Pumpkin Farm Throwback #TBT

I miss these sweet chubby faces!!!!

tbt timmy and bryan 2009 tbt johnny 2009

Monster Jam Heading to Allstate Arena with an Exciting New Competitive Format Featuring #MoreMonsterJam

The boys are already asking if we’ll be going to Monster Jam this year. While it’s always a good time I’m sure they’ll be excited to see the new format!

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The widely popular Monster Jam® tour is heading to the Allstate Arena, Feb. 5-8, 2015, for an explosive new points-paying endurance showdown, featuring more of what the Monster Jam fans have been asking to see – more trucks, more action, #MoreMonsterJam!

Unlike any other show ever seen, this showcase of Monster Jam endurance will feature the biggest and best lineup of world famous Monster Jam trucks highlighted by more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies and more competitive action than ever before. Fans will also be treated to two new competition vehicles, extreme Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs, as they rip through the arenas during combative racing action.

Headlining the tour will be the fiercest Monster Jam athletes, who will be the exclusive drivers of each of the teams made up of Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters, and Monster Jam ATV’s. Each of the athletes will compete against one another in a true test of endurance to earn valuable points during the seven competitive disciplines, unlike any Monster Jam event ever. These athletes will be contending for a bid to the prestigious Monster Jam World FinalsSM held at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on March 26-28.

Monster Jam Teams

Max-DSM: Morgan Kane

Blue Thunder®: Dalton Millican

Grave Digger®: Colton Eichelberger

Monster Energy: Coty Saucier

Scooby-Doo™: Bailey Shea Williams

New Earth Authority PoliceSM: Aaron Basl

Monster Mutt® Rottweiler: Daron Basl

El Toro Loco®: Becky McDonough

Show Times

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 – 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 – 1 pm & 6 pm


Allstate Arena

6920 N. Mannheim Rd.

Rosemont, Ill.

Ticket Information

Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800/745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster Retail Locations and the Allstate Arena Box Office. All seats are reserved.  Tickets start at $15.

For more information on this new #MoreMonsterJam arena tour of endurance, please log onto http://www.MonsterJam.com/MoreMonsterJam.  To follow Monster Jam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram log on to www.facebook.com/MJOnline and www.twitter.com/MonsterJam and www.instagram.com/MonsterJamLive. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/MonsterJamLive.

About Feld Motor Sports®

Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment.  Feld Motor Sports productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross and Nuclear Cowboyz®.  Feld Motor Sports is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment.  For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit  www.feldentertainment.com.

Follow the yellow brick road to The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Last fall we attended our first performance of the Marriot Theatre for Young Audiences and we are excited to attend this school years first show The Wizard of Oz.  The performances for young audiences are perfect for introducing kids to musical theatre with constant movement and engagement in a high quality production geared to capture the attention of all ages.




Terry James, Executive Producer

Aaron Thielen, Lead Artistic Director

Andy Hite, Artistic Director




November 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015


Relive the classic story or experience it for the first time –

live on stage at The Marriott Theatre!

Follow the yellow brick road to The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, for the enchanting musical production of THE WIZARD OF OZ, running from November 7, 2014 through January 4, 2015, with a press opening on Saturday, November 22 at 10AM. The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences favorite Rachel Rockwell will direct and choreograph, with musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson.  Based on the classic 1939 MGM movie, this special one-hour presentation of THE WIZARD OF OZ features the classic songs Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A Question & Answer session with the cast will follow every performance.

After a tornado hits her family’s home in Kansas, Dorothy and Toto land in the magical land of Oz. With the Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy encounters wickedness and wonder as she sets off to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, who promises to make their dreams come true. Click your heels together three times and join the newfound friends as they journey on a quest to find heart, courage, brains and most importantly…home.

THE WIZARD OF OZ features an all-star cast, including Dara Cameron as “Dorothy,” Alex Goodrich as “Tinman,” Jeff Max as “The Lion,” George Keating as “The Scarecrow,” Susan Moniz as “The Wicked Witch,” Johanna McKenzie Miller as “Auntie Em” and “Glinda,” Rob Rahn as “Uncle Henry” and “Oz,” Debbie Laumand-Blanc as “The Mayor,” and ensemble members J Tyler Whitmer and Amanda Tanguay.

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences team will be headed up by Lead Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, with Costume Designer Nancy Missimi, Lighting Designer Brian Hoehne, Sound Designer Robert E. Gilmartin, Musical Supervisor Patti Garwood and Stage Manager Angi Adams.

