Drama Queen

I’ve probably been called a drama queen once or twice in my life. But never did I expect to called ‘assistant director,’ but I currently am. I offered to help with the drama club play this year at the middle school because last year it seemed like the teacher advisor didn’t have much help…and apparently I was right. I showed up to the first rehearsal and was declared the assistant director.
We’re running on a super short timeline with just 2 weeks of practice before they put on Death to the Drama Club. They’ve been working hard and I’m impressed with how far they’ve come, especially the lead parts, so quickly. And I’m enjoying getting to know a group of kids I mostly hadn’t met before. Hopefully I’ll have some fun photos to share of a successful show next week!!

Kid President and ConAgra Making Sure #ChildHungerEndsHere ad

This post is brought to you by Child Hunger Ends Here and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

 

If you’ve never watched a Kid President video you really need to check him out. He’s funny andinspirational. And he and ConAgra teamed up this month to help raise awareness for child hunger.

It comes as no surprise that Kid President helped ConAgra meet it’s goal of donating the monetary equivalent of 100,000 meals to Feeding America, thumbtack-bigbut that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get involved and make a difference. To learn ways to fight hunger in your community visit www.childhungerendshere.com and click on the “How You Can Help” tab. The need is HUGE. The need is widespread. Kids from every state in our country face the reality of child hunger. In face, more than ONE in FIVE children may not know where their next meal is coming from. That’s over 15 million kids. That is NOT ok.

As a single mom, I’ve had to learn to pinch pennies. Some weeks we have been known to get creative with what is in the cabinets because unexpected expenses make things tighter then planned. And often the boys don’t get to toss everything they’d like into the shopping cart. But regardless of how they can occasionally feel, they’ve never truly gone without. That means they are better off then 20% of the kids in our country. If you can say the same for your family, please take the time today to do something to help those who are not as fortunate.

 

Because after all….

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So Bad It’s Good #StreamTeam

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

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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!?”

 

 

Factors to Consider When Buying Football Equipment for Kids

guest post by: Leona Green

Photo credit: GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com

It takes a lot of dedication and endurance when playing football. In addition, this unique sport also needs some special protective equipment to make sure that your kids stay safe while playing with their friends. Even the best professional players wear it, so why can’t your kid wear one too, right?

Every player needs to wear the right shoes, shorts, shirt, and even gloves before they can play. There are different brands of football gear on the market, but not all these are equal. This handy guide will discuss the important factors to consider when buying football equipment for kids.

1. Choosing the Ball

Of course, you can’t start a soccer match without an official ball. Soccer balls come in a variety of sizes, designs, and price range. The price will depend on its construction, brand, or whether it is approved by the FIFA and NFHS. High quality balls usually have synthetic leather or polyurethane covers that are water-resistant and durable. Lower-priced gear, meanwhile, have a PVC cover. They aren’t that soft, but they’re great for practice sessions.

For recreational games, you can always opt for something cheaper. But if your kid is part of a sports team, it’s best if you buy something more expensive because it can last longer.

2. Cleats

Nope, you can’t let your kid play soccer while he’s wearing sneakers. For this sport, he needs soccer cleats that are made from rubber. Aside from protecting your kid’s feet, cleats also give better traction and control so they can move around the field and kick the ball accurately. Molded soccer cleats are the most popular for outdoor play. But when your kid plays soccer in an artificial turf, you should choose stud-free indoor shoes so that the gym floors won’t get damaged.

3. Shin Guards

Always remember that soccer is a contact sport, just like basketball or American football. To prevent the little ones from getting injured, don’t forget to buy them shin guards. The shin has a high risk of getting injured so you need to protect it well.

4. Apparel

Cotton may seem like a good material for a soccer shirt. However, be weary of this material because it can absorb moisture, rather than wick it away. Wet jerseys are hot, heavy, and tend to chafe the skin.  The best apparel is made from 100% polyester. This fabric repels moisture so your kid can stay cool and fresh while playing the game. It also has a cooling effect because the fibers are hollow.

