Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Family Halloween Costumes: Toy Story Theme

I love doing family Halloween costumes! Every year for Halloween my entire family dresses up. We pick a movie theme and everyone in the family picks a character from that movie to dress up as for Halloween. We do a lot of homemade costumes in our house and this year was no different. The theme for this year’s family Halloween costumes is Toy Story. We chose the Toys Story theme because my kiddos all love ALL of the Toy Story movies and there are enough characters for everyone to be able to pick someone to be for Halloween.

Family Toy Story Halloween Costume Theme

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze!

I was very excited to announce that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ® Presents Built To Amaze! is coming to Chicago again!

If you missed that post, be sure to use the promo code MOM to receive 40% on weekday shows and 20% on weekend shows. Plus, get even MORE value with FREE PARKING in all official Allstate Arena and United Center parking lots.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ® Presents Built To Amaze!

I wanted to share a coloring sheet with all of you today. My nuggets love to color and we will be using this coloring sheet as a jumping off point to get them prepared for the show and what they can expect to see.

I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld preShow events
Have you ever been to a Barnum & Bailey show? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to make a little green alien fleece baby hat #DIY #Halloween

My entire family dresses up each year for Halloween. We pick a movie and each person gets to be a character from that movie. This year we are dressing up as Toy Story for Halloween. My baby is going to be a little green alien, my middle child is going to be Buzz Lightyear, my oldest child is going to be Zurg, my husband is going to be Woody, and I am going to be Jessie. Everyone is getting homemade costumes with the exception of my middle child – simply because we already own a Buzz costume. We are doing Toy Story Halloween costumes and I could not be more excited. I got started by making this little green alien baby fleece hat.

The little green alien fleece turned out remarkably well. So well in fact, all of my children and some other family members have requested that I make one for them as well. From start to finish it took me about 2 hours to make this hat… maybe a little less. I did it during nap time one day and the next day I made my oldest son’s fleece Zurg hat {because you cannot BUY a Zurg costume anywhere! But that is another post all together}. I thought this was super easy to do, so I thought I would share it with you so that you can make it too!

How to make a little green alien fleece baby hat #DIY #Halloween #ToyStory #HomemadeCostume

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monsters University on Blu-ray and DVD combo pack October 29! #Review

I was a huge fan of Monsters Inc. when it came out and can remember going to see it in theaters. When I heard that there was going to be another movie with Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan “Sulley”, I knew that I needed to see it and I hoped that I would love it just as much as Monsters Inc. Monsters University did not disappoint. Thank you to Click Communications for providing me with a sample of Monsters University to review, my entire family has enjoyed watching over and over and over again!

Disney Pixar Monsters University on Blue-ray and DVD combo Oct 29, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Every year my family participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Each year our team goes to walk and to remember my grandfather who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. We created our team seven years ago when my grandfather passed away and each year we raise money, walk, and remember. My grandfather was one of the kindest most generous men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was an honorable man who passed down the value of family and taking care of one another.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Almond Cookie Recipe: A sweet little treat

I have been in the mood for Asian food lately. Be it the tangy orange chicken stir fry I shared with you last week or the shrimp Tai noodles I am planning on making for dinner tonight. I have been craving the tangy goodness of these dishes and have decided that I needed a dessert that would complement them, something simple and sweet. While preparing my dinner last week I took a peek in my pantry and discovered I had everything I needed on hand to whip up some almond cookies. So I did!

Almond Cookie Recipe, A quick and easy dessert.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Coming to CHICAGO: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze!

I am so excited to be going to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s new Built To Amaze event coming to Chicago! Last year we had the opportunity to see their Dragons show and we loved it. So when the US Family Guide and Feld offered to send my family to see Built To Amaze I was ecstatic! I cannot wait!

Coming to CHICAGO: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze!

Friday, October 18, 2013

#ad Orange Chicken Stir-Fry a Quick & Easy Dinner #MixNMatchMeals

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

There are some nights that my family is rushing out the door and quick meals are all we have time for. These are the nights that I look for easy meals or fast and easy recipes that my family can enjoy before hurrying off to our next appointment. I try to keep it healthy, fresh, and fun and I try to include the kids in my meal preparations as well.

