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.

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…

gurnee mills simon company shopping


dancing and singing…



…and smiling….



…Arther meeting…



…and selfie taking….



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.

Think Gray: 6 Must-Have Pieces for Fall

Content Provided by MakeMeChic

Fall season usually calls for less, vibrant colors. When you want to pile up on suits, heels and bags that are best worn for the season, start with the shade of gray on your canvass. It’s sophisticated and easy to pair with other pieces. Include knee-high riding boots, tote bag and 4 other must-have pieces in gray for fall 2014.



1. Riding Boots. Knee-high riding boots are a staple during fall season, and it’s always the black or tan boots you see everywhere. As a fashionable lady, you want your style to surpass anyone else’s. So if you want to be the center of attention, choose the gray color. For a unique take on riding boots, get a style that infuses two different materials: leatherette and fabric (Nb20049 Buckle Knee Riding Boots, $18).

NM-54FX_mx2. Shimmery Pants. From office wear to late night Friday partying, wear a pair of shimmery pants to highlight a young, yuppie, and fun vibe. These pants are close to the likes of leggings because of the tight-fitting structure. Such pants are seamless and they usually have a hidden side zipper. When picking one, make sure the length is precise on your legs. This should be worn above your ankle without any creases or folds at the hem (Akris Melissa Shimmery Slim Pants, $1,190).

00069313-023. Infinity Scarf. Always get the perfect wrap around your neck with an infinity scarf. Unlike the usual scarf, this one will lessen the time to get the perfect drape. Choose a striped one if you’re working on a casual jeans ensemble and a solid color for a more formal outfit. You’ll get perfect loops around your neck every single time (Striped Infinity Scarf, $9.80).

324. High Heels. Nude heels are great during spring and summer and black heels for all seasons. For fall, find a great canvass in gray high heels. Lots of high heels in gray color are available in various designs. You can either choose strappy ones, ankle straps, almond toe, stiletto heels or chunky heel pumps. To pump up your fashion statement, get a metallic pair (Anne Michelle Rapture-50 Perforated Heels, $28).

25. Tote Bag. Roomy and oversized bags are a thing during fall so use it in your everyday ensemble. It’s easy to put your blazer or a cardigan inside it, plus many other things you might carry. What’s great about having a gray tote is that it’s a great canvass for animal print scarves. Tie a zebra print scarf around the bag straps for a chic and feminine touch (Tory Burch “Emmy” Crossbody Tote, $295).

NM-52HK_mx6. Blazer. A fall wardrobe will be complete if you add a wool blazer to your casual or corporate ensemble. When donning a blazer, make sure you get a tailored-fit piece to flatter your frame. Instead of a plain one, opt for a style that suggests a mixture of vintage and modern feel to it. Plus, opt for a unique fabric design like chevron or swirl prints (Armani Collezioni Chevron-Knit Snap-Front Blazer, $1,245).

Do you have a gray piece for fall? What’s your staple piece during that season?

#FindTheWords #EMPOWER

BadgeAs the school year begins, too many children are already falling behind. I am 1 of 30 bloggers helping #FindtheWords with @SavetheChildren to raise awareness of the need for early childhood education for all kids. I am participating in this social media campaign to highlight 30 words in 30 days — to symbolize the 30 million fewer words that children from low-income homes hear by age 3.

Save the Children provides kids in need with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. Learn more about Save the Children’s work in the US and around the world: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6153159/k.C8D5/USA.htm


Quotes pictureChildren in quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, need special education, or get into future trouble with the law. [source: http://www.nea.org/home/18163.htm]

Children who have access to early childhood program earn more money per month as they enter the workforce.  [source: http://www.nea.org/home/18163.htm]

Early childhood education can help empower kids early, and help them reach their goals in school and beyond.


As a child I struggled with being painfully shy.  When I moved to a new town the summer before 6th grade I was lost.  Thankfully that was the summer I found a love of reading.  Until that point I had struggled with reading because I just wasn’t a fast reader so reading was more torturous than fun.  But books got me through that summer where I knew no one.  By middle school I’d made some good friends, and finally in high school I found my ‘thing’ in Student Council and I came out of my shell and began really having fun.

As a mom, I didn’t want my kids to struggle for as long as I felt I did.  I began early on trying to EMPOWER my kids socially and academically.  Before my oldest son was even born, our house was full of books.  There were books of every shape, size and material just waiting to foster a love of reading and learning.  When the boys were tiny I’d read to them whenever I could.  As they got a little wigglier we looked at the pictures or I read to them while they crawled around.  I didn’t worry about making them sit still to read an entire story, for me it was all about them developing a love for books.  It didn’t take long before they equated books with quality time snuggled up together and we’d spend HOURS pouring over books, rereading their favorites over and over.  There was never a push for them specifically to read and each entered Kindergarten with varying degrees of PRE-reading skills but none actually reading.  But they LOVED books.  We read daily.  And by the time each finished Kindergarten their reading levels were at least a full grade level ahead.  As my oldest enters 6th grade, our house is still FULL of books.  They are bigger, longer and cover a wider range of topics and tastes but reading is still a daily part of our family.  I HOPE that this love of reading helps them throughout their academic careers and beyond.