Can you recommend great soccer brands? Feel free to post useful info in the comments!

Winter Wonderland My Ass

snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 3  I know I know, I live in Chicago so I shouldn’t complain about snow.  But holy geez we got like 19 inches in just over 24 hours and it was a whole lotta shoveling.  Thankfully I had some help.  When they finished they played in the evil white stuff for a little bit before they were frozen.snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 2snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 1

Celebrate Lunar New Year with @BestBuy #bbylunarnewyear

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

Gift cards are a fabulous gift for any occasion, Whether you’re in need of something for a video gamer, movie buff, music lover or gourmet baker they will be thrilled to get a Best buy gift card.  And I love that Best Buy is once again celebrating Lunar New Year with special designed cards.

145431_ChineseNewYearIn the spirit of diversity and our company values, Best Buy supports events which we believe are of importance to our employees, customers, and communities.  The upcoming Lunar New Year is one of those important celebrations.

For Asians all around the world, including Asian-Americans, Lunar New Year not only celebrates the beginning of the year but also the ending of winter and the anticipated arrival of spring.  It is one of the most important holidays celebrated in Asian countries.

This upcoming year, Lunar New Year, which is based on the phases of the moon, falls on February 19th, 2015 of our Gregorian calendar.  Best Buy is helping celebrate the event with Asian-inspired Giftcard and eGiftcard, available for purchase or gifting from BestBuy.com through February 22nd, 2015.

For an eGiftcard, scroll to the right of the following link under the “occasions” tab.  To order a hard copy of this gift card click here.

 

What would YOU buy with your gift card?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Be You For Craps Sake!

Excuse me, moms, can I have just a minute of your time?  I KNOW you’re busy, or maybe you’re totally not.  Either way, can I just take a minute to say could we all just stop worrying about what everyone else is doing? Really, we’ll all be happier if we just be ourselves and stop giving a damn about what anyone else is doing OR what anyone else thinks about what we’re doing!
Ok so maybe that last parts a little ironic since the whole reason I’m writing this is because it came to my attention that maybe people are judging me more than I have considered in the past.  That maybe a simple post on Facebook about a fun craft project or a staycation, might be viewed as trying to hard, raising my kids expectations too much or may simply indicate that I’m raising spoiled, self entitled brats.  Now trust me, I’ve been very aware that some of the things that make me, me aren’t always appreciated by everyone.  I’m a loud and rowdy sports mom who ENJOYS my time on the sports sidelines, often much to this distaste of others.  It has taken me a long time to get over the fact that being boldly who I am will mean that some people won’t like me, because I have a deep rooted need to BE LIKED.  But to see in black and white that some people view crafty “pinterest-y” moms as raising a “bunch of spoiled kids who expect the world to be given to them on a silver platter,” I was a little shocked.  I mean, lets be honest I am NO Martha Stewart.  I am not really that great of a crafter and an even poorer cook.  But as I step back into the person I was long ago and rediscover my love of crafts etc I have been sharing our projects.  Not once did I ever consider that some simple projects could be raising my kids expectations too high.  Nope, I’m just being me, trying to share the things I love with my kids.

Oh yes I know many out there in the land of social media carefully craft a perfect looking life by sharing only the best of the best of their lives.  And sometimes I am guilty of cropping that photo so you don’t see the pile of laundry on the couch behind my otherwise adorable child.  Or deleting a photo of myself I just hate.  But so what.  If we’re all being true to ourselves, living a life that makes US happy than why the hell do we care what anyone else is doing? Are they really hurting you by not posting that photo where their kid absolutely REFUSED to smile.  Or if they spent an entire weekend making a single craft beautiful enough to post?