THE WIZARD OF OZ plays most Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 AM and 12:30 PM. Visit MarriottTheatre.com or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates vary. Single ticket prices are $15 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows.  To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit www.MarriottTheatre.com.


Ready to Try Again?

8004c3101844cc23b613900fa37d677fIt’s been about a year since I took the first step in forever changing my families life. When I walked into that lawyers office I was nervous about the road that laid ahead but I had no doubt left that it was the right decision to end my marriage. It was right for me, and it was right for the boys. I was unhappy with the person I was married to for sure. But the bigger issue was that I wasn’t happy with myself anymore.

At some point I had let the hurts and disappointments get to me. I was angry, bitter and often spiteful. My previously playful sarcasms turned to constant verbal daggers. I felt unloved and in turn became someone pretty unlovable.

Thankfully, by the grace of God and some amazing friends and family, I saw the light, slowly at first and then all at once it was fully clear. This wasn’t what my life was supposed to look like and it was time to change that. It was terrifying and I’m certain that even a year earlier and I wouldn’t have survived it.

It’s been eight months since I became OFFICIALLY single again. Initially it took some very intentional reminders to myself that the feelings of loneliness were normal and that most of the things I felt like I missed, hadn’t been in my relationship for a long time, if ever. Basically, I had to learn to be OK alone. And it really didn’t take long to realize that being alone was actually the least lonely I’d been in a really long time. I began living the life that made me (and my boys) happy without worry. I started feeling more and more like myself.

So now I’m in some weird place, trying to decide, am I ready to try again?  How do you possibly know if you’re healed enough to be in a relationship again?  Can you put a ‘timeline’ on these things? Or am I just supposed to know?

Contact Lens Safe Wear & Care #MC

I wrote this review while participating in an Influencer campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. and received a promotional item from Mom Central to thank me for participating.

ContactLensSafeWear&CareAs a family full of “four eyes,” vision and eye care are always a top priority for us.  But as Halloween approaches it’s likely that many who don’t need vision corrections will turn to ‘decorative’ lenses to complete a costume.  It’s crucial to remember that contact lenses are a medical device which require a prescription from licensed eye care professional.  Getting your prescription lenses from a licensed professional means you’ll be given proper instruction on good hygiene habits when inserting/removing contact lenses as well as the importance
of following wearing and replacement schedules, proper lens care, and disinfecting routines.

But even of those who consider ourselves “pros” after wearing Rx lenses for years can often use a reminder on the The Do’s and Don’ts of Eye Care Safety.  Follow these  tips to make sure that you are wearing and caring for your contact lenses safely and effectively.


  • Wash and rinse your hands thoroughly with a mild soap and dry with a lint-­‐free towel  before handling your lenses
  • Put in your contacts before you put on your makeup  or  any costume paint.
  • Remove lenses immediately if you experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, and redness of the  eye or other problems and promptly contact your eye care professional
  • Always remove, clean and disinfect your lenses according to the schedule recommended by your  eye doctor


  • Wear another person’s lenses
  • Wear lenses longer than the time frame recommended by your eye doctor
  • Rinse your lenses in water from the tap or expose them to any water—such as swimming or showering—while wearing them
  • Use anything aside from recommended solution by your eye doctor, such as saliva, to lubricate your lenses

I tried wearing contacts the first time in Junior High and while they required more care back then, I simply wasn’t ready for the responsibility.  I did actually cause damage to my eye, thankfully only minor.  But it’s because of this that I’m hesitant to get the boys contacts.  But we’re at that point where they want them.  But even as a family who required vision correction, this is a very big decision.  Please be sure that kids in your life aren’t risking more serious eye injury with improper use of contact lenses.  Vision is simply to precious to risk!IMG_20141021_114734

Celebrate Your Firsts With Netflix #StreamTeam

 This post is brought to in partnership with Netflix.  All opinions expressed are my own.Netflix_Logo_Print_FourColorCMYK


Once our ‘babies’ head off for their first day of school we often feel as if the “firsts” are over.  But there’s still so much left to celebrate when we take a step back and consider all the ‘mini-milestones’ left for kids and even adults.