But school isn’t EVERYTHING.  And I believe everyone is happiest when they find something they truly love doing, so I’ve worked hard to EMPOWER my kids to get out and find out what it is that makes them happy.  This means that over the years we’ve tried a GREAT many activities, some that were a hit, like baseball which my 11 year old has played for 8 seasons now.  Some, like martial arts, didn’t work out but you never know until you try.  It’s amazing to see the difference in a child when they are able to be their real selves, doing something they enjoy with people who share the same passion.  Some people work their whole lives to figure out who they really are and how to be happy, but I HOPE that giving my kids the chance to get out and experience so many things empowers them to truly discover what they love and fully enjoy life!


Share your #Empower story for a chance to win…

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Visit Language Stars’ Back to School Open House

Content sponsored by Language Stars

It’s time to start thinking BACK TO SCHOOL.  If language learning is on your list for this year, Language Stars is just what you’re looking for and NOW is the perfect time to check them out.

Language Stars is a play-driven foreign language class for kids between the ages of 1 and 10 years old. Utilizing a high-energy, FunImmersion® method of instruction, students learn a foreign language through games, art projects, music and more. There are 15 locations throughout Chicago.



During Language Stars’ Back to School Open House event (July 28-August 16), parents are invited to come to a center and see the program in action. There are a bunch of events they can attend: ice cream socials, webinar, free trial class.  Visit Language Stars online to register for any or all of these fabulous free events to learn about their FunImmersion program and the benefits of learning language young.

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Free Trial Class

Experience Language Stars first hand. Tour a center, meet their international teaching team and try a FREE class. Plus, ask about the special Back to School tuition discount, multiple program discount, and pay in full discount.


Ice Cream Social

Cool off with some tasty treats and meet the team and other Language Stars Families.


FREE Webinar

Register for the Back to School webinar presented by Director of Education, Karen Gould. “Why Earlier is Better” is a short webinar, only 15 minutes and focuses on the benefits of learning language young, from early childhood through adulthood. Webinar will be available August 4, 2014.

Find All the Gifts the #GreatestDad will Want @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

GreatestDad facebook 2





If you have a techy dad in your life, Best Buy is usually the OBVIOUS go to for Father’s Day gifts.  But Best Buy has the perfect gift for ALL types of dads from the entertainer, gizmo guru, fitness fanatic or memory maker.

Entertainer – Gifts for the Dad who aspires to set up the ultimate man cave complete with gaming, sports, movies, listing to music, or just hanging out. This Dad loves to share so it also has everything at the ready for entertaining a crowd.

Gizmo Guru: Gifts for the dad that always wants to take his tech to the next level with the latest and greatest – always connected, at home and on the go.

Fitness Fanatic: Dad who doesn’t let age slow him down.  He has no fear and loves adventure, but aspires to be/keep healthy as well. Dad uses technology in a wide range of ways in his active life both for himself and the family for instance; Go Pro and Fit Bit to track activity and recording adventures, to portable batteries for on the go fitness, camping while listening to music / watching movies on the smartphone

Memory Maker: For the Dad that makes sure that not only all the memories are captured and stored (video/photo) but keeps the family organized and under control. Gifts for him make his life easier; Dad pays the bills with laptop, videos kids, back up storage for pictures, prints out schedules for baseball practices and games, etc.

If you’re anything like me, you wish you could give your dad the moon for all the things he does for you.  But sometimes our pockets don’t run as deep as our love.  While the truth is, Dad would be thrilled to just get to spend TIME with you on Father’s Day, you know you want to get him SOMETHING as a token of your appreciation.  So check out these great ideas from Best Buy for either under $100 or under $50!

Gifts under $100:

Powerbeats by Dr. Dre Clip-On Earbud Headphones

Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy [Extended Edition] Blu-ray

UE MINI BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Lifeproof Cell Phone Case

In-Case Campus Laptop Bag

Targus Topload Laptop Case

Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 Bluetooth Earbud Headphones with Charging Case

Plantronics Voyager Bluetooth Headset

LG Tone Pro Bluetooth Headset

WowWee MIP Robot

Gifts under $50

Roku Streaming HDMI Stick

Motorola S305 Headphones

Modal Case for iPhone 5/5s

Modal Bluetooth Speaker

Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes I-III Blu-ray

Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes IV-VI Blu-ray

Belkin Sportfit Armband for iPhone 5/5s & 5c

Griffin Survivor for iPhone 5/5s

Samsung Galaxy S 5 S-Views Case

Oster Cordless Rechargeable Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Tech21 Impacts Cell Phone Case

Eric Church – The Outsiders

Insignia Tablet Case

Zagg Invisi HD Shield

Twilight Zone: Fan Favorites

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

Family Guy: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball Blu-ray

Cobra 2-Way Radio

RemoProtocol Remote-Controlled Helicopter

Panasonic Nose and Facial Hair Trimmer

Philips Norelco Electric Razor

Wahl Chrome Pro 25-Piece Haircutting Kit
Don’t forget that along with all types of gifts for all types of Dads Best Buy also has free shipping on qualified orders and the low-price guarantee.GreatestDad facebook_0Still need more ideas??  Best Buy is hosting two Father’s Day Twitter Parties on Thursday June 5th at 7:00pm CST and Wednesday June 11th at 11:00am CST. Feel free to join one or both of these parties for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great products. Tweet #GreatestDad with your favorite Father’s Day Gift ideas from Best Buy.