Travel Back In Time At Medieval Times

Looking for something fun to do inside where it’s nice and cool? If you live near a Medieval Times this would be a great time to visit a castle! My family had the chance to go to a complimentary show a couple weeks ago as part of a blogger event and enjoyed our evening there.

As soon as you step into the castle you are transported back into time. From the knights on horses to the way employees are dressed to the dishes you eat upon- everything is similar to how it would have been back in the Medieval time period. It’s fun to getaway from life for a bit.

Before the show starts everyone is given a paper crown to represent the knight that they will be cheering for during the show. We cheered on the black & white knight, Don Iofre Santa Creu – defender of the ancient shrine at Santiago de Compostela. Our section of seats was pretty loud but then again it was full of bloggers and our kids– we can be a rowdy bunch ;)

During the show we enjoyed a large feast. Included in the meal is garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, oven roasted chicken, a spare rib, herb-roasted potato and an apple pastry. There is so much food that I always have leftovers to bring home! (Parent tip) Keeping with the themed time period there are no utensils so if you have kids make sure to put a couple spoons in your bag if they are too little to sip their soup from the bowl.

We enjoyed the show and the story of the Knights and the Princess. The sword fighting got the boys attention and I loved all of the beautiful horses that were part of the show. The castle is pretty amazing as well.

Want to learn more about Medieval Times? Visit their website. While you are there sign up for their birthday mailing list and get free admission on your special day!

My Experience At Awana Headquarters

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

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I love the Awana Ministry. Earlier this month my boys finished up their third year of the program and the boys can’t wait for next year to start up. I was so excited when Awana invited me to a special Blogger Summit at their headquarters and gave us a sneak peak at some changes that are coming. I can’t spill the beans yet but on June 16th their new website will go live and all will be revealed :)

I wanted to share about my time there. What really stood out to me over the two days was the mission of everyone on the Awana team. They weren’t focused on growing Awana but instead, were focused on bringing more children to Christ and long-term discipleship. Over 2.3 million children around the world have already been reached by this amazing ministry! Their goal is 10 million kids reached by 2020.

Along with learning more about the ministry, I got to meet some amazing ministry leaders and bloggers like The MOB (Mother of Boys) Society Co-Creator, Erin, and Felicia of Go Grow Go.

Worship was led by Meredith Andrews {yes, THE Meredith Andrews, DOVE AWARD-WINNING ARTIST!!} who is absolutely amazing. She has a beautiful voice and is also very sweet.

Lastly, I want to share some of the messages that have stuck with me:

  • “God does His best work when we are out of our comfort zone.” –@MattGuevara
  • “If you are going to reach people for Christ you have to have passion.” -Art Rorheim, co-founder of Awana
  • “It’s not about reaching 10 million kids with Awana – it’s about reaching 10 million kids with the Gospel!” –@BigZDub
  • “I cannot outsource the discipleship of my children to Awana.” –@peterkgreer, CEO of Hope International
  • “God will never expect any Church to be anything other than a more Christ-like version of itself.” –@brannonmarshall
  • “Everyone paddling in different directions doesn’t help a canoe move forward.” –@kevin_white
  • Some perspective: If you earn $32,500 in a year, you are in the top 1% income bracket globally.

I look forward to sharing more about Awana Clubs International next month!

Our Favorites From The Chicago Toy & Game Fair

(Disclosure: My family attended the Chicago Toy & Game Fair as media and received some free toys and games. I also purchased some items there. All thoughts are my own.)

Last Saturday morning we spent time playing at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. There were lots of great games and toys, some that we had seen before and many that were new to us. Here are some of our favorites we found:

Tenkai Knights

Tenkai Knights are small bricks that turn into figures about the size of LEGO men. My boys both loved these even though they are a bit too young for them (the package says 6-14). There are also larger sets to build that go with these Tenkai Knights.

Chuggington Trains and Track Sets

We love Chuggington at our house and have many of the trains and sets. The folks from Chuggington set up this tall track by hooking together multiple sets and all the kids went wild over it. These trains and track sets would make a great gift for preschoolers!

Pokemon Battle Arena

Jacob, my 5 year old, has just gotten into Pokemon lately. He enjoyed playing with the characters that went along with this Battle Arena but the arena itself was a little too advanced for him. This would make a great gift for the Pokemon lover who is about 7-9 years old.

Pop The Pig

Pop the Pig is a fun game for preschoolers that both boys enjoyed checking out. It will be under our Christmas tree this year.

