Attention Football Parents – Riddell Smarter Football Grant Info

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This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Riddell.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I love football. I look forward to football season every year and count down the days until it starts. I love watching my favorite Chicago team play it, cheering for the Buckeyes in college football games, and, of course, watching my own son play it.

I’ll never forget the very first year that Jacob played football. When we picked up his gear I remember thinking how tiny he looked in it but I knew that this gear was essential in keeping him safe on the football field which is the most important thing to me as a sports parent.

It’s clear that the game of football is no longer about being the fastest or strongest on the field; but about being the smartest, so I’m thrilled to be partnering with Riddell, a brand that believes in the importance of safety and smarter football. Smarter football means safe tackling, proper nutrition, excellent sportsmanship and maintaining good grades.

Riddell is calling on players, coaches, parents, and fans to take an active role in advancing the game through the Smarter Football Commitment. This initiative invites members of the football community at all levels to join in a movement to create a safer, better sport through the use of “smarter” tactics on and off the field. Riddell believes in this cause so much that they’ve pledged up to $100,000 in equipment grants to select football programs in need of upgraded gear. Multiple grants will be awarded to several deserving programs that best demonstrate how the new product will strengthen their team’s commitment to smarter football. Entries will be accepted through August 31, 2017 with the winners announced during the 2017 football season.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A GRANT: Fans, administrators, coaches, parents, and players can submit their teams via the website at Riddell.com/SmarterFootball through August 31, 2017. To apply, fill out the form to share the details of the football program you are applying for, including the state of their equipment, and how your program practices Smarter Football.

Watch how winning a grant changed things for one team and helped them practice smarter football!

How would your child’s team use this grant if they won?

We Are A Soccer Family

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This post is sponsored by Target. I’m a Target Brand Ambassador but all thoughts are my own.

It’s summertime which means we are in the middle of the U.S. soccer season. Growing up in Croatia, soccer (or “football” as it’s known in Europe) has always been an important part of my life. When I was younger we played it on the playground every day and I played club soccer also. Soccer has always been my favorite sport and while I don’t play it any more, I still love to watch it. I’m not alone in my love for the sport. Soccer is the biggest multicultural sport in the world. I am very happy that it has grown in popularity here in the States.

Since I have called Chicago my home for almost 2 decades one of my favorite soccer teams is the Chicago Fire. This summer is extra exciting for Chicago as the MLS All-Star Game is going to be played in Chicago at Soldier Field on August 2nd and four members of the Chicago Fire have been named to the MLS All-Star roster. For those who do not follow soccer this is an event where some of the biggest stars of MLS will face off against Real Madrid from Spain. This will be an epic event and I can’t wait to watch it!

Target recently announced their major investment in U.S. soccer and are the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 MLS All-Star game. They also became an Official Partner of Major League Soccer, the jersey sponsor for Minnesota United FC and the Official Retailer of US Youth Soccer. Additionally they provided a grant to the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

Target’s move into soccer makes sense because they are the retailer where many families, including mine, gets all of our soccer essentials from. My oldest has been playing soccer since he was 3 years old and now he plays league soccer during the spring and indoor soccer in the winter. Target is our one stop shop for all our needs from shin guards to game day snacks to soccer goals that help kids practice at home.

Target is also where we get our soccer balls. As kids grow they use different size soccer balls depending on regulations of the leagues they are in and Target has all the different sizes in stock. My boy’s love the selection, especially the soccer balls that are neon colored. Can you believe that Target sold one million soccer balls in 2016!? That’s a lot of families playing soccer!

With the MLS All-Star game quickly approaching we are excited and getting ready to celebrate this big event in the soccer world. We found all our party essentials like snacks and decorations at Target. I even bought a shirt for myself and shirts for the boys to show our soccer pride.

I hope you’ll follow along and chat with me Wednesday night as I share our homegating party fun on social media while we watch the big game. If you live in the Chicago area or will be in town for the game, be on the lookout for all sorts of Target sponsored events across the city throughout the week along with awesome in-stadium experiences.

How are you getting ready for the MLS All-Star game?

White Sox Family Sundays

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Thanks to the Chicago White Sox for hosting my family at a game.

Looking for something family-friendly to do in the Chicago area? White Sox fans can spend a Sunday afternoon at the Sox field enjoying the baseball game and many fun kid-friendly activities.

Family Sundays, presented by Coca-Cola, cover all Sunday home games in 2017 and feature tickets as low as $5 in the upper level and $15 in the lower level. Plus, parking is available for only $10. The White Sox ballpark experience for kids on Sundays in 2017 also features special kid-focused activities throughout the concourse and the opportunity to run the bases after games (weather permitting).

If your child knows every Sox player’s name then an autograph session is a must-attend! Prior to select games listed here, the first 100 kids (age 13 and under) to enter the ballpark through the Chicago Sports Depot entrance (located near Parking Lot B and Gate 5) at 11:15 a.m. will be given a wristband and directed to the special area where four Chicago White Sox players will sign one item per child. (A regular game ticket is required for entrance but the autograph session is free with purchase of a ticket.) 

Don’t forget to sign your child up for the kid’s club, if they aren’t already a member, for special perks like ball park tours, tickets and more! (There is a paid membership with extra perks but the basic Slugger membership is FREE!)

We had such a fun time at the game last Sunday! It was hot and sunny but the boys enjoyed eating snacks from the concession stand while watching the game and hoping for a foul ball to come their way. They also loved getting some of the players to sign their autograph ball. At the end of the game they even got their own Sox ball and bat which was a special giveaway for the game. (Other theme nights are coming up which you can find on the schedule here.)

Have you ever been to a Chicago White Sox game? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

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.

Basketball Party Appetizer

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackBracketPlaybook #CollectiveBias

Are any of you basketball fans? Or married to basketball fans? If so, I bet you or your loved ones have been glued to the television the past week or so. It’s exciting to follow the games and there’s nothing better than watching them with friends and family. As you cheer on your favorite teams you will probably want to snack on something so I wanted to share a snack idea that’s perfect for basketball parties.

For our basketball watch party I recreated a Mondelez recipe for The Big Tournament, Southwestern Fiesta Topper on TRISCUITs, changing it up a bit with the addition of guacamole to the sour cream. (You can find the original recipe along with a video on how to make it here.) This recipe is so simple which is perfect for those last minute parties. It’s also nice because it allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time watching the game.

Ingredients needed:

  • TRISCUIT crackers
  • White cheddar cheese (cut into thin slices)
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

To make:

In a small bowl, mix 2 spoonfuls of sour cream with two spoonfuls of guacamole.

Top a TRISCUIT with a slice of cheese.

Add a teaspoon of salsa on top of the cheese.

Top with a teaspoon of the sour cream and guacamole mixture.

For added fun you can put a basketball topper on each appetizer.

You will also want something to drink so what better to pair appetizers with than ice cold Coca-Cola™ or Coca-Cola Zero™?

I love the mini cans and the 8 ounce bottles I found because they are the perfect size for parties!

To add a bit more basketball fun to the table I set out orange basketball napkins and plates. I also made themed straws for the drinks by attaching foam basketball stickers to black and white striped paper straws.

It only took a few minutes to get everything ready. Want to recreate this party idea? Just grab your favorite Coca-Cola drinks and set out a couple easy appetizers and then sit down and enjoy the ball game :)

I found Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and TRISCUITs at my local Jewel-Osco store.

What do you like to snack on while you watch basketball?

 

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  • Mondelēz International and Coca-Cola are Corporate Champion and Partners of the NCAA.
  • NCAA and Snack Bracket Playbook are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • © Mondelēz International group © Coca-Cola Zero is a registered trademark of the Coca-Cola Company.

Be The Snack Mom MVP

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PureLife40pk #CollectiveBias

With spring baseball season just around the corner, I’ve already started planning for what I need to do to have a smooth sports season. From trying on last year’s cleats ahead of time to pulling the bat bag out from it’s winter hibernation in the garage to making sure that I’m stocked up with plenty of water for practices and games- I’m hoping to be more prepared this season than I have been in the past. (So I can avoid an issue like I had last year when I discovered on the first day of fall baseball practice that Jake’s cleats didn’t fit from the spring season that had just ended a few months before!)

My boys play sports year round which means I’m also responsible for team snacks at least once a month or so. That’s just one more thing to think about during our busy spring sports season when I’m balancing the schedules of two baseball teams and a soccer team (along with all of their other activities and school events). This year I decided to buy a small cooler that was the perfect size to hold enough water bottles for the team so that I could have drinks for snack time ready to go.

