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.

We Saw @MissLorti at @GurneeMills

I LOVE my friend Miss Lori.  You may know her if you’re a mom of kids who’ve ever watch PBS Kids from Miss Lori’s Campus.  So when I found out that she was coming to Gurnee Mills with the PBS Kids Readers are Leaders concert we HAD to go see her.  And if she’s coming somewhere near YOU, you need to check it out too because there was…

…playing and winning…

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dancing and singing…

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…and smiling….

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…Arther meeting…

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…and selfie taking….

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And thanks to Aldi and Gurnee Mills and other sponsors there were lots of goodies including books and Aldi coupons!! It was a lot of fun and we can’t wait to see Miss Lori again!

 

For updates on appearances check out Miss Lori’s Campus on Facebook here.

There’s Still Time To Get to a White Sox Family Sunday

Thanks to the White Sox for hosting a wonderful day at the park!

Two of my favorite things in life are my kids and sports. Whenever you can combine multiple loves, you get the most perfect day! For me that’s what a day at the baseball field is. This season I had the pleasure of spending some special time at the White Sox Family Sunday with just my youngest. His older brothers were at camp and totally jealous but it was great to do something with just Bryan for a change. He played for the “Sox” this summer for T-Ball so we took his hat and he was able to get it signed. After the game he could have run the bases but without his older bodyguards brothers I was too nervous to send him into the herd.
white sox family sunday player autographs kids fun baseball white sox family sunday kids fun baseball
While we did enjoy some VIP treatment in a gorgeous skybox, tickets for Family Sundays are totally reasonable so you can actually afford to take the kids to a game. And parking is easy, no worries of getting hustled for “easy out” parking by some random guy on the side of the street. (yes, yes I love my Cubbies still but I have never loved their parking situation).

 

Check out tickets now.white sox family sunday chicago baseball

 

Famous Footwear to Open in Bolingbrook

Visit Famous Footwear’s grand opening of their Bolingbrook for their everyday deals as well as live music, special promotions and a chance to win FREE SHOES.

 

Famous Footwear  is opening a new store in Bolingbrook, Illinois, marking its 20th location in the Chicago market. The 4,274-square-foot store will open on September 10 and will host a series of grand opening event activities throughout the day. The new store is located in the Bolingbrook Promenade at 631 E Boughton Road.

 

To celebrate the opening in Bolingbrook, Famous Footwear is hosting an all-day grand opening event on September 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Shoppers are invited to experience fun activities including:

·         Special in-store promotions every two hours

·         A local shoe artist customizing shoes for customers from noon to 6 p.m.

·         Drawings every hour from noon to 6 p.m. for a chance to win free shoes

·         An appearance from popular local radio station, WKSC-FM, 103.5, giving shoppers the chance to meet some of their favorite radio personalities

·         A DJ spinning live music

 

“We strive to deliver easy victories to families who are looking for brand names at affordable prices,” continued Ausick. “Our in-store experience will prove you don’t have to compromise style or amazing customer service when shopping for great values.”

 

Famous Footwear recently launched their new mobile app which gives Rewards members 15 bonus points just for downloading, makes redeeming Rewards points even easier and gives shoppers access to exclusive mobile offers. The Famous Footwear app is available for download today on Google Play and iTunes or simply by texting APP to FAMOUS (326687) to get a mobile link.

 

Famous Footwear has more than 1,100 stores nationwide as well as an e-commerce site, Famous.com. The chain offers consumers more than 100 nationally recognized brands through its retail stores and website, including Nike, Vans, Converse, Sperry, Skechers, Naturalizer, Steve Madden, madden girl, Franco Sarto, adidas, New Balance, Roxy, Circus by Sam Edelman and Carlos by Carlos Santana. Famous Footwear is also a proud national partner of the March of Dimes.

 

For more information, visit www.Famous.com or www.Facebook.com/FamousFootwear.

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 AdoptAClassroom.org 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.