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.

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?

 

 

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?

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.

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.

 

Getting Ready For Game Day

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

Sundays during the Fall for our family mean one thing- FOOTBALL SEASON! Not only do we love to watch it but my children both play on youth football teams. We love our busy schedule but some days Sundays can get a bit hectic and challenging. There are days when we juggle and everything seems to be done in a time crunch so we spend a lot of time in the car.

Most of our Sunday snacks and lunches are on the go because one kid has a game, then there is a few minutes for them to eat and then the other kid has a game. There is no time for a sit down meal so we rely on easy foods to keep us fueled. Two very helpful allies to us as parents in such times are Walmart and Smuckers.

Walmart is our “SNACKATION” destination for all the busy sport Sundays. Not only do we love their low prices, but it is also convenient. When I went there to pick up extra mouth guards (because the boys chew on them) I stocked up on food for game day.

We like to look for foods we can enjoy either in the car or on the sidelines. Smucker’s® is a great choice for all parents due to their extensive line of products that are both kid approved and made to be enjoyed on the go. From Jif ‘To Go’ Dippers to Smucker’s® Fruit-Fulls® Blended Fruit to Uncrustables® Sandwiches everything is easy to throw in the sports bag for Sunday funday. Add in something to drink, like juice boxes and water, and we are all set for our busy game day.

What snacks do your kids enjoy when you are on the go?

 

Worry Free Outdoor Fun

baseball

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.


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.

Celebrating The Winter Games With Preschoolers

olympics

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.

Zume Games: Gift Ideas For Outdoor Fun

outdoor games gift ideas

(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!?

My Little Basketball Player {Wordless Wednesday}

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Soccer Game Pictures

soccer game 3

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!

***

Basketball Trophy Day

basketball trophies

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}

sports nook

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.)

Calling All Chicago Cubs Fans! {Giveaway}

KidsClubGraphic

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

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

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

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

GIVEAWAY:

One winner will win a Kid’s Club Membership

HOW TO ENTER:

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

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

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

Pinterest: cubsbaseball and aliciamarie112

Instagram: cubs and Alicia

Twitter: @Cubs and @aliciamarie112

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

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

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

First Soccer Practice {Wordless Wednesday}

soccer

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.