And because I’m a crazy sports mom I decided to decorate the cooler a bit to show my team spirit :)

Materials needed to decorate the cooler:

  • 1 to 2 cheer bows in the sport of your choice (or thick ribbon in the sport of your choice)
  • Sports themed stickers

Tie the bows on the handle of the cooler and put the stickers on where you’d like to. I used two big cheer bows on the handle, a “baseball” sticker on the front of the cooler, and then put a long scrapbook sticker that looked like the lace of a baseball on the handle of the cooler.

I also personalized the water bottles and had fun sports themed bottles in just minutes.

Materials needed to decorate/personalize the water bottles:

  • Colorful paper
  • Foam sports sticker
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Marker (optional for personalizing)

To decorate the water bottles cut strips of paper about the size of the label on the bottles. Tape the paper on to the bottle and add a foam sports sticker to the front. To personalize the water bottles even more you can write the name or initials of each child on the ball of their label.

I also went to Sam’s Club and bought a 40 pack of Nestlé® Pure Life® Water (available in select Sam’s Club stores, ask your Club Manager about getting Nestlé Pure Life Water in your store if it’s unavailable.). I like that I get 40 bottles for the price of 35! Nestlé Pure Life Water is filtered through a 12-step quality process and enhanced with a unique blend of minerals so it tastes delicious and refreshing.

I keep the cooler stocked with water and bags of snacks in the car so now all I have to do the day I’m snack mom is grab some ice or ice packs, stick them in the cooler and head to the game. The cooler sits near the dugout and I’m ready with cold waters and a snack for the kids when they are done playing their game.

How are you getting ready for spring sports season?

Why We Love British Soccer Camp

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

Jacob plays league soccer two to three seasons a year and, for the past couple of summers, has also participated in a week long soccer camp called British Soccer Camp. This camp week is always one of his favorite weeks of the summer and something he is looking forward to participating in again this year. He has enjoyed making new friends and playing this sport that he loves. Watching him play, I’ve noticed his skills develop a lot these last two years and I attribute much of that growth to these week long, half-day intensive camps.

Created by Challenger Sports, British Soccer Camps can be found across the US and Canada. Their camps are coached by a team of international experts and have an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players of all abilities from ages 3-18. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development and cultural education. Best of all, this camp makes learning soccer skills as fun as can be!

British Soccer Camp is giving FREE goodies to all who enroll today with the code: CAMP17. Use that code to register for camp and get a free soccer jersey, soccer ball, t-shirt and poster! Find a location nearby and register here: https://www.challengersports.com/british-soccer/

Has your child ever participated in a sports camp over the summer?

 

 

Easy Ways To Update Your Bathroom For The Big Game

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MegaGame #CollectiveBias

The big game is just around the corner and I’m so excited! Though my favorite team didn’t make it very far this year, I am still looking forward to watching the game in a couple weeks. It’s great to spend time with family while cheering the teams on throughout the game.

One fun way to celebrate the big game is to have a football watch party with family and friends. If you are hosting at your house I’m sure you’ve started preparing for it already- from buying the party decorations to cleaning. One area of the home that’s often overlooked when it comes to party planning is the bathroom. You probably clean it but do you do anything else?

This month I chose to do a few simple updates to add a bit of football spirit to our guest bathroom. The first, and most important addition, was making sure that we had enough toilet paper and that it was readily available to guests. The only thing worse than running out of toilet paper while you are a guest in someone’s home is not being able to find another roll after you run out. I like to keep toilet paper readily available so my guests aren’t put in that awkward situation!

I found a great deal on Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong® Mega Rolls and Quilted Northern Ultra Plush® Mega Rolls at my local Target. Not only did I get a $5 Target gift card when I purchased two packs but there is also a Cartwheel offer for 10% off as well. I like the Quilted Northern Mega Rolls because they are 4 regular rolls in one which means they last longer so you can change the roll less often during the big game.

To store the extra toilet paper so it was accessible to my guests, I decorated a basket with ribbon and set it out on the bathroom counter. Your house will be full of people celebrating, and you want to keep your guest space perfect and put together. This basket will help you do that! It was easy to make and I’m including the simple instructions for you to put this DIY decorated basket together in just minutes!

Materials:

  • Basket big enough to fit at least a couple rolls of toilet paper
  • 1 or 2 ribbons in your choice of colors – you can choose your team’s colors, brown and green for a generic football theme, or even add a cute football ribbon if you have one
  • Glue dots or another adhesive that will hold the ribbon on the basket
  • Scissors to cut the ribbon

Directions:

Measure your ribbon to ensure it’s the length it needs to be to go around the top of your basket and then cut the ribbon

Put your glue dots or adhesive along the top of your basket, adding one dot/spot of adhesive about every inch

Carefully wrap your ribbon around the top of your basket, making sure that you are putting it on straight.

If you have two ribbons you will want to wrap your second ribbon around the basket under the top ribbon.

See how easy that was?! You can just add your toilet paper into the basket and you are all set. If you are using Quilted Northern Mega Rolls you may find that the spare toilet paper basket isn’t even touched throughout the party because they are fuller rolls which means less roll changes. Nobody wants their guest to experience a bath tissue run out but you can enjoy the game knowing that you are all stocked up on this essential.

A few other ways to decorate the bathroom include adding in a football themed hand towel, some football themed trinkets, and adding football shaped stickers to things like clear candles and the soap dispenser.

How would you update your bathroom for the big game? However you choose to do it, avoid a MEGA party fumble by stocking up on Quilted Northern Mega Rolls at Target (found in the bath tissue aisles) so there’s less roll changes which gives you more time to enjoy the game!

To find more Quilted Northern inspiration, check out the social hub here.

Fun Giveaway For Parents Of Little Football Fans

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

Football season is almost over so I’m trying to squeeze in as much football love on this blog as I can. Today I have an amazing giveaway for parents or grandparents who want to share their passion for football with the special child in their life.

Little fans will enjoy being pushed around in this Game Day Helmet Ride-In Car from Simplay3, a new company by the founder of both Little Tikes and Step2. This push around buggy is ideal for children ages 9 months to 3 years. It’s made of thick, durable plastic and features a sturdy, removable handle that provides smooth maneuvering and allows for easy storage and transport.

What I like most about this ride-in car is that it can be customized to show your team spirit. Helmets can be ordered in your favorite team colors (black, gray, white, red/orange, blue) and feature a football decal. They can also be customized with team decals from your favorite high school, NCAA college or NFL professional team. Even though my favorite team didn’t make the playoffs, I’m still a huge Chicago Bears fan so my favorite custom combo is the blue helmet with the Bears logo.

Parents and grandparents will feel safe knowing this has a seat belt for their child and kids will have fun pretending to steer their little vehicle with the built in football shaped toy steering wheel. There is even a cup holder to store your child’s drink or snack so they can have it within arms length.

Want to win one of these fun helmets for the little one in your life? Just leave a comment with what helmet color and team customization you’d choose! For an extra entry you can share this giveaway on social media and leave a 2nd comment with your link to the share.

Giveaway ends on Super Bowl Sunday – February 5, 2017- at 11:59pm CST.

Rules: Entries will be counted from January 23, 2017 to Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. The prize is one Game Day Push About Helmet from Simplay3, valued at $79.99 USD. Prize can’t be exchanged for cash value. Entry open to residents of the contiguous United States who are 18 years of age or older as of the start of this giveaway. Winner will be chosen using random.com and will be emailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Prize will be sent to the winner directly from the sponsor of this giveaway. Making Time For Mommy, and the author of this post, are not responsible for any lost or delayed prizes. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

 

 

Concession Stand Themed Football Party

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This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Acorn Influence, Inc. and its advertiser. #ClubTysonFFL

You all know that I love football parties so I’m really excited to share about an easy one I put together recently. This party comes together in about 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish so it’s perfect for those last minute party guests! I decided to go with a red and white colored concession stand theme and serve mostly foods that could be found at a concession stand.

For food, I served hot dogs, chips, chicken wings, popcorn and soft pretzels. I love “heat & eat” foods because they make life easy!

Tyson® Boneless Wyngz and Ball Park® Franks are ready within minutes so they let me spend less time in the kitchen and more time actually watching the football game with my friends and family.