Crazy Forts

Crazy Forts is the perfect activity for a rainy day. Kids build a structure with the pieces and then use a blanket or sheet to create a fort. Lucas loved sitting inside the igloo fort they made.

 Overall, we had a ton of fun. So many new games and toys were added to our Christmas list!

Green Juice I Actually Enjoyed and {Winner of Biggest Loser} Danni Allen’s Tips To Stay Healthy

(Disclosure: Walgreens invited me to an event while I was in Chicago last week. I received a gift bag at the event but all thoughts are my own.)

The thought of “green” juice used to make my stomach turn. I could never figure out why people enjoyed drinking these vegetable filled drinks. I have had a few of these green juices and could never take more than one sip so you can imagine how I felt about going to a blog event and being subjected to these green, healthy drinks. In my head I thought there is no way I am going to like this stuff.

When I picked one up I discovered that it actually smelled good. There was a fruity smell to it instead of it smelling like a salad. I took a sip and surprisingly it was nice and refreshing and tasted nothing like vegetables. I actually hoped they’d come around with another tray of it because I wanted more of that green juice. Later on I got the ingredient list….cucumber, celery, kale/spinach, green apple, lemon/lime. Would I choose it over my flavored coffee? Probably not. But would I choose to drink it over my favorite pop {or soda for you down South…}, yes I would.

Here are Danni Allen’s top 5 healthy tips:

1) Drink mean, green and clean juice {As shown above, you can find one that tastes good.}

2) You can always find 20 minutes in a day to work out {Her quick routine is 40 mountain climbers, 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 plank up-downs and repeat until 20 minutes is up.}

3) Recovery is just as important as exercise. {She suggests stretching or Restorative Yoga}

4) Motivation is key! {Find a way to push outside your comfort zone by joining a team or signing up for a race.}

5) Food is about quality not quantity. {Danni says: don’t buy cheap fruits and veggies!}

Walgreens had lots of delicious, healthy items on their “fresh bus” for us to check out and enjoy. I loved our picnic (even though it rained and we collapsed a picnic table lol).

{Blogger Opp} Amazon GC Giveaway 2/16-3/2

Brought to you by:

The Frugal Batavian, The Frugal Free Gal, and Money Saving Lisa.

Looking to offer an awesome cash value contest for your blog readers? Well, right now we are taking admissions for the Amazon Gift Card Giveaway that will start on February 16th! The prize will be determined by how many blogger participate with the goal of at least $100 to giveaway to one lucky winner. You have the option of one FREE link by either Twitter or Facebook, as well as paid options. There are also paid Host and Co-hosting options.

  • Prize: Anywhere from $100-$250 in the form of an Amazon eGift Code that will be e-mailed to the winner.
  • Event Dates: Starts at 9am EST on Saturday, February 16, and ends on March 2 at 11:59 EST.
  • This event is open WORLDWIDE.
  • Extra links cost $3 each and will be used to cover the cost of the prize. There are no admin fees.

To find out more and sign up to join visit The Frugal Batavian’s post here.

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out! Tour {Recap}

This past weekend the boys and I went to see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: Get The Sillies Out. I didn’t know how Lucas would do since he doesn’t like to sit still but he was mesmerized by the show. It was also nice that children were encouraged to get up and dance so if he had decided to get up he wouldn’t have been the only one. The show was so fun that even the parents and grandparents were up on their feet dancing along with the kids!

The music was upbeat and full of good lessons like the importance of eating fruits and veggies. The well-known brightly colored characters kept children involved in the show. Even Biz Markie, the famous beatboxer, was on the stage doing his thing and teaching kids to beatbox.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the show:

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My tip for going to the show: make sure you bring cash! All theaters won’t have the same parking rules but the one we went to in Chicago had a “cash only” parking lot with no signs about it until you had pulled up to the ticket booth. Needless to say it was a huge hassle and there was a line at the ATM across the street. {It should be noted that the licensed Yo Gabba Gabba! items being sold inside could be purchased with a debit/credit card.} Thankfully the parking issue didn’t ruin the experience for us and we still greatly enjoyed the show and our night out.

Wondering if the tour will be at a location near you? See the tour dates here. Tickets start at $23.00. VIP Party packages are available as well which include a ticket in the first 15 Rows, a pass to “Get the Sillies Out” in the private VIP room featuring a super fun party with the Gabba Gang (costumed characters) and more. Children under 1 year old do not require a paid ticket to sit on a parent’s lap.

(Disclosure: We received tickets to the show but all thoughts are my own.)

Energizer’s “Power The Creativity” Event With Crayola

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

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

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

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

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

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

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

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