’ Castle
by Playmobil
For ages 4 to 10
Activate traps and prepare the knights to guard the Falcon Knights’ Castle from intruders. The castle comes with a drawbridge, breakout wall, drop-down ladder, and a trap door. The set also includes four Falcon Knights, horse, functional cannon, and many other accessories to provide hours of entertainment.


Shrinky Dinks Fairy Garden
by Creativity for Kids
For ages 7+
Color and bake these Shrinky Dinks from Creativity for Kids and transform a pop-up garden into a fun fairy hide-away. 50 pre-cut Shrinky Dinks come ready to color and shrink. Decorate the playscape with 3-D fairies, flowers, forest friends and sparkling glitter glue accents. Includes Faber-Castell Colored EcoPencils and a sharpener.



Pretend (Role Play)

Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper
by International Playthings
For ages 3+
Calico Critter families can spend happy vacations together travelling in their very own Caravan Camper from International Playthings! Includes over 35 accessories: round table, plates, cups, utensils, pots, pan, sleeping bags, maps, “board games”, iron, soap, towel & much more!


Healthy Gourmet Salad for Green Eaters
by Hape
For ages 3+
Imaginative play gets nourished when children create a tasty salad with these vibrant wood vegetables. This 36-piece set from Hape includes the bowl, the vegetables, and dressing—oil, vinegar, and pepper—plus utensils for tossing up some healthy play.



Scientific Play

Big Bag of Science
by Be Amazing
For ages 8+
This giant kit by Be Amazing whets the appetites of budding young scientists. With more than 70 hands-on science activities, it guarantees hours and hours of science fun. Make water disappear or flow uphill! Create a soda geyser or grow fake snow! Science is fun with activities using chemistry, physic, magnetism, weather, biology, geology, and flight.


Remote Control Machines
by Thames and Kosmos
For ages 8+
Use this exciting Thames & Kosmos kit to build your own motorized machines, then control them with a unique six-button infrared remote. Control three different motors simultaneously, moving each of them forward or in reverse, with easy-to-activate touch sensors. Includes 3 motors, remote control unit, battery holder, and building blocks.
                                                  


(Disclosure: I received many of these toys at an event I went to at Building Blocks Toy Store but was not compensated or asked to post this list.)

Tips For Buying A New Smartphone

T-Mobile's myTouch

Last week I went to a fun blogging event at T-Mobile put on by one of my fabulous tech blogger friends, Kris. T-Mobile shared some Holiday shopping tips with us and I wanted to share them with you because they are good tips for buying a phone from any carrier, not just T-Mobile.

1) Think about what you will use the phone for. Don’t just get a phone because it’s “the best”, get a phone because it fits your lifestyle and your needs.

2) Figure out how much data you will need. The T-Mobile associates shared that most people do not need to purchase the largest data package because they don’t use all that data. T-Mobile has a nifty calculator on their site to check out which package you would need from them.

3) If you make calls outside the country consider getting a prepaid plan to control your costs.

4) Check to see if there is strong coverage at places you will be using the phone the most. This is important. What good is a phone if you can’t use it where you live, work, or spend a majority of your time? I used to get horrible phone service in my own home and would have to sit in a spot that was “just right” to talk on my phone. It was such a pain.

5) Don’t forget the accessories. Sinisa got a Bluetooth headset as an early Christmas gift and he LOVES it!

6) Understand return policies.

T-MOBILE’S APPLICATIONS FOR FAMILIES:

I am not a T-Mobile customer but if I had a child who was old enough for a smartphone I would probably switch because T-Mobile has some awesome safety and control applications that parents can get:

-DriveSmart Plus- Distracted driving is dangerous, especially with new drivers. DriveSmart manages distractions by silencing incoming notifications, sending callers to voicemail and auto responding to incoming text messages. With DriveSmart Plus, you get automatic driving detection, parental controls and notification of cell phone activity while driving, providing additional peace of mind.

-FamilyWhere- If you’ve ever wondered where your kids are, this feature is for you. It allows parents to track the location of any phone on their family plan. You can even schedule  alerts as a reminder to check where your kids are during the day and view up  to 7 days of location history.

-You can also block calls during certain times (like during the school day and after “lights out”) and you can block certain numbers if you don’t want them calling your child.

T-Mobile's myTouch

We got to try out the myTouch phones by T-Mobile at the event. They are pretty cool. I liked that they are so lightweight! My phone feels like a brick compared to this one. {Oh…and I WON one of these in a raffle! yippeee!}

(Disclosure: I attended this event and won a phone but all thoughts are my own.)

Bertolli’s Fresh Tasting Soups {Event Recap And A Giveaway}

bertolli soups


Earlier this month I was invited to a “Soups and Sips” event by Bertolli. I enjoyed learning more about the soups and trying them while talking with other Chicago area bloggers. It was fun because I got a chance to meet local “foodies” who normally don’t attend the other blogging events I go to.

I was familiar with Bertolli frozen meals for two but had never heard of their soups before I was invited to the event. I had never had soup from the freezer aisle so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered if they would taste like canned soups which often have mushy vegetables and noodles. Bertolli’s four varieties of soup include: Chicken and Rotini Pasta, Tomato Florentine, Chicken Minestrone, and Tuscan Beef and Vegetables.

I was pleasantly surprised. The soups were delicious, the vegetables were crunchy and the chunks of meat were plentiful and sizeable. I don’t typically think of soups as filling but I could see one package of soup with a side salad and bread making a great date night dinner . My favorite flavor was the Tomato Florentine.

Yum!

In addition to the soups and bread we had appetizers and wine (which I didn’t drink) and some awesome desserts (which I ate plenty of). We also enjoyed eating all of this while listening to a wonderful opera singer. Thanks to Bertolli for a wonderful event!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win a coupon for a FREE Bertolli Meal Soup or Frozen Meal

HOW TO ENTER

Leave a comment telling me which flavor you want to try!

Giveaway ends December  10, 2011 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received free products and was invited to this event but all thoughts are my own.)

Neighborhood Toy Store Day

NTSDlogo

Tomorrow, November 12, is Neighborhood Toy Store Day! Small toy stores across the country will be celebrating the joy of play to launch the Holiday shopping season. Shopping at local owned toy stores is wonderful because you get great customer service and knowledgeable staff, special services (some have free gift wrapping!), and best of all you are keeping your hard earned money in your community.

Many stores will be having special events to celebrate this special day. You can see a list of stores participating here. If you live in the Chicago area, Building Blocks Toy Store will be having costumed characters, giveaways, entertainment, and more at their events.

Check back tomorrow when I will share the 2011 “Best Toys For Kids” list from ASTRA, The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.

(Disclosure: I recently went to an event at my local toy store but all thoughts are my own and I was not compensated for posting this information.)

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus {In Chicago}

circus

Don’t miss Fully Charged, the all-new surge of circus entertainment from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey where megawatts of thrills explode off of the arena floor with breathtaking dare-devilry, superhuman stunts and never-before-seen performances that energize Children of All Ages! Playing Allstate Arena November 3-13 and United Center November 16-27.  Get your tickets today at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or at either arena box office.

A Special Offer Just For You:

Use code MOMMY to receive 4 tickets for just $44 for all weekday shows
(Monday-Friday, excluding Friday evenings and holidays)
OR
Use code MOMMY to save $4 for all weekend performances (Friday evening-Sunday)
Code expires: 11/27/2011
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(Disclosure: I was given a family pack of tickets to the circus but all opinions are my own.)