I found both products, along with all the other food, at Sam’s Club so I saved money on everything, too!

To drink I had cola and water. I also made some chocolate covered strawberries for a sweet treat. I used icing to draw white “laces” on the strawberries so they’d look like footballs.

What are your favorite simple football party foods to serve?

20 Gifts For Chicago Cubs Fans

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As a Chicagoan I am so excited that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night! Jacob, my 8 year old, is a big fan of the Cubs so I thought I’d put together some great gift ideas for all those who love the Chicago Cubs. Click on the images for details/pricing. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Chicago Cubs White Sweatshirt

Warm Chicago Cubs Blanket

Chicago Cubs Earrings

Chicago Cubs Garden Flag

Chicago Cubs Subway Art

Chicago Cubs Winter Hat

Chicago Cubs Jacket

Chicago Cubs Pajamas For Kids

Chicago Cubs Santa Ornament

Chicago Cubbies T-Shirt

Chicago Cubs Alex & Ani Bracelet

Chicago Cubs/Skyline Blanket

Chicago Cubs Girl’s Bow

Chicago Cubs Socks

Chicago Cubs Baseball Tee For Girls

Chicago Cubs Sweatpants 

Blue Chicago Cubs Hoodie

Chicago Cubs Hat

Chicago Cubs Thermos

Chicago Cubs Baby Bib

What other gift ideas do you have for Chicago Cubs fans?

Essentials For Swim Lessons In The Fall And Winter

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Speedo USA but all thoughts are my own.

My boys take swim lessons pretty much year round. In the summer they enjoy the lessons outdoors but during the colder months all of the lessons are moved indoors. I’ve discovered that we need to pack a lot more items during the colder months than we do for summer lessons so I wanted to share them with those of you who may be considering fall or winter swim lessons.

Here are things I consider essentials for indoor swim lessons:

EXTRA TOWELS

My boys always bring two towels each for lessons. One towel they use to wrap around themselves when they are sitting on deck waiting for their turns in the water. Though the pool area is warmer than the temperature outside, remember that the hot sun won’t be beating down on them like it does at outdoor lessons. Since this towel will be soaking wet after lessons, the second towel is used to dry themselves before they get changed back into their clothes.

GOGGLES

In the summer months the boys spend so much time at the pool that their eyes tend to adapt to the chlorine water but in the winter my boy’s eyes seem to be more sensitive. I’d suggest getting a good pair of goggles they can wear in the pool. Make sure to label them with your child’s name so if your child takes them off and sets them down they won’t get lost.

SLIP ON SHOES OR BOOTS

You will want shoes or boots that your child can easily put on after lessons. Avoid shoes that need to be tied or are difficult to get on because there is usually not a dry place to sit in the locker room to tie them. (Trust me- we learned this one the hard way after a couple wet butts from sitting on the floor after lessons!)

HAT

Children will have wet hair after they get out of the pool and you can dry it off as best you can but most likely it will still be damp. Keeping a hat on their head will keep them from catching a cold as they head out into the cold weather.

WATER

I know as a parent I tend to not worry about hydration in the winter as much as I do in the summer but it’s so important to make sure we keep our kids drinking water or sports drinks while they are exercising, regardless of what season it is.

COMFORTABLE CLOTHES

The very best clothes to wear to lessons during the colder months are easy, comfortable clothes. After children get out of the pool they just want to get dressed as quick as possible so pants that they can slip on are great. We love Speedo brand because not only do they make great swimwear but they have a variety of athletic apparel as well.

While perusing the Speedo website a couple months ago I picked out a pair of pants and matching jacket for Jacob to wear to swim lessons. I liked them because they were quick drying and wicked away moisture which I thought was perfect since my kids don’t always dry themselves fully before starting to get dressed (and then they wonder why their clothes seem to be sticking to them…ha!).

I also decided to get him a new pair of swim trunks and a coordinating rash guard. The swim trunks are made of material that dries twice as fast as typical shorts. I also like that both the rash guard and swim trunks protects the skin from the sun’s harmful rays which will be great during summer lessons.

What do you consider essentials during the colder months when your children are swimming? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!

Please note: My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

Football Party With A Baked Potato Bar

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AD #Tailgreatness #CollectiveBias

Football season is one of my favorite times of year and it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family. This year I wanted to plan a party with a baked potato bar because I love party foods that let me enjoy the company and the football game instead of being stuck in the kitchen for hours. Along with the baked potato bar I’m sharing three of my favorite loaded baked potato recipes and information about Nexium® 24HR which provides all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so I can enjoy my favorite baked potato toppings (even the spicy ones!) all season long. Of course, my love of themed parties means I have to share all the party decorating details and three easy, but delicious, dessert ideas!

DECOR

Walmart has a plethora of football tableware and decorations and I chose to do some quick DIY projects as well. I made a colorful banner that says “Go Team” using some green paper and letter cutouts which I hung from string using cute little clothespins.

Silverware holders can be created out of mason jars with a piece of ribbon wrapped around the top and football shaped confetti at the bottom of the jar. I also made labels for all of the bowls on the table from little wood place settings by adding a football sticker and writing the names of the food on them. BAKED POTATO BAR

I love a good baked potato with the typical butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon toppings but there are so many other delicious toppings out there, too. I set out a variety of choices that would appeal to a number of diets, from vegetarian to meat lovers.

I also included options for every palate- from mild to spicy. I bought condiment bottles so I could offer a variety of sauces including hot sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.



Speaking of spicy…do you avoid spicy foods because they give you heartburn? I used to avoid a number of heartburn inducing foods, knowing that as soon as I laid down I’d be regretting my dinner choices, but now I don’t have to anymore! Just one pill a day and you can get all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn with Nexium® 24HR* (*Use as directed. *May take 1-4 days for full effect.)

So now that you aren’t worried about heartburn, I wanted to share three of my favorite baked potato topping combos.

Buffalo Chicken Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chicken
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Blue Cheese

Mix your chicken and buffalo sauce together. The more sauce you use the wetter and tangier the potato will be. Once done, cut your potato open and add in the chicken and blue cheese then drizzle with more buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

BBQ Pork Baked Potato Ingredients

  • Baked Potato
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Fried Onions

This baked potato is really easy to make! Slice the baked potato and then put the pulled pork inside. Sprinkle cheese on top and fried onions and then drizzle barbecue sauce on top of your baked potato.

Chili & Cheese Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chili
  • Shredded Cheese (or Cheese Sauce)
  • Corn Chips
  • Green Onions
  • Sour Cream

If your fall go-to meal is chili you’ll love this chili topped baked potato. Just add your favorite chili and top it with shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream and corn chips.

SNACKS, DESSERTS & DRINKS

No party is complete without appetizers and desserts! I found cute popcorn containers that had a football design and put popcorn, corn chips and tortilla chips in them. I also used a football serving dish for the dips and set out salsa, cheese sauce and guacamole.

For dessert I made a few different treats with store bought bakery items. To keep with the football theme I used a football shaped cookie cutter to cut football shapes out of brownies and then I used white icing to draw “laces” on them.

I used the excess brownie pieces to make trifles by layering brownies, chocolate pudding and whipped cream in cups and then topping them with green hard candy sprinkles. Since my kids love cupcakes I got some of those and put them in football cupcake wrappers and added brown and green chocolate candies to the top of them.

To drink I offered two options- water and root beer. I tied a festive straw on to the bottles with football themed ribbon.

So now that you are prepared for a football party with decorations and food, don’t forget to take Nexium® 24HR daily for all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so you can enjoy the party and all the football fun!

Nexium® 24HR is the #1 Choice of Doctors and Pharmacists* for their own frequent heartburn. (*Among PCPs and Pharmacists who use a branded OTC PPI) You can find 42 count packages of tablets or capsules at your local Walmart store by the other over the counter medications. Each box has 3 smaller bottles inside with 14 days worth of capsules/tablets.

What foods would you serve at your football party? Whatever you choose, don’t get sidelined by frequent heartburn! Make sure to get ready for tailgreatness and take your Nexium® 24HR daily to ensure you can enjoy all of your favorite party foods.

*May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Use as directed.

Football Decorations Kids Can Help Make

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Thanks to Tampico for sponsoring our afternoon of crafting decorations for football season!

I absolutely love football season. Whether it’s tossing the ball around with my kids, watching Jacob on the field or sitting around the tv on Sunday afternoons cheering for my favorite team from Chicago, it’s a wonderful time of year. Jacob and I did some crafting to get ready for football season and I thought I’d share some of the decorations we made for the house.

