Tomodachi Life Nintendo DS game available at @BestBuy #NintendoatBestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.


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Way back when, when our family got our first Wii, the boys spent hours, if not days, creating their perfect Mii.  They even perfected a Mii for my dad that was so insanely accurate that it sort of creeped me out a little when it would innocently appear in the background of the Wii Sports games.  This love of Mii’s makes Nintendo’s newest game for 3Ds pure genius!  Tomodachi Life is a game all about creating a whole island world full of Mii’s.
The boys all loved this game and even when it wasn’t their turn to play they had fun watching their brothers and talking about the Mii’s they still wanted to make or what they should do with their Mii’s.  I was happy to find that there wasn’t anything too difficult for the 6 year old to do.  He would need occasional help with where to go to “buy food” if someone was hungry or something along those lines but there weren’t any tasks that were hard for him to actually complete, coordination wise.
I was able to steal the game away from them for a bit to see what it was all about and was pleasantly surprised that amidst all the giggle inducing parts of the game there were actually some good lessons in there too.  While I don’t think every game has to have a serious educational element, fun just for fun is ok too, I think that this game can be a good starting point for things like empathy, conflict resolution and budgeting.  In the game things happen life fellow Mii’s getting into a fight, if you’re paying attention you can see that Mii’s are upset and try to help them feel better.  When they are ready, you can even help them work out their fight.  Mii’s also get hungry and want their apartments decorated.  So you have to decide which items to buy, you can get cheaper items that might not be as well liked or chose fewer more expensive items.  You can even get lucky and find special sales on some things!  But it’s important to pay attention to your Mii’s because they all have different things they love or hate.  And you can write songs and watch your Mii’s perform your creations.
Tomodachi Life is a 3DS game but is compatible with the 2DS system which is on sale ONLINE ONLY 8/29/14-9/1/-14 for $99.99 (save $30 off regular price of $129.99).  The Nintendo 2DS plays all the 3DS and DS games as well as takes video and pictures.
We have been long time DS owners but got to try out the Nintendo 2DS along with this game and I impressed with it.  I have honestly thought that all the DS (we have had DS Lites, DSi’s and 3DS) were well made, easy to use and kid friendly.  The 2DS is slightly different in design because it doesn’t close but for me that means it’s just a little more durable.  I think it is a good size and weight and none of us had any comfort issues using it.  I think it’s perfect for anyone starting with handheld games or looking for a less expensive way to play the 3DS games.1805731_sa.jpg;canvasHeight=500;canvasWidth=500

If Tomodachi Life sounds like it’d be a hit with the gamer in our life be sure to check out BestBuy online 8/31/14 to save $5 on Tomodachi Life and other select 3DS games!!!







Kick off ‘Back to School’  With WTTW Kids and Miss Lori at Gurnee Mills.  Miss Lori happens to be a personal friend and is fabulous at inspiring and teaching kids AND adults.  I’m excited to FINALLY get out to one of her Live events with my kids.  I hope you’ll join us.  (Oh and if you don’t believe that we’re friends, check out the pics at the end of this post)





WHAT:           Children and parents alike will spend the morning singing, dancing and enjoying story time, when the WTTW Kids Readers are Leaders Tour makes a stop at Gurnee Mills. This annual event, which is brought to you by WTTW, the Chicago PBS affiliate, will feature a special guest appearance by Arthur, the beloved children’s book aardvark and performances by Miss Lori’s CAMPUS. Plus, the first 200 children in attendance will receive a free children’s book.

Miss Lori, the first-ever live PBS Preschool Block host, created Miss Lori’s CAMPUS to develop and ignite the imaginations of children and their families. Miss Lori’s commitment to children’s health through creative programming and entertainment has been nationally recognized.

WHEN:           Saturday, September 6  at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:         Gurnee Mills (Lake County Food Court in the Macy’s Full-Priced Retail Wing)

COST:            Free


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What’s for Dinner? #BeefCheckoff #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


As a mom of three quickly growing and very active boys, it can be challenging to find good for them meals that are quick enough to prepare in our hectic schedule and that they actually enjoy eating.  Admittedly, I default to the fast food crutch a little too often.  But this summer I have made a conscious effort to try and cook at home more.  This can sometimes lead to later nights as I cook after we return home from sports etc.  But I’m learning so short cuts and finding that honestly with some planning and organization it’s actually quicker to make fresher homemade items than my previous go to frozen type items.