This year marked a large milestone for the boys as the first time they have moved (that they remember, we moved when the older boys were teeny tiny).  It was exciting, exhausting and nerve wracking all at the same time.  It meant new rooms, new neighborhoods and new schools.  There was a lot of joy over a new safer neighborhood where the boys can be allowed to get out and play more freely.  But there was also a lot of anxiety with new schools, including MIDDLE SCHOOL for the older boys and leaving Bryan in a school without his brothers.

With Middle School also came a first dance for both the older boys.  There were no dates (which my fragile mom of tweens heart is grateful for) but there was grooming, loud music, a rather late night and thankfully a good time had.

Whether your firsts are full of excitement or anxiety a great way to prepare for them is to find comfort in those who’ve been down the same path.  This may be done by getting together with friends, OR an evening in with some Netflix!  Check out this great list of movies and TV shows the celebrate a ton of FIRSTS!













New Job: The Office
Getting Married: My Fair Wedding with David Tutera
Having a Baby: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Life as a Parent: Parenthood
Running for Office: Parks & Recreation
Buying a Home: House Hunters




This month also marks my first post as part of the Netflix Stream Team.  We LOVE Netflix and look forward to sharing more ways to have fun with Netflix!










Aquatic Experience – Chicago Ticket Giveaway

Second annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago makes a splash with additional 130+ tanks of tropical fish, return of Live Shark Encounter and Kids Aquarium Contest
November 7-9, 2014

Everything under one roof also includes:
Fish from Around the World display
Children’s Touch Tank
Two inaugural aquatic competitions
Educational seminars
…and more!

Aquatic Experience - Discus fish

The World Pet Association’s (WPA) second annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago makes a splash Nov. 7-9, 2014, with the addition of over 130 aquariums of tropical fish and return of the popular Live Shark Encounter and Kids Aquarium Contest. Show attendees will find “everything aquatic under one roof” at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, from saltwater and freshwater fish to pond and aquatic plants—including a Fish from Around the World display with Children’s Touch Tank, two inaugural aquatic competitions, educational seminars and a thriving show floor of exhibitors showcasing the latest in aquatic trends and products.

Daily family passes ($25), individual tickets ($10), weekend passes ($99) and Saturday dinner and keynote tickets ($60) are now on sale for Aquatic Experience – Chicago. Registration for the Kids Aquarium Contest for children ages 5-16 is $5 and includes a 10-gallon aquarium kit complete with filter, lighting, heater and thermometer, plus a wristband for free admission to the show floor with a paying adult. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.aquaticexperience.org.

The new display of over 130 aquariums of tropical fish, presented by the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association, will include a wide variety of tropical fresh and salt water fish farmed in the US and provide inspiration for retailers, advanced hobbyists and fledgling aquarists all three days of the show. Haai Inc’s Live Shark Encounter, the only travelling shark show in the country, returns this year to give attendees the chance to see sharks up close as a diver swims and interacts with these awe-inspiring animals, providing entertaining and educational information.

Aquatic Experience’s educational seminars on hobbyist and retail topics will feature keynote speaker and Newport Aquarium Zoological Operations Manager Jeff Gibula, in partnership with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, taking a behind-the-scenes lighthearted look at public aquariums and their relationship to today’s hobbyists and their home aquariums. This year’s show also hosts two inaugural aquatic competitions: the Aquascaping Live! Contest presented by the Aquatic Gardeners Association, and the Aquatic Experience Fancy Guppy Competition presented by the International Fancy Guppy Association.

Additional aquatic experts presenting at educational seminars this year are Anton Lamboj, Bob Fenner, Brandon McLane, Charles Delbeek, Chris Lukhaup, Eric Bodrock, Francis Yupangco, Heiko Bleher, Jake Adams, Jen Reynolds, Joe Olenik, Jonathan Dooley, Julian Sprung, Karen Randall, Kevin Kohen, Oliver Knott, Oliver Lucanus, Patrick Dontson, Rusty Wessel, Sandy Moore, Sanjay Joshi, Steve Lundblad and Ted Judy. Topics include: aquarium and water garden plants; fish breeding; changes in the aquatic world; specialty stores in niche markets; hiring and training strategies; designing a successful fish room; and aquatic explorations of Thailand and Lake Tanganyika.