The first thing we did was decorate some snack bowls with football themed stickers. We did this to prepare for our various football parties we are going to have this year and because snacks are always better from fun bowls!

Of course we had to have a snack while we were crafting! Popcorn and Mango Punch Tampico were a great combo!

After our snack we decorated some picture frames. Since Jacob plays football we will use these to display pictures of him on the fridge.

For this craft all you need are some colorful cardboard frames and foam stickers.

Once you decorate the frames with the stickers you can add a magnet on the back so that you can hang your picture frame on the fridge. You can then put a picture underneath the frame- either one of your child in their sports uniform or one of your family at your favorite team’s game.

I decided to make a frame as well and decorate it with some scrapbook stickers. I made Jacob one that said “Football MVP”! I love spending quality time with my kids while we craft.

The last thing we made was a paper chain garland. I found some sparkly glitter paper garland pieces that were pre-cut into strips but you can easily cut strips of paper to make some. On the brown colored paper just use a white crayon to draw on some football “laces”. You’ll then use tape to form loops and make a chain.

Once your chain is complete you can hang it anywhere you’d like! We are going to hang our chain garland from our mantle under the television. It’s the perfect decoration because it mixes colors of Autumn with our love of football.

What crafts does your family make together to celebrate your favorite sports season? When you are at the store buying your supplies for your crafts make sure to pick up Tampico juice drink for your family to enjoy while you are creating memories together!

Boy’s Sporty Looks {For Less!}

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Thanks to Marshalls for sending me a gift card to do some back-to-school shopping.

When shorts weather came around a few months ago, Jacob began to ask if he could wear basketball shorts as opposed to the jean shorts and plaid shorts he normally wore. Almost every day this summer he wore athletic shorts with his camp shirt or another t-shirt. He loved how comfy they were and that he didn’t have to change in the afternoons for sports practices.

While shopping for back-to-school clothes, I decided to head to Marshalls to find him some more seasonal appropriate athletic wear now that the cooler weather was coming. Though he will probably wear jeans to school most days, I wanted to find some athletic looks that were nice enough for school and that he could easily wear to baseball or basketball practice.

I found some great pants, hoodies, light jackets, t-shirts and even gym shoes. I loved that the athletic brands were all available at a significant discount at Marshalls.

Don’t forget to look for a little something special for yourself, too, moms! I got myself a cute sweater and a pair of gym shoes :)

Tips To Prepare For Your Child’s Fall Sports Season

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Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Back to School #GoBackHealthy campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

The end of August means back-to-school season and also the beginning of the fall sports season! The boys start school Thursday and Jacob just had his first football game this afternoon. If you have a child playing sports this fall, read on for tips on how to prepare for the season!

First, find a sport that fits your child. I wrote about this recently when I shared about enrolling Lucas in gymnastics. It took us a while to find a sport he enjoyed, and we had to try numerous other ones that weren’t a good fit, before he discovered his love of gymnastics.

Once you find a sport (or sports) your child wants to try, it’s important that they get a sports physical to make sure they are healthy enough to do the activity. Many fall sports, including football and soccer, are extremely physically demanding and it’s essential that they are given the okay to participate by a doctor. Even if your state or school doesn’t require it, sports physicals are still good to do because they also help to keep immunizations up to date and provide an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have. (Remember though that the sports physical doesn’t replace a child’s annual wellness physical with their doctor.) MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS pharmacy and Target stores, offers sports physicals every day with no appointment needed for patients 18 months and older. They can even stamp any paperwork your school or league may require.

After getting the okay to participate it’s time to get everything your child needs to participate in the sport. Most leagues should have a list of what you need to purchase and what they will provide. If you have questions about things you can search online or ask your mom friends who have been there, done that! I remember when Jacob first started sports, I had to google the difference between baseball cleats and football cleats because I had no clue which ones were the right ones I needed to buy.

Along with the sports equipment there are a variety of other things you’ll want to keep in your car during sports season. Things like blankets (it gets cold out there in the evenings) and extra equipment (Jake’s football mouth guard always seem to go missing at least once a season) are important to have on hand. You’ll also want to pack snacks and provide plenty of fluid for your child so they stay hydrated.

What tips do you have for preparing for fall sports season? If you need to get your child a sports physical they are currently offering $10 off at MinuteClinic. Their walk-in-clinic is ideal for busy moms because you can get in and out quickly any day that is convenient for you.

While you are there you can also get a variety of other services including your child’s back-to-school vaccinations and acne treatment. Vaccinations for Meningitis, Pertussis and HPV are available. MinuteClinic practitioners will review information about the vaccine, administer it and then provide you with a summary, receipt of vaccination and educational materials. They’ll even send a summary of the visit to your child’s primary care provider if you would like them to. MinuteClinic also offers acne treatment which is perfect for tweens and teens who want to head back to school with clearer skin. They offer personalized consultations and treatment recommendations for all ages, whether a prescription is needed or you are just looking for which over-the-counter medication will clear the acne. When it comes to starting the school year and fall sports season off healthy, MinuteClinic is the place to go!

 

Powering The Dreams Of My Little Gymnast

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This is a sponsored post through SheSpeaks for P&G.

About a year ago, Lucas told me that he wanted to try gymnastics. Since we had tried a few different sports that just weren’t the right fit for his special needs, I was excited that he wanted to do gymnastics and enrolled him in our park district’s gymnastics class. The park district provides an inclusion aide for him so he can participate in any programs they offer which lets him try different sports and activities he chooses. The first day he walked into the huge room with all that equipment and space to move I have to admit that I was anxious to see how it would go. My son amazed me though. I was proud to see how well he focused and participated in the different skills they were practicing. Turns out he has found his sport and he loves it!

His favorite things to do in gymnastics are the high beam and the bars. Always a bit of a daredevil, this does not surprise me! Watching him walk across the balance beam earlier this week I noticed that with every lesson he gets stronger and more confident in his abilities. It’s so great to see him working hard at something he loves.

Sometimes he gets upset when he is struggling to learn a skill, like a cartwheel, but I encourage him to keep practicing and not get upset when he can’t do something. We’ve enjoyed watching The Olympic Games this past week and I have used them to remind him that all of the athletes he sees have practiced for years to get where they are. Gymnasts like Gabby Douglas and the rest of the USA women’s gymnastics team are amazing and Lucas dreams of being able to do all those skills some day!

I’m proud to partner with P&G because they are powering the dreams of athletes everywhere by supporting Team USA. From paper towels to shampoos to razors, P&G makes a variety of items my family uses on a daily basis and all can be found at Walmart for an everyday low price. I love their Venus line of razors, including the Venus® Swirl Razor because it helps capture what other razors may miss. Designed with FLEXIBALL™, a water-activated MoistureGlide™ serum, and five individually adjusting Contour™ blades, it leaves me with flawless skin, long-lasting smoothness, and virtually no missed hairs.

 

10 Sports Essentials For Parents

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Throughout ten months of the year most of my evenings and weekends are spent cheering on my kids at their various sports- from the baseball diamond to the football stands to the soccer fields to the basketball court, and even at karate, swimming and gymnastics. If there’s one thing I have learned as a sports mom it’s that I need to be prepared for anything. Spring sports are wrapping up for us but Fall sports season will be here before you know it so I wanted to share this list of sports essentials with you so that you have it as you shop for back to school items this summer. Thanks to BODYARMOR for sponsoring this post.

Below you will find the list of items that I feel are essential for sports parents to have. I normally keep most of these items in the back of my van during sports season because you never know what you will need. It’s also helpful to keep most of the items in there so you don’t forget anything important as you run out the door to practice or games. If you buy a small basket or bin to keep all this in it’s easy to find what you need when you need it and to take out if you have to.

Items needed for both indoor and outdoor sports:

Uniform & Gear – Check your child’s league to see what is recommended when it comes to clothing, shoes and gear. Different sports have different cleats, there are different size soccer balls for different ages, some baseball teams require a face mask and some do not, etc. Also, each sport differs in what is provided. Some may provide the whole uniform while others may provide the jersey but you have to buy the pants. It’s always best to check out your leagues website and talk to the coaches before you go shopping.

Snacks - Snacks for both the player and the family are something you are going to want to pack, especially if you have younger children that will be sitting with you. Most of the time the player will just eat something at the end of the practice or game but the family may get hungry while they are sitting there. I typically bring a variety of snacks, including pretzels and animal crackers, in small ziploc bags.