When considering “What’s for Dinner?” the given is that there WILL be meat.  My boys are carnivores.  And I am a firm believer that healthy beef choices are a good way to get their bodies the things they need to keep growing and maintaining their high activity levels.  Did you know that there are 10 daily essential nutrients to be found in beef?


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One of my favorite time saving tips that I learned from some other great moms is to buy high quality lean ground beef in larger quantities and spend some time on a weekend or whenever I have time and brown it all.  Then, I divide it into approximate meal sized portions and freeze.  From that I can easily make sloppy joes, tacos and meat sauce just to name a few.

Another favorite way to prepare beef is on the grill.  I especially love this in the summer when I really don’t want to turn the oven on.


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Another way I’ve been learning to cut down on the time I spend in the kitchen is using my slow cooker.  It’s amazing to me how a few simple ingredients in a slow cooker can end up so delicious.  I was looking for something I’d never made before so I headed to and checked out their Easy Dinner Ideas.  One idea that jumped out at me was the Four-Way Slow Cooker Shredded Beef.  I probably shouldn’t admit this but I’ve never attempted shredded beef because I always envisioned it taking too long to shred the beef.  See my BIGGEST weakness in the kitchen (of which I have many)  is that I struggle with prep tasks such as slicing, chopping and dicing.  I tend to end up with hacked, smooshed and mangled.  But I was on a mission to try something I hadn’t before so that was it.

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Want to see how I fared?  Check out this quick video…

I should mention that the absence of liquid in the recipe made me nervous so I added a cup of water which I don’t think was necessary at all but it didn’t mess it up so I give any recipe that MY changes don’t mess up extra bonus points.  But I seriously LOVED how easy this was.  I bought a beautiful boneless chuck roast, chopped up an onion (which I left in large pieces so they were easy to get around for my pickier eaters) and tossed it in my removable crock the night before all seasoned etc, not that it took more than 5 minutes to prep and clean up so I could have done it in the morning.  But since it was done I just pulled the crock out of the fridge and put it in the slow cooker and took the cooker on and was done in seconds in the early morning.  In less time than it took my sides to be done I was able to pull out the meat, get it shredded and prep half of it as BBQ.  Both versions were loved by the boys.  And clean up was almost equally as easy!  Shredded beef will definitely be back on the menu again…soon.  But first we’ll have to try some of the other great easy dinner ideas at .


Learn lots more dinner ideas, flavor ideas, nutrition info and get YOUR beef related questions answered at .


What’s the Beef Checkoff? The Beef Checkoff was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It’s a  national marketing and research program funded by America’s cattle farmers and ranchers.
Who directs the Beef Checkoff? Cattle farmers, ranchers and importers direct the national checkoff program, which uses funds toward research and promotion efforts designed to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and USDA oversee the collection and spending of these beef checkoff funds.
What’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association? The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is a contractor for the Beef Checkoff and manages research and promotion programs on behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers with oversight from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and USDA. One of the checkoff programs NCBA manages is the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” brand.

Great Clips Helps You with Back to School #GREATLIST

Thanks to Great Clips for sponsoring today’s discussion.

news_greatlistBack to school can be an especially hectic and stressful time for families.  As a mom of three boys I know all too well the expensive this time of year can be.  While I’ve learned a few tricks in the last 6 years of back to school planning that help me manage the financial challenge there are many families who simply aren’t able to provide their children with the proper resources they need for school.  This combined with tightening school budgets leads to a lot of teachers spending a LOT of their own money to purchase things for their classroom.

The need is great, but that’s why companies like Great Clips are stepping up and trying to help out.

  • First of all the Great List contest allows you to submit your school supply list (up to $100) and a randomly selected daily winner will have their list sent directly to them!  Contest ends 9/5/14!
  • Secondly, Great Clips has partnered with to help teachers equip their classrooms.  Watch the video at the #GreatList page to see how they helped one school.  The download the check in app and Great Clips will make a donation to Adopt a Classroom for every app download.
  • If you download the app, which I have used and LOVE for finding a location with no wait for quick and easy last minute cuts (yup I’ve even managed to get all three boys in with no waiting!) and YOU will get a $2 off coupon from Great Clips.  Be sure to check with your local salon to see if they are offering special back to school pricing for even more savings.

Visit the #GreatList site today to find out more about how Great Clips can help You and Your School this back to school season.

