Get Back To School Cool with @Reebok #Twistform at @FinishLine #IC #ad

I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Reebok. I received a gift card to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

 

reebok twist twistform finish line back to school bts shoes boys kids youth gym tennis basketballl skateboarding 2I can’t even believe it but it’s Back to School (#BTS) time again!  As a mom of three ridiculously fast growing boys, I have quickly learned that back to school shopping for an entire new wardrobe isn’t cost effective when they may grow 3 sizes by Christmas break.  But one thing we always go back to school shopping for is SHOES.

I think different people look for a variety of different things when shopping for shoes.  For me I need a quality shoe that will last awhile but doesn’t cost so much that I’ll cry when they outgrow them.  Of course, the kids appreciate if they’re comfortable and stylish!  I think we were able to meet ALL our requirements this back to school season by heading to Finish Line.  With some great sales on everything from socks (hello $1 socks!) to hoodies there is definitely more to be found there then just shoes.
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But you will find a full line of popular styles of gym shoes at  Finish Line for kids of all sizes, including the Reebok Twistform. These trendy kicks have a spiral midsole to cushion your feet comfortably while you’re running from class to class. The rubber outsole gives you durability and traction while the soft textile upper gives you great fit and function.

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See more from Reebok and Finish Line

Reebok on Facebook

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Finish Line on Facebook

Finish Line on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 What are YOUR kids wearing Back to School this year?

Movies for Back to School #STREAMTEAM

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

Photo credit: jmiltenburg from morguefile.com

It’s that time once again.  I know I’ve seen lots of first day of school photos already but we don’t go back until next week.  For us, this weekend will include some frantic last minute supply shopping (so unlike me) and then I plan collapse on the couch and watch some fun back to school movies while labeling eight billion school supplies with the kids names.

 

 

 

Here are just a few movies that fit the #BTS bill that you can find on Netflix right now!

Grease
Election
Mean Girls
Can’t Buy Me Love
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

I especially love some of these if you’re sending kids off to middle school or high school as not only are the fun but they can also help spark conversations about friendships and relationships.  I know, I know.  Talking to your tween/teens about these things can typically solicit a plethora of eye rolls and heavy sighs but that’s why I like trying to  ‘sneak it in’ where ever I can.  Sitting down for a ‘we need to talk’ kind of conversation can usually create an instant wall, whereas SOMETIMES a bit of sneak attack while watching a movie and chompin on popcorn can lead to some good talks, or at least laying to ground work for future communication.

Back to school season isn’t just about freshly sharpened pencils and studying for tests, but the excitement of seeing friends again and nervousness about crushes.

How are YOU making sure your kids are ready for the new school year?

 

 

So Bad It’s Good #StreamTeam

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

sharknado epically bad streamteam

Sometimes you need to watch a really great movie. You want a fabulously acted, well written story that will touch you at your core. And then sometimes, you need something so horrifically bad that it’s almost good.  This is the only way I can describe the phenomenon that IS Sharknado.

When I initially decided to watch this movie I had apparently not been listening closely to the hype as I was expecting some Shark Week-esq type of documentary or something.  But there is literally nothing realistic about this movie series.

Yes that’s right, if you haven’t been paying attention a THIRD Sharknado was just released.  And yes I DO think you need to watch it.  But first…first you need to experience it from the beginning.  Find Sharknado and Sharknado 2 streaming on Netflix.  And for a fully enjoyable experience, take the time to stop and back up to verify the unbelievable things a second, or maybe a third time because really how could you NOT!?!

Now hurry up, go watch these movies that are so crazy bad that even one the stars, Ian Ziering, admits he only did the first one because he needed to keep his insurance!  So grab your loved ones and a ton of popcorn and catch up on the natural disaster that is Sharknado.

I mean where else will you find a movie who ADMITS that they “jumped the shark!?”

 

 

Sponsored Video: The Kids Of Summer – Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes #ShowYourStripes

This post has been sponsored by Frosted Flakes, but all thoughts are our own.

 

I am a sports fan!

I love to show my support by donning my team colors and cheering my heart out! I LOVE to see my team win!  But if that team happens to be one that my child is playing on, all that really matters to me is that they gave their best effort and they did so with a good attitude.  The speech featured in the video above is one I have listened to many times since last year’s Little League World Series.  To me it is all that is right in the world.  It is why I work harder and sacrifice more so that my kids can play team sports.  The lessons learned in a team sport like baseball, on of our personal faves, are ones that will last them a life time.