Extra Equipment – It’s always handy to have extra equipment on hand. One thing I’ve found we’ve had to replace mid-game or practice are mouthguards for football. Other things to keep an extra of include baseball mitts, goggles for swimming and shin guards for soccer.

Sports Drinks – Replenishing sports drinks for your player are essential, especially on warm days. I like to bring at least one bottled drink per hour my kids are playing sports and two drinks for every hour if they are playing outside in hot weather.

One sports drink we recently started having Jacob drink during games is BODYARMOR, a premium sports drink with more potassium packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins. It has natural flavors, natural sweeteners and no artificial colors, unlike traditional sports drinks. It’s a great choice for young athletes especially, who don’t need all the extra sodium in their diets or the artificial ingredients that come from drinking other sports drinks on the market. BODYARMOR can be found in a number or retailers including Jewel, Meijer and Target here in the Chicago area (find a coupon here) and comes in 8-great tasting flavors: fruit punch, orange mango, strawberry banana, tropical punch, lemon lime, mixed berry, grape and blackout berry. Jacob’s favorite flavor is blackout berry.

First Aid Kit – Cuts and scrapes are bound to happen on the sports field so it’s always handy to keep a first aid kit on hand. Stock it with bandages, gauze, medical tape, antibiotic ointment, cold packs and tweezers.

Items needed for only outdoor sports:

Sun Protection - If you will be outside in the sun for any amount of time don’t forget the sunscreen. You’ll want to put it on your player (and yourself) before the game or practice starts and then reapply it as needed. For parents, an umbrella or pop up tent you can sit under can also keep you out of the sun and cooler on hot days. We bought a small pop up tent from the store that our younger child could sit under during games to keep him in the shade.

Extra Layers - I’ve learned from experience that it’s always important to carry extra clothes in the car because the temperature can change quickly as the day goes on. Numerous times it’s been warm and sunny and everyone was wearing shorts and then by the end of the game everyone had coats on and were trying to stay warm. I like to have a long sleeve undershirt for the player along with sweatshirts and coats for everyone in the back of my van just in case we need them.

Blankets – Blankets are helpful to have to keep warm on colder days but also can be used as a ground cover which is especially helpful when the ground is wet or muddy. I’d suggest bringing two blankets and making sure one of them has one side that’s weatherproof so if you put it on the ground the moisture won’t soak through.

Cooler – On warm days you’ll want to store your player’s drinks (and your’s too!) in a cooler to keep the drinks cold.

Chair – Whether it’s a camping chair or a folding chair you’ll want to have a chair to sit in. Don’t count on there being bleachers everywhere you go because some fields might not have any and you don’t want to have to stand for hours.

I hope this list helps you prepare for and enjoy your child’s sports season! What would you add to my list?

Swim Lessons At British Swim School

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Did you know that the number one cause of death for children five years old and younger is drowning? Children with Autism are even more likely to drown, a chilling fact that I’m well aware of as a mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum. I’ve done everything I can to protect my kids and help them learn to swim, enrolling them in numerous swim lessons since they were young. My boys have taken swim lessons at swim schools, at our gym’s pool, through a couple different park districts and at our local high school. When British Swim School asked me if I’d like to try swim lessons there I jumped at the chance to test them out. They are providing complimentary lessons for my children in exchange for me sharing my honest opinion about their swim school.

Last month they started taking the lessons at British Swim School. This swim school has franchise locations across the United States, with a number of locations right here in the Chicago area. They use pools at gyms and other facilities which helps keep the costs lower for parents. Classes are offered for babies as young as 3 months through adults, all separated by age and skill. Instructors work on everything from helping children feel comfortable in the water to water survival skills like floating to different swim strokes.

We are loving our lessons at British Swim School so far and I’ve seen both boys’ skills improve in just four sessions. Their instructor does a great job of keeping the attention of my boys and is very patient with them. I love that he works on skills with them that have been glossed over during their lessons at other places. Things like making sure Jake’s arms brush his ears so he gets the full power of the stroke while he is swimming freestyle and making sure Luke’s pushing his tummy towards the ceiling when he’s working on his float.

My boys are excited to go to swim lessons which means that they enjoy it as much as I like watching them. They love the last five minutes of lessons because it’s “play” time. While they just see it as fun, they are really still learning skills like treading water and holding their breath as they go under to retrieve a toy from the bottom of the pool.

Here’s a video showing some of Luke’s progress. Lucas couldn’t swim on his own at all before we started the lessons and now he can swim to the edge of the pool which is great progress.

Want to enroll your children in swim lessons at British Swim School? There are around 25 locations in the Chicago area including Alsip, Schaumburg, Matteson, Lincoln Park, Tinley Park, Waukegan and the Loop. Find the location closest to you and learn more here.

WIN FREE LESSONS!

I’m offering two readers a month of free group lessons!

Valid at the following Illinois locations: Tinley Park, Alsip, Matteson, Waukegan and Round Lake Beach

TO ENTER:

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

For an extra entry, share about this giveaway on social media and share the link in a second comment below.

Giveaway ends June 15, 2016 at 11:59pm CST.

Free To Play Without Worries

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #allfreeclear #CollectiveBias

With two boys I always have tons of laundry but during Spring and Summer they seem to make double or even triple the normal amount of dirty clothes. Last week started baseball and soccer season which means we are outdoors almost every day of the week now and I’m noticing the pile start to grow already. Between sweaty clothes and sports uniforms they go through multiple outfits a day. On days they have swim lessons add some wet clothes, bathing suits and more towels. Muddy practice fields? More dirty clothes. I already feel behind on laundry constantly (that’s motherhood right?) so if this pile gets much larger I may not be able to find my kids anymore lol.

With lots of laundry I’m sure you all can imagine that the last thing I want is to have to wash the laundry a few times just to get the mud and grass stains out. Honestly, I used to stress out every time it was muddy because I didn’t want to worry about having to get tough stains out of their pants. As much as I wanted to be the carefree mom encouraging the boys to slide to home base, go after the soccer ball with all their might, or make that tackle in football, I couldn’t stop thinking about how dirty they would be after practice or a game. Their baseball pant stains are the worst because they are light gray and hard to keep clean. (Obviously a mom did not make that selection!)

Not only did I worry about their clothes on the field but I learned I needed to relax a bit when they were crawling around in the grass, too. There is not a day Lucas comes home from school with clean jeans. His pants always have dirt or grass stains on the knees.

It’s okay though because I discovered a secret product that fights tough stains for me- all® free clear detergent! I know that my laundry detergent delivers a powerful clean and will make their clothes look as good as new once washed. So I let my boys wrestle in the grass and play in the muddy fields because they are only young once. These times of mom letting them enjoy messy play will be special memories they will carry with them to adulthood and hopefully a tradition they will carry on with their own kids.

Is it time for you to let your kids be kids? If you still have reservations I understand but let me help ease your worries…. First, head to the store and stock up on some good detergent. I like all® free clear detergent because it is the #1 recommended brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic and clinically proven to be gentle on skin which is important to me because Lucas especially develops skin rashes really easily. I’d suggest going to Sam’s Club and getting the bulk container of all® free clear Mighty Pacs® because you are going to want enough to last all season long! I follow the directions on the label and use one pack for normal washes and two packs for heavily soiled washes (you’ll want to make sure you don’t use too much in a load).

Once you have your detergent give it a try and take your kids outside for an afternoon. Every time you want to yell “watch that puddle!” or “stay out of the mud!” just take a deep breathe and take a photo of the fun your kids are having. Better yet? Join them! You’ll be so busy having fun that the laundry will be the last thing on your mind!

So will you join me in letting go of the stress and embracing the freedom to be the mother you always dreamed of becoming? The one that lets kids get messy and have fun without worrying about the dirty clothes pile? I hope so! To further inspire you I encourage you to read stories from other parents here.

Encourage Your Child’s Love Of Soccer Through Camp This Summer

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

Do you have a little one who loves soccer? If so, enroll them in soccer camp this Summer! British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America with 150,000 campers!

With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international experts right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Jacob loved this camp last Summer and he had a lot of fun playing with other kids in our community. I noticed that his skills really developed over the course of the week. It was the perfect start to his Fall soccer season.

Enroll you child in a British Soccer Camp today and get a FREE Water Bottle with code: USFG16 .