Think Gray: 6 Must-Have Pieces for Fall

Content Provided by MakeMeChic

Fall season usually calls for less, vibrant colors. When you want to pile up on suits, heels and bags that are best worn for the season, start with the shade of gray on your canvass. It’s sophisticated and easy to pair with other pieces. Include knee-high riding boots, tote bag and 4 other must-have pieces in gray for fall 2014.



1. Riding Boots. Knee-high riding boots are a staple during fall season, and it’s always the black or tan boots you see everywhere. As a fashionable lady, you want your style to surpass anyone else’s. So if you want to be the center of attention, choose the gray color. For a unique take on riding boots, get a style that infuses two different materials: leatherette and fabric (Nb20049 Buckle Knee Riding Boots, $18).

NM-54FX_mx2. Shimmery Pants. From office wear to late night Friday partying, wear a pair of shimmery pants to highlight a young, yuppie, and fun vibe. These pants are close to the likes of leggings because of the tight-fitting structure. Such pants are seamless and they usually have a hidden side zipper. When picking one, make sure the length is precise on your legs. This should be worn above your ankle without any creases or folds at the hem (Akris Melissa Shimmery Slim Pants, $1,190).

00069313-023. Infinity Scarf. Always get the perfect wrap around your neck with an infinity scarf. Unlike the usual scarf, this one will lessen the time to get the perfect drape. Choose a striped one if you’re working on a casual jeans ensemble and a solid color for a more formal outfit. You’ll get perfect loops around your neck every single time (Striped Infinity Scarf, $9.80).

324. High Heels. Nude heels are great during spring and summer and black heels for all seasons. For fall, find a great canvass in gray high heels. Lots of high heels in gray color are available in various designs. You can either choose strappy ones, ankle straps, almond toe, stiletto heels or chunky heel pumps. To pump up your fashion statement, get a metallic pair (Anne Michelle Rapture-50 Perforated Heels, $28).

25. Tote Bag. Roomy and oversized bags are a thing during fall so use it in your everyday ensemble. It’s easy to put your blazer or a cardigan inside it, plus many other things you might carry. What’s great about having a gray tote is that it’s a great canvass for animal print scarves. Tie a zebra print scarf around the bag straps for a chic and feminine touch (Tory Burch “Emmy” Crossbody Tote, $295).

NM-52HK_mx6. Blazer. A fall wardrobe will be complete if you add a wool blazer to your casual or corporate ensemble. When donning a blazer, make sure you get a tailored-fit piece to flatter your frame. Instead of a plain one, opt for a style that suggests a mixture of vintage and modern feel to it. Plus, opt for a unique fabric design like chevron or swirl prints (Armani Collezioni Chevron-Knit Snap-Front Blazer, $1,245).

Do you have a gray piece for fall? What’s your staple piece during that season?

Are YOU Ready for Some Football?

sbc_logo(1)While this time of year is considered ‘Back to School’ for most, for our family it really only means one thing…FOOTBALL SEASON!
If you’re a fellow lover of the game, you need to check our where you can enter to win 100 gallons of free gas (valued at $350) with the fuel company of your choice.   Enter now as Week One has just started!

It only take a few seconds to enter and there are no strings, nothing to buy, and no registration needed. All you have to do is enter how many points you think will be scored amongst all 16 featured football games.  If you’re correct, you can win the grand prize! It’s fast, easy, and completely free.  Every single week, a new contest and prize package will be announced. It costs nothing but a few seconds to enter your guess and the winning result could be $350 in FREE gas!  Go enter now as a tie will go to the person who entered first!

Show of YOUR football knowledge and WIN!

Visit to enter.


USA Football Heads Up #ProtectionTour at Northwestern University

protectiontour usa football northwestern riddel stadium panaramicLast month Timmy and I got a chance to head to Northwestern University to take part in the USA Football Protection Tour.  Always one for learning about keeping my boys safe while playing the sports they loved I jumped at the chance.  Of course, Timmy will take any chance he can to get to visit Northwestern as he already dreams of attending there.

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We were both surprised to learn that USA Football and the Heads Up Tackling technique was totally different than what he’d been taught his two previous seasons of youth tackle football.  However I was pleased to learn that the new team he’d be joining this season was a member of USA Football and all coaches are taught and teach the Heads Up technique.
I also enjoyed learning about proper helmet fitting directly from the staff of Riddell.  While coaches are certified and should know how to properly fit a helmet it’s helpful to me to know what to look for just to be able to make sure it STAYS fitting properly all season.