The thrill of victory is fleeting but the character and relationships built on that field will last long after the equipment is packed up and the lights are turned off.  To me that’s what the Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes #ShowYourStripes campaign is really about.  As a mom it is always fun to watch the hard work pay off in a great hit or an epic diving catch.  But the moments I’m really most proud of are ones like when after a tough loss my son still seeks out the pitcher of the opposing to team to congratulate him on a great game because they played together a few years ago and will always be friends no matter what colors they may where on game day. My favorite saying is “my son never loses! he either wins or he learns!”

Visit Frosted Flakes Little League Page, Frosted Flakes Facebook, or Tony The Tiger on Twitter for more great stories or to share how you #ShowYourStripes!!

 

 

Make Memories This Summer at Medieval Times #sponsored

This post sponsored by Medieval Times but all opinions are my own.

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If you’ve always wanted to take the family to Medieval Times to enjoy the exciting tournament while feasting like a king now is the time with this great LIMITED Time Four Pack Offer for JUST $128!

Four Pack includes:

  • Four Admission Tickets
  • Four Course Feast Fit for a King.. or Queen!
  • Two rounds of Select Beverages
  • Two Hour Action Packed Show
  • And Parking is ALWAYS FREE!

 

If you visit before the end of the month your kids can train with the knights.  My boys did this about 4 years ago and enjoyed it!

Read all about our first family visit to Medieval Times Chicago here!

#TBT With Netflix #StreamTeam

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

tbtlogoOne of my favorite things on Facebook is Throw Back Thursday (#TBT) photos.  I LOVE seeing photos of friends and family from days gone by.  It’s fun to see what they looked like before we knew each other but I really love the photos of times we did share together.  It’s like hopping in a time machine and being magically transported back to that time.  Photos of Junior High can immediately bring back the anxiety of dealing with a school locker for the first time, the smell of Aquanet and the tunes of NKOTB pumping through my boom box speakers!!!

Watching old favorites can totally take me back the same way.  And I’m thinking it does the same for my kids.  The kids who watched more than a couple episodes of Teletubbies recently on Netflix.  I’m not sure that would have been my first choice for a throwback but I definitely love Netflix for the ability to watch and rewatch many of my old favorites, and sharing old faves with my kids.  Here’s a few a great throwback suggestions just to get you started:

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Have You Seen….Skylanders SuperChargers?

 

Have you heard?

A new Skylanders will be coming out again this year?

I really wasn’t sure how Skylanders were going to be able to up their game for a new edition of my sons favorite game. But, I should have known better!  I haven’t shown him this trailer yet because….well, I can only be asked when a new game comes out for so long and September is a LONG way away when measured in questions!!

 

But if you’re lil gamer is more patient or if you’re just dying to know the details yourself check out the info below on the latest version of Skylanders coming September 20, 2015 for all major consoles and iPad.

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Skylanders SuperChargers – the next adventure which brings vehicles to life!  Skylanders SuperChargers gives gamers an unprecedented way to explore and navigate the mountainous terrains, deep sea environments and big blue skies of Skylands with the vehicles-to-life feature. The new game features 20 vehicle designs and types – race cars, motorcycles, boats, tanks, helicopters, jets, submarines and more. A new class of heroes have also been created – 20 SuperCharger characters that feature fresh moves, powerful attacks and all-new weapons.  Plus, every Skylander in fans’ existing collections is playable in this game – and they all can drive!

 

As always my favorite part of the Skylanders series is that you don’t have to completely start over with your collection of characters. I mean, yes of course you want all the new ones too but all your old characters are obsolete in the newest version so you’re just growing your character collection with each new version!

Which Skylanders is YOUR favorite?

Will you be getting the new Skylanders Superchargers???

 

 

Family Is What You Make It #StreamTeam

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

 

 Blood makes you RELATED, Love makes you FAMILY!

 

Growing up as one of the first kids who’s parents divorced, I couldn’t help but understand that not all families looked the same.  I LOVED watching shows that portrayed no-typical family units.  Some thirty years later, you’d think this would simply be a way of life for me.  But as I’ve lost family members to death, divorce and decision, I got to a point where I felt I had almost no family left.  Mind you, those I have are a fabulous support without whom I’m not sure how I’d survive.  But what I’ve learned is that the quote above is true.  Just as much as blood doesn’t actually make people love and take care of a family the way they should, people who aren’t physically related, can be just as much our family.  But ever the screen lover, I still love and appreciate great shows about non-traditional families.  And I absolutely adore the latest new original from Netflix.

frankie and grace netflixGrace and Frankie, Netflix’s new funny and fearless original comedy featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, is a perfect example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange and blend in unexpected ways. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 20 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change that they never expected, but they shift their perspective to get through it together with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humor.