Fueling Up On Game Day

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

We made it through another busy football Sunday. We raced out the door this morning at eight, went through the drive thu for some caffeine, and got Jake to his pre-game practice just on time. By the time the game was starting Lucas had found a friend to play with and we had great seats on the sidelines.

Not more than half way through Jacob’s game and Lucas was already hungry. We gave him a choice of apple slices or pretzels to dip in peanut butter and he chose pretzels first but then changed his mind and picked apples- well really, just the center of the apple slices, and then proceeded to hand peanut butter coated leftovers to me.

Once his tummy was full he was back to his game of tag with his friend and Jake’s game was in the final minutes so my focus was back on him. I like watching him play and seeing how much his skills have grown over the past couple years.

Once the game was over we let the kids play on the playground for a few minutes while I got lunch out of the car. The kids had Uncrustables® Sandwiches, Smucker’s® Fruit-Fulls® Blended Fruit, cheese crackers and juice boxes which I bought from Walmart, our “SNACKATION” destination. Everything was easy to grab on our way out the door and eat on the go. The Uncrustables® were frozen when I put them in the bag but by the time lunch rolled around they were ready to eat which was great and the peanut butter gave them the energy they needed.

Within ten minutes we were back in the car and headed to Luke’s game which was at a field across town. I really love it when they are on the same field but that’s not usually the case. After we got there and unloaded the car again I was ready for a nap but it was time for more football.

This is Luke’s first year playing football and our experience at his games are a lot different. There is a lot more confusion on the field and it’s pretty entertaining. Some of the kids even run the wrong direction (Lucas included). While watching Lucas play, I had to also keep an eye on Jacob who stayed busy playing catch with some of the older kids.

At the end of Luke’s game both were exhausted from running around and it was time to eat again. At this time I was very happy I stocked up on their favorites at Walmart because these boys eat a lot. (And yes, I know they are just going to eat even more as they continue to grow!) Once they were fueled up with Smucker’s® snacks they were ready to go conquer the rest of the day.

 

Worry Free Outdoor Fun

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This is a product-sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound & Skin Cleanser. The opinions and text are all mine.

Today the temperature outside reached 64 in our Chicago suburb. This is very exciting for everyone, especially for active families that will be thrilled to go hiking and biking and play sports outside in the fresh air. For my family this means it is time for baseball, soccer and the playground. This also means it will be a time full of scrapes, cuts and bug bites. As a parent I know this is unavoidable and I hate to see my boys suffer.

To be truly prepared we always have a bag of a few essentials in our vehicles that can help in an emergency. Some of the best things to have in an emergency kit are an instant ice compress, bandages and band aids, extra mouth guards (for football), snacks and Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™

To keep your team from getting sidelined new Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound and Skin Cleanser, the easy first step in first aid that gently and effectively cleans and hydrates minor wounds, wants you to enter the Play to Win with #TeamPuracynPlus Giveaway for the chance to win a  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Emergency Kit, including a $50 gift card to a sporting goods store of your choice and  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ product. One winner announced each Friday on March 13, 20, and 27. #TeamPuarcynPlus (3 winners total).  It will be the best way to kick start the outdoors activities season.

My kids both play soccer and baseball during which they both get scrapes and usually the scrapes are messy from the field. The easy to use, hands free spray application of  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ thoroughly cleans minor cuts and wounds, eliminating the need for running water in the critical first moments of cleaning a wound.

I also like Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ because it is doctor tested and recommended for quick wound treatments and is free of alcohol and steroids. It is so safe that it will not bother them even if it accidentally gets in their eyes or ears. A 4oz bottle can be purchased at Rite Aid and Walgreens for $14.00. It is convenient to carry in your car kit so you will always have  Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ in stock for when you really need it.

To learn more about the brand visit www.puracynplus.com and follow the brand on facebook (facebook.com/puracyn) and Pinterest. Another product they have is the Puracyn Plus Foot Wash and Skin Cleanser, a highly effective cleansing solution for healthier feet and wound care. If you or a loved one have diabetes Puracyn Plus Foot wash is essential to help make foot care part of your daily health routine and self care.

We are ready for the warm weather and the outdoors and especially the fun that comes with it. Thanks to Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™  we will be ready for anything that comes our way. So join in the fun and discover fearless life with Puracyn.

To learn more about the Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ , LIKE the brand on Facebook and follow the brand on Pinterest.

This is a product-sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Puracyn® Plus Duo-Care™ Wound & Skin Cleanser. The opinions and text are all mine.


Free Kid’s Clubs For Chicago Sports Fans

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Have a child who loves sports? I’ve rounded up all of the FREE kid’s clubs for Chicago teams. Most of these teams also have kid’s clubs with membership fees that offer more options. Know of another free one? Leave it in the comments below!

Chicago Bears: http://www.chicagobears.com/kid-zone/kids-club.html

  • Membership card
  • Welcome letter and Staley autograph card
  • Periodic newsletters and contests throughout the year
  • Invitations to Kids Club events
  • Pro Shop discount
  • Birthday postcard

Chicago White Sox: http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/fan_forum/kidsclub_index.jsp

  • Pack of White Sox Baseball Player Cards
  • Two (2) Upper Level game tickets (to be redeemed online with a promotional code)
  • Membership certificate
  • Two (2) Digital Newsletters
  • Other special ticket and merchandise discounts

Chicago Wolves: http://chicagowolves.com/fans-den/gameday/skates-mates-kids-club

  • One (1) free ticket to one (1) home game
  • Autographed photo of Skates
  • Autographed photo of a player
  • Birthday E-Card from Skates
  • Wolves games & prizes
  • Discounts on Wolves merchandise

Chicago Fire: http://www.chicago-fire.com/club/jsc

  • Membership Card
  • Welcome Gift
  • Special Ticket Offers
  • Monthly E-Newsletter
  • Access to Exclusive Contests
  • Invite to exclusive player autograph session

Time To Start Thinking About Summer Camps

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

There is still snow on the ground but I’m already starting to plan for Spring and Summer. I just signed Jake up for baseball and soccer and tomorrow I go to register both boys for summer camp. Since moving recently, I have been looking into all the local sports related activities I can find and came across a fun summer camp that I think both boys will enjoy.

British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

As a bonus, if you enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp today you will receive a Free British Soccer Jersey. PLUS – enter code FMG15 and you will get a bonus Challenger water bottle! Register here.

Papa John’s #UpYourDance Challenge

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

What’s better than football and pizza?! How about a chance to win tickets to the big game or free Papa John’s pizza? To enter to win one of the amazing prizes Papa John’s is giving away, they are asking folks to show how they’d celebrate if their team scored points.

It’s easy to enter. All entrants have to do is follow @papajohns on Twitter or Instagram, upload their short video on Vine, Twitter or Instagram, and tag it #UpYourDance and #contest to enter to win!

Need some inspiration (or just want to laugh today)? Check out the video gallery of some of the submissions we’ve had so far for inspiration: http://bit.ly/UpYourDance2. I am loving the kids dancing and the one who does the slow dance with the ball.

Of course don’t forget to get some Papa John’s pizza while you are watching football games this season. It’s so delicious! I recommend the chocolate chip cookie pizza dessert as well. Yum!

Tailgating With McDonald’s

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(Disclosure: My tailgating party was sponsored by McDonald’s, an official sponsor of the NFL.)

I am so happy that football is back! There is little I enjoy more than spending time with family while watching the Bears (and now my oldest son!) play. It’s a Fall ritual!

Last weekend both my son and my nephew had football games on Sunday morning so we were getting together with family after their games. Twelve o’clock kickoff times aren’t the easiest to get ready for because being gone in the morning, for Church or youth football, means a rush to get some food ready once we get home.

We got to my mom’s house right before the Bears kicked off. Instead of cooking, we tried something new last week and picked up McDonald’s. This way everyone could get what they wanted and it was as simple as running to McDonald’s and picking it up. No cooking involved!

One thing I did add to the list of everyone’s food order was a box of cookies. Did you know that McDonald’s sold their delicious chocolate chip cookies by the box!? I didn’t! I regret only buying one box because, with a group, 2 or 3 boxes (at least!) is a must.

I kept the decorations simple. Just a football tablecloth, a few hanging decorations and a cute centerpiece that held the cookies was all we needed. We had football napkins as well, but no dirty plates or cups to wash. It was a really easy get-together to plan for and both setup and cleanup were easy-peasy.