The World Pet Association (WPA) is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet and related products and services. WPA works to inform and educate the general public in order to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends. WPA is the host of America’s Family Pet Expo, the world’s largest consumer pet and pet products expo, held annually in Costa Mesa, California. The organization also produces SuperZoo, an annual pet industry trade show that showcases a comprehensive collection of exhibits and offers a variety of informative educational seminars, and Atlanta Pet Fair, the Southeast’s largest competition and trade show for the professional pet stylist. For more information, please visit www.worldpetassociation.org.


Find AquaticExperience on Twitter or Facebook




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrate National Pasta Month with #PastaFits #MC #Sponsored

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central for the National Pasta Association. I received pasta samples and a stipend to facilitate the creation of pasta recipes as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


October is National Pasta Month!

Celebrate with recipes from PastaFits.org. In addition to recipes, you’ll find nutrition information, contest and promotions, as well as general cooking tips and pasta facts.  Pasta Fits is a nutrition and culinary education and resource initiative sponsored by the National Pasta Association.  So you can celebrate national pasta month with good for you food for your family.

To celebrate in our house I decided to give these Healthy Stuffed Shells from PastaFits.org a try.


Knowing that this recipe was filled with carrots and spinach I did do my prep while the boys were outside playing in an effort to get these veggies past them.  I have never made stuffed shells before but I was surprised by how easy there were.  When looking at the ingredients I wasn’t even sure how they’d mix together but I was able to easily get it all mixed nicely together.  But there was definitely no getting past the green of the spinach.



But I loved that I was able to prep them and then refrigerate them.  Since we spend MANY nights out at sports practices right at dinner time, we are often very rushed for dinner.  With these stuffed shells I could easily prep them the night before and then just have to heat it all and have a hearty, delicious dinner on the table in under an hour.

20141013_134347And it turned out delicious, at least in my opinion.  I was honestly shocked by the reception it got from my kids.  The little one, well I thought it was a long shot getting any GREEN food into him, and he didn’t surprise me.  He declined to try it and had to make himself something else to eat.  But my oldest who I typically consider my most adventurous eater tried it but insisted the spinach made it taste weird.  Sigh.  But the middle one, if I had to guess he’d have been the other one who I would have assumed would have turned up his nose at it.  And he was a little put off by the looks of it.  But following our house rules of trying things, he tried a bite and loved it….and had not only seconds but thirds.  So you just never know until you try something.  Thankfully we had company come by the night I made it that helped us eat it.  But I think it’d also hold well for lunch leftovers too.  And I also think you could prep it and freeze some for later though I didn’t try that.



Be sure to check out PastaFits online, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Halloween Crafts

I’m seriously so in love with our new house, I’m actually decorating for holiday for the first time.  I love Halloween, the FUN side of Halloween.  I don’t to creepy, scary or gross.  So my decorations are just fun and festive.  I even decided to get brave and try some Halloween Crafts.

This year we’re skipping the traditional pumpkins for a project I’ll share later but I had to have at least one pumpkin so I picked up one at Michaels (50% off woohoo) and decorated it with a colorful saying that I made with my Silhoutte Cameo.  My boys think it’s hysterical that I referred to myself as a witch.  Eh, I’ve been called worse.  Plus it’s totally cute!



And then I made this colorful wreath for our front door.  But it’s been pouring nonstop for days so I had to settle for taking a pic of it indoors for now.  I got the idea for a Michaels tutorial but mine doesn’t look exactly like theirs.  But I still think it’s fun.  If you attempt this my best advice it just keep going.  At one point I was convinced it would NOT come out looking decent at all and well I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I’m happy with it.


Do YOU decorate for Halloween?



Capture Adventure #GoProatBestBuy with @BestBuy

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.

 DCIM104GOPROI LOVE photography.  I love the ability to capture a moment forever.  And I usually love my dslr camera.  But sometimes a dslr just doesn’t fit our adventures.  But at Best Buy, the home of the latest cameras and camcorders, you can find the full line of new GoPro cameras, plus a broad assortment of accessories. GoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life. GoPro cameras also make perfect holiday gifts for everyone, from kids and teens, to gadget gurus.


·         GoPro HERO4 Black: the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level.Hero4Silver_Cluster_01

·         GoPro HERO4 Silver: the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display.Hero_0

·         GoPro HERO: Featuring high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world.

12x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates

I absolutely LOVE the idea of being able to relive the super exciting moments with my family.  I mean really, is there anything more priceless than the faces you make when you’re enjoying true adventure!

Hero lifestyle 3 DCIM106GOPRO

Learn more at www.bestbuy.com/GoPro or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person.