 

 

 

 

Other great examples of unique families you can find on Netflix…

For your little kids:

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For your big kids:

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1. Crash & Bernstein
2. Life with Boys
3. Spy Kids
4. Russell Madness

 

 

And for teens and adults:

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1. Raising Hope
2. The Fosters
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Life Unexpected

 

 

Sponsored Video: Family (Kitchen) Portraits

This post has been sponsored by GE Appliances, but all thoughts are our own.

If home is where the heart is, the heart of the home is where the stomach is.  While I’m not the best cook, I do completely appreciate the way a family revolves around the kitchen.  Food can make us feel connected, feel loved and just FEEL like home.  I’ve lost three amazing woman in my life, my mom and both of my grandmas.  My father’s mom was the quintessential grandmother, always baking something and not happy until you were thoroughly fed.  She made many delicious things while donning her colorful aprons but the one that most makes me feel like I’m right back in her kitchen is her homemade cinnamon rolls.  They are pretty much happiness baked in a pan.  My mom and her mother, they weren’t quite so domestic.  But they each had a few meals they made that could bring a smile to my face even on the worst day.  My mom made the best meatloaf and the best split pea soup! And her mom made my favorite chicken and dumplings ever!  I’m not sure what things my boys will take with them as feeling like home, but I do hope that they will remember the moments around the table snacking on flutternutters and giggling at their silly stories as much as I do.

GE Appliances GETS that the kitchen is really the core of your home and they want to make it easier for YOU integrate food into your own special family story.   One of the families GE Appliances features in their videos,  Richards family is a great example of richards-familydoing just that.  Parents Ken and Doris adopted five children, three from Vietnam and two from Africa.  I don’t know the Richards personally.  But I know a family much like them.  The family we know also has 5 kids.  All five are adopted. Though their story is slightly different as they were adopted from here in the US, through the foster care system, I’ve still had the chance to see first hand how their family is exactly like any other family whether brought together by birth, marriage or adoption.  It is very clear that what makes family is love.  Whether you are creating a link to a culture through food like the Richards or spending time baking cookies, GE Appliaces wants to help you create those moments.  Check out GE Appliances on Facebook, Twitter, YoutubePinterest and Instagram for lots of great inspiration on how to bring YOUR family together for meals.

Laugh Along with Moms Who Understand #MomsRule #IC #ad

11052377_404861843030120_3960745327291218290_nI participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Moms Rule. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Motherhood is exhausting.  I mean, honestly, I thought the most exhausting part was when they were newborn and you had to live on 2 hours of sleep, if you were lucky.  I really thought that once I survived taking care of an infant while also pregnant that it was all smooth sailing from there.  But then my boys started puberty.  Now, I am both mentally and physically exhausted.  Gone are the days of blissfully day dreaming about what they might be when they grown up, which I spent more than my fair share praying wouldn’t happen until after they finally mastered potty training.  These days I dream of them being tiny again, back when they didn’t talk back and I KNEW they were safe because they never wanted to be put down.  That newborn smell now replaced with the smell of dirty gym socks occasionally covered with the overwhelming stench of spray deodorant.
Life with tweens means that MANY days, I have to laugh to keep from crying.  I should mention, tweens do NOT appreciate parental laughter in the heat of the moment.  But someday, some day they WILL understand.  And they’ll thank me, because laughing when I really don’t want to be laughing is saving my sanity, or at least what’s left of it.  I really think there should be a prize for surviving tween/teen parenthood and the size of that prize should depend on how many usable brain cells you have when it’s over.

While seeing the humor in the situations in our own house, can help alleviate SOME of the stress SOME of the time, being able to laugh with other parents who have been there and done that, and if you’re REALLY lucky, have maybe been through worse is even better.  That’s what I love about MOMS RULE, a hilarious web series on YouTube that covers about all the things we are sometimes afraid to talk about but we all have in common designed! Stephanie Blum is a psychologist turned comedian and the creator of MOMS RULE. Stephanie wants people to hear your opinions so PLEASE be sure to post comments

I personally find this episode hysterical because I can totally relate having been through this on both sides now:

You can see why MOMS RULE caught the eye of producers who signed Stephanie Blum to be in a new comedy series on TLC called WHAT SHE SAID.  It premiers during TLC’s “Mother Of All Weeks” leading up to Mother’s Day.  The sneak peek will air on Sunday May 10th at 11pm ET/10pm CT on TLC.

Follow Stephanie Blum on Facebook  or Twitter (@StephanieBlum or @MomsRuleShow) and subscribe to their YouTube channel or Facebook page to be the first to find out how YOU can appear on the show MOMS RULE!  Also, get bonus and backstage episodes, free tickets to MOMS RULE – The LIVE Stand-Up Comedy Tour (starring the moms from the show, LIVE on stage) and find out how you can book them to perform their special brand of stand up comedy LIVE at YOUR event.