Since not all of the kids were interested in the football game we made sure to have plenty to keep them busy. Along with playing with some toys upstairs, they played a couple games and spent some time crafting (more on that coming soon!).

They also loved playing with their football figures and Littlest Pet Shop animals that came in their Happy Meals. Overall, it was a great afternoon of football, food and fun.

We can’t wait for the next Bears game and will definitely be tailgating with McDonald’s again!

Want to join in on the fun? Learn about the ways you can earn weekly prizes and enter for a chance to win the ULTIMATE tailgate at mcdtailgate.com.

Earn Money For Your Child’s Team With PearUp

Ritz Bits

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

One of my favorite ways to spend Saturdays in the warmer months is to watch my boys play soccer. They’ve played through our local park district, on a private league and are starting weekly indoor soccer classes next week. They love the game, especially when they get to score a goal. They also love the sidelines when they can cheer for their teammates and chat non-stop.

As much as I love my kids playing sports, I don’t like the fundraising that typically comes along with it. For one of Jacob’s teams I had to sell 90 candy bars. Since I hate asking people for money they are all sitting in my fridge still (other than the five or so that I’ve already eaten). That’s $90 worth of money going out of my pocket and chocolate going on my hips.

Are you like me and wish there was an easier way to raise money for your team or group without having to pester your friends and family? Well, there is! PearUp makes sponsorship easy for groups and events looking for support and it is FREE. Here is how PearUp works:

Seeing that kids, like my boys, get a lot out of playing soccer on a team, Ritz Bits wants to help keep leagues going by hosting a “Snack for Your Champion” program using PearUp. Ritz Bits is offering $1000 to teams in exchange for parents completing some online activities. That $1,000 can be used toward team apparel or can simply be a donation to the soccer team for team/league fees. What a great way to reduce costs so more children can play!

Want to see how easy it is? You can support my team or create your own to raise money for apparel or league fees.

Four Benefits Of Team Sports

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(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.)

One of my favorite places to be is on the sidelines cheering for my boys as they play sports. This summer Jacob was in baseball and both Jacob and Lucas were in soccer. Fall brings Jacob’s first football season.

Sports offer many benefits including teamwork, responsibility, exercise and friendship. I hope that the boys continue playing sports for years to come. All of the great things that come from playing sports will become even more important as they head into elementary school and then into the teenage years.

Since sports are not a solo activity, one of the main things the boys learn from being on a team is team work and how to get along with others. They can probably kick a ball down the field and score a goal themselves but it’s much more meaningful when they can share the win with a friend. On the baseball field, one person can’t cover all of the bases themselves, they have to throw the ball to a teammate.

Another thing that the boys learn while playing sports is responsibility. They have to practice to get better and they have to make sure they are at practices and games. This is mostly the parents’ job right now but as the boys get older they will have to become more disciplined in making sure that they practice and arrive places on time so they don’t let their teammates down.

Sports are a fun way to get exercise. Running is not something either of my boys enjoy doing but they have to do it when they play sports and then they don’t mind because it’s made to be fun. Running the bases while people in the stands cheer, running down the field after a player who has the soccer ball or running, football under the arm, gives the activity a purpose. As kids get older they tend to become more sedentary in front of video games and tv so it’s good that by their teen years they will already be used to regular exercise.

Best of all, friendships develop while playing team sports. All those hours spent practicing and on the sidelines help the boys develop bonds with other kids. With delayed language and being on the Autism Spectrum, Lucas has not always formed friendships easily as he tends to sometimes be in his own world. This past season of soccer though, I really saw him come out of his shell talking with the kids on his team and laughing with them. This is the greatest thing that has come out of sports and I hope that as they get older they will continue to make new friends through the different teams they’re on.

What benefits have you seen from your children playing sports? If you want more ideas of how to keep children active from childhood to their teen years visit Let’s Play.com. You can also find Let’s Play on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

7 Ideas For An Active Spring Break Staycation

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Spring break starts today for my kids. One and a half weeks of time off from school. We were thinking about going away for a weekend but decided to skip it and save the money. Should be an interesting time as I work full-time from home along with running this blog. The boys will probably spend plenty of time in front of the tv but I wanted to share some ideas for getting kids (and their parents!) up and off the couch as well. The following is a guest post from Shana Schneider, fitness expert and founder of FITWEEK, a fitness company dedicated to helping women “turn their week into a fit week.”

Play old school games. Remember things like red light/green light, Simon says, duck-duck-goose, musical chairs, or freeze tag? These are lots of fun, and free! Or, for older kids, go to an arcade. See who has the skills for Pac Man or Skee Ball.

Head to the park. Find a list of all the parks in your city and make a plan to visit as many as you can during the break. As part of the fun, pack a picnic. This way, your kids can still run around outside and you’ll all be ready for a nap afterwards. Check out the playgrounds or the trails, and then when home, place stickers on a map of your city identifying each parks and playgrounds you have visited.

Watch a movie marathon. The key here is to make fitness part of the viewing. Here’s how it could work – assign a character to each family member; that person has to get up and sit down, or do some exercise each time the assigned character comes on the screen. It’s pretty funny to see people randomly get up and down throughout the movie. There’ll be some giggles involved, which can get your abs working, too!

Visit a museum. They usually run walking tours and will often have activities for kids. If you’re in the Connecticut area, check out the children’s museums, which are interactive fun for the whole family. And no one has to worry about not touching the exhibits.

Cook in the kitchen, and use that elbow grease. Do something out of the ordinary like making bread or pizza dough from scratch. When getting those ingredients together, remember no electric mixers allowed.

Learn a new sport or activity. Try yoga for the first time together, or take a dance class. If someone in the family is an expert at a particular sport have them teach the others how to play it.

Host an active video game tournament. If you have a video game console, set up your own family tournament and compete in a different sport each day. Need more people involved? Invite the neighbors or other friends over to join you. Choose from – golfing, tennis, boxing, snowboarding, dancing and the list goes on. You can even divide up the groups so you have adults play one game and kids another. The point is you want to pick games that get everyone moving!

 

Our Big Game Celebration With Gold Emblem Snacks

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Football and food are two of my favorite things so when CVS/pharmacy contacted me about sponsoring my next football party I was so excited. Even though my favorite team didn’t make it all the way I was still looking forward to the big game last weekend.

CVS/pharmacy sent me an assortment of products from their exclusive Gold Emblem collection including a variety of nuts and other snacks, cookies, and juices. The morning of the party I went shopping to get the rest of the food, tableware and the decorations. Since I was short on time I decided to keep everything simple and I think everything turned out pretty good.

I am a huge fan of “themed” parties so everything except for a few bowls was football themed. I even had a special centerpiece- a signed Walter Payton football {thanks to my brother for letting me borrow it}!

Check out my little helpers above! We had to represent and wear our Bears football gear! I didn’t really have a favorite team to win until I heard Derrick Coleman’s inspiring story {about being deaf} the week before the game and then started rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to win.

I used little snack cups to display all of the nuts, the trail mix, the popcorn, and the pretzels that CVS/pharmacy had sent me. These snacks were a huge hit with the kids, especially my niece.

Cheese and cracker trays are popular at parties. I decided to try a new type of cheese with white cheddar and chipotle peppers and it was really good.

Spinach dip is healthy because it has spinach in it right? ;) We love to eat ours’ with Hawaiian bread.

We had chips and dip and tortilla chips and dip. I love the taco dip my mom made. It’s a layered dip but she makes it without the refried beans. {Thankfully there was a whole dish full of it on the counter…otherwise what you see in the picture above would have been all mine.}

After eating appetizers the kids played games with their Nana and my sister in law. I was busy watching the game and being disappointed in the commercials. For dinner we had pizza and chicken wings.

 After dinner it was dessert time! There were cupcakes and two types of Gold Emblem branded cookies. After more football it was time to say goodbye and my guests received goodie bags from CVS/Pharmacy.

We had such a fun time and I enjoyed tasting all of the delicious Gold Emblem snacks. My favorites are the Natural Pistachios, Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels and the Cranberry Nut Trail Mix. The line has over 250 products so there is something for everyone, from savory to sweet.

What foods do you like to have at your sports parties?

Celebrating The Winter Games With Preschoolers

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The Winter Games are almost here and I’m excited to share some movie selections and a fun craft for preschoolers courtesy of Netflix (disclosure: I am a member of their blogger “Stream Team”).