Can we all just agree to start living life how we want to and be content in that?  If being a “Pinterest mom” causes you stress, DON’T DO IT!  If you’d rather visit the dentist than attempt a craft project don’t waste your time. It’s simply not worth it.  If you want your kids to have a chance to be crafty, check out the local library or the like for craft opportunities, or heck, ask that Pinterest mom nearby if your kids could join HER for a craft date sometimes.  But if taking the time to make amazingly detailed lunches for your kids brings you joy, then do it.  Enjoy it!  And hopefully you’ll even share it and true friends will appreciate your passion as much as you would appreciate theirs.

If me sharing that I spent my evening creating THIS, makes you feel bad….I simply want you to consider what brings you join and make time to do that today!!!!!!

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And the name of keeping it real…I LOVE sharing photos like this of my smiling boys….(who just happen to match very intentionally on my part for the trip)….1960103_10154724865215510_7989223552606627570_n

But if you pay attention, I also post ones like these…cuz it’s real life.  One preteen really wanting it to just be over so he can go out with his friends, one mad that the sun is in his eyes, one TRYING and one bad angle for mama.

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Go on mama, go be you!  And know I’ll be over here being me, loudly and proudly. I won’t dial it back, and I hope you won’t either.

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?

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.

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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.

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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.

Birth complications: When the unexpected happens…

Photo credit: GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com

Ask any parent what the happiest day of their life has been and they’ll probably say the birth of their children, perhaps followed by their wedding day.

And, while most births end just as they should; with the new mum and dad joyfully holding the latest addition to their family, complications can and do arise.

Compensation claims for problems arising during birth can be some of the highest made to the NHS, to take into account the costs, for example, of looking after a child who has been left disabled.

In one case, an eight-year-old received £9.5m after the oxygen supply to his brain was cut off at Royal Sussex County Hospital due to pressure on the umbilical cord and he was left with cerebral palsy.

In another, 11-year-old Milly Evans was awarded £10.8m at London’s High Court after complications at Lincoln County Hospital. Milly suffered fetal distress during her birth, is now confined to a wheelchair and needs 24-hour care.

They’re just some of the high profile cases that resulted in compensation as a result of mistakes made during birth. But, there are many other circumstances in which you may be entitled to make a claim:

During pregnancy

Pregnancy can naturally be a worrying time as you try to make sure you’re taking the right supplements, that you’re getting enough rest and that you’re not eating or drinking anything which could harm your unborn child.

But, there are circumstances which you simply can’t control. It may be that a condition such as pre eclampsia has not been diagnosed as early as it could have been.

Birth defects

Every mother longs for a healthy child. But where a little one has little chance of having a good quality of live, painful decisions may have to be made. Defects such as Down’s Syndrome or Spina Bfida can be detected before birth. Where they haven’t been and where a mother would have terminated her pregnancy if she had known, a claim for birth injury compensation can be made, usually to provide for the future healthcare of the disabled child.

Errors during birth

Mistakes made during the birth itself can have a devastating impact on mum and baby. Damage can be caused by improperly using medical instruments or anaesthetics while, for the child, there are many potential injuries which can be caused if proper care isn’t taken during the birth. These include cerebral palsy, brachial palsy, injuries to the spine or fractured bones.

Tragic cases

The worst cases can even result in the death of mum or baby. In the US, for example, a father is suing a New York hospital after his wife and their premature twins died during a natural birth. Victoria Rexach told doctors she would need a caesarean section but her husband claims she was forced to go ahead with a natural birth. The hospital meanwhile says it did everything it could to save her.

Meanwhile, in the UK, mum Sareena Ali and her baby died after poor care at Queen’s Hospital in Essex. Midwife Rebecca Matovu went home because she had finished her shift rather than helping with resuscitation efforts.

It’s easy to be scared by such stories, but the vast majority of births are happy occasions. The unlucky few who do suffer as a result of medical negligence quite rightly expected that they would be cared for properly. When that duty of care has not been met, a claim for compensation can be the way forward to make sure a family is able to properly look after mum or baby in the future.