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If you’re not familiar with Heads Up football or USA Football check them out online.  You’ll learn that Heads Up is supported by the NFL as well as college football.  It is the hope of USA Football and it’s supporters that as the emphasis on safety spreads injuries will decrease and the sport can continue to flourish.

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Note: This was a free event open to any youth football player and his family. We were not compensated for attending or for sharing this information.







Books for Kids: Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Who: ALL-STARS

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own honest, personal feedback.



Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Who: ALL-STARS ($17.95, Ages 8 and up) features facts on and statistics for more than 100 of the world’s best athletes that every young sports fan wants to learn more about, including LeBron James, Derek Jeter, and Shaun White. The third title in the Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book Of series, Big Book of Who: ALL–STARS recounts the amazing achievements of these all-star athletes in a broad array of sports, including baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, racing, soccer, tennis, as well as Olympic and extreme sports. Readers will find statistics about all-stars and sports legends from Missy Franklin to Larry Bird, and Pelé to Cal Ripken, Jr. along with many, many more.


I’m pretty sure my 11 yr old would read the phone book if it was published by Sports Illustrated, but he wouldn’t learn a ton more sports related info that way.  The boys loves all things sports including stats and stories or all kinds so he is eating this book up.  But even the less enthusiastic sports fan can’t help but be inspired by these stories of the best of the best.  To me, that’s the best part of sports, the hard work and dedication paying off!  I think this is an easy enough read (less a few of the athletes names) for the suggested age and am sure any die hard fan would enjoy it.

Why WE Love Essential Oils

Several months ago I started hearing from friends on Facebook that they were using essential oils. I was especially interested when some friends began talking about the success they were having with treating ADHD with essential oils. I kept planning to order some to try but never getting around to it. Then a local friend hosted a EO class. While I knew I wanted to try oils for ADHD I was blown away by all the other things they said they could be used for. Still I was skeptical. But when they mentioned an oil could remove a skin tag, I stopped dead in my tracks. You see Johnny has had a skin tag right under his eye for awhile now. It has continued to get larger and more noticeable and other kids were pointing it out. But Johnny insisted it didn’t bother him and was much more fearful of having it removed than living with it. But if an oil could take care of it, I HAD to try it. And so my romance with DoTerra began.

No mind you we were instructed to use it twice a day and I couldn’t even manage to remember to do it every day so it took notably longer than the several days it was said to remove the skin tag. But it DID work! With no pain, no doctors and no anxiety.  Unfortunately I never got a great shot of the tag.  But here is a photo from Easter of this year…


And then for the day it fell off.  It was slightly pink for a day or so but now you can’t tell anything was ever there.



And this is a single success in a sea of many. But it’s one of few that can be visibly proven!  We’ve had success with improved sleep, migraine and other pain relief, improved ADHD symptoms, bug bite and sunburn relief.


IMG_20140606_184034These are just a small few of the Essential Oils we have begun to use daily to help lessen our use of RX and OTC medications!

We have been using many of the oils topically but also use our trusty diffuser daily.




Ultra HD in store events happening now at @BestBuy #UHDatBestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

BBY_UltraHD_CMYK_BlueBest Buy is always the place to go to experience and learn about all things electronic but right now you need to get to Best Buy to experience the latest in HD TV technology!

Experience and learn about Ultra HD TV

Every Saturday 11am-3pm

August 9 – November 1

with experts from LG, Samsung and Sony


Best Buy’s 4K Ultra HD TV’s will bring you:

Stunning Resolution:

  • Get four times the picture resolution of Full HD 1080p.  The increased pixel allows you to sit very close for a fully immersive experience.

Experiences That Feel Real:

  • Experiences that feel breathtakingly lifelike with amazing level of detail

Better Picture For Everything:

  • 4K Ultra HD improves the quality of all current move & TV shows to gorgeous nearly 4k Ultra HD quality


Content is coming as Sony has introduced a 4K Ultra HD Media Player that comes loaded with free 4K content plus, you can download more than 200 4k films.  Find out more about it at Bestbuy.Com/SonyExperience


Make sure to visit a store near you to experience and learn about Ultra HD TV every Saturday 11am – 3pm and enter for a chance to win your own 55” Ultra HD TV (includes installation & Geek Squad Protection)!  Go to for more information.

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