I found the Tyson Mix and Match Creations at Walmart on a recent shopping trip with the kids and knew I had to give them a try. You can view my entire shopping trip on Google+. The Tyson Mix and Match Creations can feed a family of four for a little over $10.00, which is less than the typical cost of a single meal when dining out. The fact that the meal preparation was so quick and easy is what sold me on the idea. I knew this would be a perfect meal solution for those super busy nights when we are rushing to get out the door.

There are 192 flavor combinations {5 proteins, 6 sauces, and 8 sides} so you can Mix and Match any way you like! With so much to choose from I couldn’t decide, even with the handy little recipe cards on display. I turned the decision for dinner over to the kids. William picked the chicken, Steven chose the veggies, and I knew that the Tangy Orange Sauce would compliment both perfectly. 

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry Dinner Tutorial #MixNMatchMeals #shop

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Giving the Gift of Sleep with Pampers & Giveaway #DDDivas #DivasSleep #sponsored

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

My newborn baby girl sleeping

As the mother of a three month old, sleep is something I value very highly. Being given the gift of sleep is something I treasure and am extremely thankful for. Since I have a 4 year-old, 2 year-old, and 3 month-old all under one roof, sleeping through the night is unheard of in my house. My new baby girl is still feeding frequently throughout the night so I use Pampers Swaddlers so that she stays dry throughout the night and I can enjoy all the sleep I can get.

When Pampers asked me to put together a “Gift of Sleep” package for someone in my community I knew exactly what I wanted to include in my gift and I knew exactly where it would go.  I have been a loyal Pampers mom since the birth of my son 4 years ago and it is the only brand of disposable diapers that I recommend to my friends and family because of its superior dryness. If I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to change a leaky diaper that means that I am sleeping more and so is baby. Gifting someone Pampers is gifting them sleep.

Pampers Gift of Sleep Gift Basket

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Pumpkin Patch Kids

It is a family tradition to visit the pumpkin patch each fall with the kids. We go, we pick out pumpkins, and I take a gazillion pictures. My oldest is a complete ham and poses for me without my prompting. My middle child takes some cajoling in order to capture a good shot – and even then I am lucky if I can actually capture it on film {or digital… you know what I mean}. My baby girl is not yet able to sit unassisted, so she tends to take a lot more work. I am constantly thinking to myself when I try to capture these moments on camera, “How did my mother do it.”

My mother had five children and my parents took family portraits themselves each year. Usually these pictures were taken in front of a fireplace or a hideous chair, but they eventually captured all of their five children looking at the camera at the same time and smiling. WHAT! I call this witchcraft. Especially in a time that digital was unheard of and people had to wait to develop their film to see whether or not they got a good shot. I was not able to get a picture of the whole family, let alone one in which everyone is even looking in the same general direction. So – I tip my hat to you mom. Well done.

Posing at the Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Balsamic Tomato Mozzarella Salad #Recipe

The last time I went to visit my mother she made the most wonderful side salad. It was ridiculously delicious. I must have had at least four helpings of it. As someone who loves tomatoes, this salad was right up my alley and when she told me it was really easy to make I knew I was going to be making this as soon as I got home. Once again my mother was right. This balsamic tomato mozzarella salad is super quick and easy to make and the flavor is soooo good!

Balsamic Tomato Mozzarella Salad #Recipe

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Multifunctional Stokke Crusi Stroller with Sibling Solutions #Review

My family likes to travel and since there are so many of us now, a stroller is a necessity. It is really nice when the necessity of a stroller can be a luxury as well. Stokke recently sent over a sample of their Stokke Crusi stroller with the Sibling Solutions and I must say that it is defiantly a luxury stroller that I wish I could ride around in.

The Stokke Crusi is not only stylish, it is multifunctional. I have had the opportunity to use the Stokke Crusi stroller as a single stroller and as a double stroller and I have to say that there is a lot to like about both. It is a beautifully well crafted stroller that I really enjoy pushing around. The fact that it comes in purple is a big bonus!

Stokke Crusi Stroller with Siblings Solution makes this a multifunctional stroller

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I have a craft room!

Boxes are being unpacked and bins are being dusted off because I now have a craft room! We moved our washer and dryer to the basement {as the space for it on the first floor was little more than a glorified closet} and made a nice little mom cave for me to do laundry and get crafty in!