This will be the first year that my boys will watch some of the games and I am excited for the occasion. I remember following the Olympics when I was younger and enjoyed watching with my family so it’s a tradition I want to keep. I thought this article from Common Sense Media had some great talking points to consider when watching the games with children.

The article above says that watching sports “can be a great chance to point out how everyone’s contribution is key to a team’s success.” For younger kids it’s as simple as pointing out how the “athletes show their support for each other and also how they handle winning and losing.”  All five of these movies I’m sharing about today help encourage conversations about inspiration and teamwork. My boys love Bob the Builder so I’m really excited to cuddle with them on the couch and watch Bob the Builder: The Bobblesberg Winter Games before watching some skiing and ice skating with them.

How about a craft, too? I love these Sportsmanship Metals! Find the directions here.

6 Football Themed Crafts For Kids

football crafts

I’m excited to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday! Jacob is head over heels in love with football lately so I looked online for some fun craft ideas. Here are some of my favorites (click the links or images for all the details and instructions):

Pennant from Crayola

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Paper Bag Football from No Time For Flashcards

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Football Helmet Printable from Craft Jr

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Paper Football and Field Goal from SheKnows

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Football Footprint from A Teacher At Heart

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Football Snack Bowl from Simply Sprout

Find more football ideas on my Football Party Pinterest board.

Zume Games: Gift Ideas For Outdoor Fun

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(Disclosure: I received a game from Zume Games and can’t wait to play it this spring!)

Do you have someone in your life who loves the outdoors? I have some great gift ideas for them! Escalade Sports, a national leader in recreational sporting goods, has a line of outdoor games called Zume Games that put an innovative twist on traditional outdoor games. Zume Games are portable, easy to play, durable and designed for safe play. 

Zume Games’ must-haves include TENNIZ™, DIZK™, and TOZZ™. Here is some more about these fun games:

TENNIZ™

The instant tennis match you can play almost anywhere. TENNIZ is ideal for building skills and having fun. Perfect for kids and beginners or family recreational play, TENNIZ is lightweight, portable and features ultra-quick setup. TENNIZ comes complete with two 21-inch rackets, 2 TENNIZ balls, 12-foot net and convenient carrying case.  TENNIZ is suitable for ages 8+ and is available for purchase online at Amazon.com and Zume-Games.com. SRP: $79.99.

DIZK™

DIZK is a super-tough, soft-touch, great-grip flying disc featuring a unique design to help it fly, float and flex like no other. Its center hole creates more ways to catch and its versatility makes it great for perfecting those flying disk tricks. DIZK is suitable for ages 6+ and is available for purchase at Sports Authority, MC Sports, Sports Chalet and online at Amazon.com and Zume-Games.com. SRP: $14.99.

TOZZ™

TOZZ is a soft-touch, great-grip football that was made to grip it and rip it, allowing you to get more out of your arm. Its center aerodynamic air tunnel helps create an amazing spiral on every throw. TOZZ’s easy to launch, easy to catch design is suitable for ages 6+ and is available for purchase at Sports Authority, MC Sports, Sports Chalet and online at Amazon.com and Zume-Games.com. SRP: $17.99.

Don’t those all sound like so much fun!?

NCAA Fun At Target {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This is a compensated post but thoughts are my own.)

I talk about the Chicago Bears all the time but did you all know that I enjoy college ball, too? I live in Illinois but when I watch NCAA football or basketball the team I’m cheering for is from Ohio. Why? I went to college in Ohio! My school didn’t have a team in the NCAA since it was a small liberal arts school so the college team I adopted as “my” college team was Ohio State University {OSU}.

To make this sports season even more exciting, Target has teamed up with Dove Men+Care™, AXE®, Degree™ Men and the NCAA to create the “Save Your Season” QB Challenge. Enter the contest for your chance to win an Xbox One. Think your team is going to reign supreme? Recruit your friends to play against you!

Don’t forget to grab your favorite Dove Men+Care™, AXE® and Degree™ Men products, too. From now until November 9th, you’ll receive a $5 Target gift card when you buy any three participating Dove Men+Care™, AXE® or Degree™ Men products. Now, even if your team may stink this season, it doesn’t mean you have to.

Like Twitter parties? Join the Twitter party with @ResourcefulMom taking place on 11/4 at 8 PM ET by following the hashtag #NCAATarget.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $20 Target giveaway

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Tell me what NCAA team you (or someone in your family) cheers for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 9, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

 

Bears Football And Buffalo Wild Wings: The Perfect Combination

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

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

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

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

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

Visit Sponsor's Site

My Little Basketball Player {Wordless Wednesday}

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Soccer Game Pictures

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Saturdays = soccer game days in our household this Fall. The boys both play in the same league but different age groups. I was so proud of Jacob who was player of the week last weekend!

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First Swim Lessons At Goldfish Swim School

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

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

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

The viewing area for the parents is even fun.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Football Season!

GO BEARS

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

 

Basketball Trophy Day

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The boys played a short basketball session this summer through the park district. It was the first time either of them had played basketball. This past weekend they got little trophies since it was the last day.

Aren’t they the cutest little basketball players you’ve ever seen?

How To Create A Functional Sports Nook In Your Home {Giveaway}

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For over a year I have been trying to develop a system for organizing all of our sports gear and clothing. I created a space near our front door since our home is small and that’s what worked best for us. I had been using some hooks, a laundry basket, and a tin basket to keep everything organized but it just wasn’t working. When I was contacted to review a Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizer I thought it would be a great help for storing some of the smaller items that always found their way throughout my downstairs.

I have been using the Rawlings organizer for a few weeks now and it has really helped keep everything in one spot. With sports 5-6 days a week this Fall I wanted to share how we are staying organized and what works best for us.

What’s hanging: I love the over the door hooks. I found this one at either Walmart or Target. I hang the baseball bag up top. The Rawlings organizer is made to be hung on the wall but since i don’t have much wall space I have it hanging off the hooks on our coat closet. I love how sturdy this organizer is and how many pockets and spaces to put everything it has. We keep our balls, sports socks, extra bats, shin guards, water bottles, and extra cleats (for out of season sports) in it. On the wall I have a coat hook where we hang up the sports jackets and, in winter, the kid’s winter coats.

What’s on the table: I use an old side table to hold a variety of other items. The white basket has all of the sports clothing in it. We used to have all of their clothes in their bedroom closet upstairs but it was just a pain to find everything we needed mixed in with all of their other shirts and pants. No more wondering where the uniform shirt is or missing soccer socks. Everything is washed and put into this one small basket so when we are getting ready to run out the door I have quick access to what I need. In the tin container next to it I have cleats. I keep the soccer bag here, too.

Do you have all of your sports gear organized or can it be found around your house and garage? If you want to create a sports nook of your own you are in luck because I am giving away a Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizer to one of my lucky readers!

Organizing sports equipment and outdoor gear can be a challenge. Kids’ balls, bats, gloves, helmets and sticks can create an obstacle course, taking up valuable space in the mudroom, hall closet or garage. Throw clutter a curveball by using the new Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizers.

Available in three varieties with roomy ball caddies and vertical mesh compartments with hooks and cinches to store all kinds of gear, these vertical smart storage solutions can hold up to 25 lbs. of equipment. The Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizers are made of mildew- and abrasion-resistant durable vinyl and mesh, making them as perfect for the garage or shed as for the basement or closets.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizer

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Leave a comment telling me what sport(s) your family plays

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Leave a comment on another post

4) Follow @rawlingssports on Twitter

5) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

Giveaway ends September 6, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: I received an organizer to review but all thoughts are my own.)

My Soccer Stars

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The Summer soccer season ended today. The boys were so excited to get their trophies.

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It was a great season. Now onto Fall ball! :)

Calling All Chicago Cubs Fans! {Giveaway}

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

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

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

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

GIVEAWAY:

One winner will win a Kid’s Club Membership

HOW TO ENTER:

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

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

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

Pinterest: cubsbaseball and aliciamarie112

Instagram: cubs and Alicia

Twitter: @Cubs and @aliciamarie112

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

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

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

Quaker Fuels Healthy, Busy Families

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.)

First Soccer Practice {Wordless Wednesday}

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This past Saturday was the first soccer practice of the season and Luke’s very first time playing a sport. Last year he had to watch Jacob have all the fun so this year he was so excited to be able to participate.

I didn’t get many pictures of them playing since they were far away. I’ll have to get some better ones next week.