:::Insert Cheesy Cliche Here:::

“They grow up so fast”…”Cherish every moment”…”They’re only little once”

All these are things that parents of young kids can easily tire of hearing. I know as a mom of two just over a year apart, I drew many comments from well intentioned strangers.  Thankfully, only once after becoming a mother for a third time did the urge to punch one of said strangers come to me, just for a moment, while at the pharmacy with two children dancing around my feet while a third cried to be held while I needed all the arms I had to handle what I was doing.  But I quickly reminded myself that this presumably very kind lady had not seen my morning and had no idea how much I’d “cherished” them that day and how little her ‘advice’ was helping me at that exact moment.

Now I don’t presume myself to be a wise old mom, ready to pass down all the answers to parenting, but I am far enough removed from the diapers and carseat, etc to know…they were right…it does go so quick!  I know I make empty-nesters giggle as I share my struggle to accept the growing up of my boys, the first of which will graduate 8th grade this year, but high school feels like such a huge milestone to me.  Being able to look eye to eye with my “baby” leaves me unable to deny that while in fact the days STILL are long, the years have flown by so insanely quickly.

I swear this feels like just yesterday and a thousand years ago all at the same time!

We LOVE the 90s

There’s just something about the music from when you were a teenager that takes you back. So when I saw an ad on Facebook for a show practically in my backyard at a beautiful venue featuring Vanilla Ice, Coolio and Tone Loc, I HAD to go!!!!
So I rounded up the crew, made up some matching “Ice Ice Baby” t-shirts and we hit the town 90s style!!!

First we hit the bar, where I was so excited to see some themed specialty drinks…
I couldn’t resist having a Funky Cold Medina at a Tone Loc show, but the Ice Ice Baby had to be tried too…

If you’re familiar with any of these acts you’d probably wonder how they’d fill three hours (yes it was slated for a three house show). Of course they each did their big hits, they did some covers and they did some free stylin’. Mostly it was just a party. We sang along and danced the whole time. It was a total blast! SO glad we went!!

And I’m surprised this needs to be said but if you plan to see any of these guys (or similar) know that it won’t be completely kid friendly. We did see some pretty young kids and even some grown ups were slightly shocked by some of the content. That’s just your common sense PSA for the day!

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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?