I could not be any happier, as I now have counter space for folding laundry and cabinetry for storing supplies. I have a work space for sewing, scrapbooking, gift wrapping, and getting crafty with the kids. I even have a space for my elliptical {hello winter workouts}. My husband thought of everything when creating this space for me. He even made sure to have an outlet and cable connection for me to mount a television on one wall so I can watch a show while going for a run indoors. It is perfect and there is nothing I would change.

Craft Room Cabinets: Above and Below Storage with a seated work space!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Broccoli Slaw #Recipe

I opened the front door this morning and there was a bite in the air, it was cold. The kids and I quickly gave hubby a kiss goodbye and sent him on his way and we hustled back inside for some nice warm indoor morning activities. The cold weather got me thinking about some of my favorite fall dinner dishes. One of my personal favorites is my husband’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

These pulled pork sandwiches are made in the Crockpot and they are delicious! They smell great and taste even better. They have a nice kick to them without going overboard in the spice department. I love them for a fall/winter meal and since it is a crock pot dish it is really simple to toss in and go about our day.

Pulled Pork Crockpot Recipe with Broccoli Slaw: Crockpot Meal & Broccoli Coleslaw recipe

Monday, October 7, 2013

Feeling Safe and Secure with the Britax Pinnacle 90 Car Seat #Review

My family is a growing family, and with the newest addition of my daughter we have been playing musical chairs with our car seats. I have had to go through and move car seats around and refresh my memory on the specifications {weight/height min/max} for each car seat. My oldest was very excited to be making the move to the back of the minivan where he would get a whole bench to himself. I was not as excited as the placement of his car seat would no longer allow me to use the LATCH system and I would be switching over to securing his car seat with a seat belt.

I spent some time online looking at car seats and happened across the Britax Pinnacle 90 car seat with click tight technology and thought that this could be the solution I was looking for. Needless to say, I was very excited when Britax sent me a Pinnacle 90 car seat sample for review. -Thank you Britax for providing the Pinnacle 90 car seat. It did not take long for me to become familiar with this car seat and to fall in love with how easy it was to install and use!

Britax Pinnacle 90 Car Seat #Review

Friday, October 4, 2013

Make your own LEGO Play Tray #DIY #CraftsForKids

This is the final Play Tray project that I have planned in the Play Tray craft series. I had to wait for my LEGO building plates to come in the mail before I could tackle this project. I ordered these for $5.00 a building plate off Amazon, as opposed to paying $14.99 for one in stores. It was worth the wait though. Once the LEGO building plates arrived my boys were more than ready to get to work on our last play tray!

How to make your own LEGO Play Tray #DIY #CraftsForKids #Tutorial

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boys and Bugs

I have been taking the kids to the park as much as possible lately. I know that it is technically Fall already, but I am holding onto the nice weather we have been experiencing with both hands and as if my life depended on it! I know that pretty soon it will turn cold and we will either have rain or snow {it’s Illinois – you never know what kind of weather to expect.} and park time will be a thing of the past.

Our recent jaunt to the park introduced my children to cicadas and toads, something they had not spent a lot of up close and personal time with before now. The little toad was a huge hit. My boys followed it around for quite a while. When they realized they were not quick enough catch it they asked mom to come to the rescue and pick it up so they could pet it…. Oh to be the mom of boys!

the little green toad

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Easy Baked Ravioli #Recipe

There are certain nights throughout the week that I am utterly exhausted and the last thing I want to do is stand in my kitchen trying to cook a gourmet meal while three children try to compete for my attention. On those nights I usually pull out a made ahead freezer meal to cook or I go for one of my staple dinner recipes that I can make blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. This is one of those recipes that I can whip up in no time and I do not need to be functioning on all four cylinders to create. It is really easy.

Not only is this easy baked ravioli simple and straightforward to make, it tastes good too. There is not a lot to it and everything in it can probably already be found in your kitchen; hence why this is a go-to recipe for crazy hectic nights. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does and find it just as simple to bake.

Easy Baked Ravioli Recipe and picture tutorial #Recipe #EasyDinnerDish #Ravioli

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