Monday, December 27, 2010

Fun With Glitter Gurl

A few days ago Glitter Gurl texted me to ask if I could make her a New Years' Eve dress. As in this NYE. I told her yes, if it wasn't too complicated. Glitter Gurl doesn't sew. At all. I sew, but haven't done it well in years. I limit myself to crafty items that I can accomplish in 10 minutes or less. Zippers, button holes, gathering, and satiny shiny fabrics make me break out in hives. Sister Claudette would not be pleased. The dress Glitter Gurl had in mind would never be completed in time without a trip to the rubber room at St Joe's for me.

I did the next best thing. I started searching online for dresses that fit the description she gave me. And BINGO! I came up with several nice, reasonably priced dresses and I suggested we go to the mall to try them on.

A bit of history here...Glitter Gurl and I do not have the same flavor in fashion. I would go so far as to say she has no flavor. Shopping with her is the equivalent of stabbing myself in the eyes with hot pokers. And yet, in less than one hour at JCPenney's, she was paying for a lovely black velvet cocktail dress with this big broach in the center of the empire waist on a satin ribbon that tied in the back. On clearance and she had a $10 off coupon, so the total was under $30! The length was a little longer than she liked, but I could easily hem that.

We came back home, I pinned it where it needed to be hemmed and told her I'd get to it later that evening.

A few hours later she emails me...please tell me you haven't hemmed the dress yet.

No, why?

I found one I like better at Kohl's for $30.

Oh, OK. What does it look like?

It's black with a burgundy flower. And it has tulle, to make it poof a little.

This morning she texts me to say, what does an ear infection feel like? I feel like someone is stabbing me in the ear.

Yup, that's what they feel like. Call Kate's office and have them call in an RX. Amoxicillin at Walmart for $4 and take tylenol or ibuprofen too.*

Ughh can you just call Laura, they are such biotches at Kate's office, I hate talking to them.

Yeah ok fine.

K, Laura is calling it in now.

K thanks!

Oh and you shouldn't get stinkin drunk on antibiotics and please use back up birth control.

And don't tan!

Mom! What kind of girl do you think I am?

Just sayin, cuz that's how we got TOF.


Nooooo! On antibiotics.


Yeah and eat yogurt!

Did you hem that dress yet?

No, I told you that yesterday.

Maybe you didn't hear me...this phone is a piece of ca ca I'm not getting ur emails.

Maybe you didn't hear me! You're the one with the ear infection.

Good one! Ur jokes kill me! K luv you bye.

love you too!

*I'm Dr. Mom, I'm totally authorized to do stuff like that.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feed It Forward 2010

Have you heard about's Feed It Forward program? In it's third year, Feed It Forward is a way for to give back to the community by giving a gift of $10 Gift Certificates. You can give up to 40 gift certificates every day through December 31st. FOR FREE!

To begin sending gifts just sign into and add the email address of each person you wish to give to—as many as 40 people every single day. If you start now you still have eight days of giving. That's 320 gifts! is a trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide. brings people together to relax, converse and enjoy well-prepared and -served meals at affordable prices. Search for restaurants on and learn more about them by viewing their websites with menus, wine lists, photos, chef's backgrounds and more. When you find a restaurant, gift certificates are available for a fraction of the actual value. makes a night out on the town a lot easier on the wallet and the certificates are an excellent gift for any occasion.

I've been sending the free $10 gift certificates almost every day and I've purchased additional certificates to give as as holiday gifts. Right now use the code HOLIDAY through 12/25 and save 80% off at making your $25 gift card only $2.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disney On Ice Presents Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3

Still looking for a great stocking stuffer or a special gift for your kids, grandkids, nieces and/or nephews that just don't need anything. Or maybe you just want to chase away the winter doldrums. Newsflash! Haven't you heard? The toys are back in town!

Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3! The summer’s biggest hit movie, Toy Story 3, and memorable moments from Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are hitting the ice in this sensational live production coming to your hometown! Catch all the heroic action when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home in their most daring adventure ever. A few new faces join the fun including Barbie’s groovy bachelor Ken and Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear. It’s the biggest Toy Story experience on ice, jam-packed with fast-paced adventure such as Buzz’s galactic battle with Emperor Zurg and a hoe-down at Woody’s Roundup. Rediscover the humor, friendship and charm of Toy Story when Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 takes family fun to infinity and beyond!


Purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 (Valid Monday-Thursday and
Friday Matinees, excluding holidays) and save $4 on all weekend shows
by logging onto and entering the coupon code:

Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3 in the Chicagoland area at:

Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL

January 26-30, 2011

Wed, Jan 26 7:00PM

Thu, Jan 27 7:00PM

Fri, Jan 28 10:30AM,7:00PM

Sat, Jan 29 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM

Sun, Jan 30 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM+


United Center in Chicago, IL

February 2-13, 2010

Wed, Feb 2 7:00PM

Thu, Feb 3 10:30AM, 7:00PM

Fri, Feb 4 10:30AM, 7:00PM

Sat, Feb 5 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM

Sun, Feb 6 11:30AM, 3:00PM+

Wed, Feb 9 7:00PM

Thu, Feb 10 10:30AM, 7:00PM

Fri, Feb 11 10:30AM, 7:00PM

Sat, Feb 12 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM

Sat, Feb 13 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:00PM

The United Center is pleased to offer free parking during Disney on Ice Presents Pixar's Toy Story 3. Please visit their Parking Information page for details.

+ Spanish Language Shows.

*Use promotional code MOM when purchasing tickets at the Allstate Arena or United Center Box Offices, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Enter Code in the “MC Promotions Box” on Ticketmaster.

Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required. Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges and handling fees may apply. Discount not valid on Front Row or VIP seats.

Disclaimer: As a Feld Family Activator, my family and I
received tickets to attend Toy Story 3.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

$25 Safeway Gift Card Giveaway

It's that time of year again! Spread holiday cheer to your friends and family with the gift of freshly baked Betty Crocker treats. From a Snowman Coconut Cake to Classic Gingerbread Man Cookies, sharing the warmth and sweetness has never been easier.

This year, why not start a new tradition? With a little help from Betty Crocker, GladWare and the Safeway Family of Stores, you can keep your loved ones' hearts and homes filled with holiday spirit and homemade goodness of Betty Crocker. Whip up a plate full of cookies using a recipe from

Once you've finished baking, share it in GladWare! Glad food storage products are the perfect solution for preparing, storing and transporting holiday goods. They're also great for gift giving too, so count on Glad products to help keep your holiday foods fresh and festive and ready to serve.

I have a “Happy Holiday Treats” prize pack that includes a package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix, a GladWare sample pack and a $25 Safeway gift card (also valid at Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, and Genuardi’s) to give away to one reader.

To enter to win:

Leave me a comment telling me about your holiday baking traditions.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry and follow all the rules or your entries will not count!
Remember to leave one comment per entry.

  • Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow me on Twitter and leave your username.
  • Tweet about this giveaway.
  • Subscribe to my blog in your reader.

This giveaway ends on Wednesday, December 29th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: The prize pack, information and additional prize pack to give away were all given to me by Safeway, Betty Crocker, and Glad through MyBlogSpark.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Will Not Stress, I Will Not Stress, I will Not Stress

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is or should be in full swing by now. Time to get the stockings hung and to trim the tree. So much to do and so much running around. Ready or not-in less than two weeks, Christians will celebrate Christmas in all it’s glory.

As I blog hop and read Facebook updates in the early morning with my cup of hot cawfee in hand, I enjoy reading stories of elaborate holiday preparations. Some are baking and decorating dozens and dozens of tasty cookies to share with family, friends, neighbors, teachers, the doorman, the mailman and practically everyone they pass on the street.

Others are painstakingly crafting handmade gifts for everyone on their list; or perhaps selecting the picture perfect matching outfits for their annual Christmas card.

Hey, I'm on the road today, read the rest at The Chicago Moms.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

SSS Real Reveal

So I was a bit of a tease when I posted this picture last week of My SSS gifts all wrapped up and ready to send to an unsuspecting recipient.

It's been cold and snowy here on The Avenue, so I decided to share that snow across the miles.

The theme was snowmen, more specifically PINK snowmen.

Because PINK is the best color and my Secret Santa partner knows it.

Pink polka dots on mittens?


Happy Holidays!

Aha, the first clue, M&M's that look like snowflakes.

Not mittens at all, but socks to keep her tootsies warm when it snows.

Big clue here!

A snowman ornament.

A snowman pin.

And finally a chubby little snowman picture frame

I hope my Secret Santa enjoys her presents as much as I enjoyed choosing them especially for her.

Tomorrow I'll share what I received.

I apologize for this mess of pictures, I have no clue what blogger is up to :(

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1-800 Family of Brands-$50 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Being a SAH Mema has it's advantages and disadvantages. I love, love, love being home with my grand muffins, especially when the outdoor temp dips to a bitter six degrees. I don't have to venture out if I don't want to, but there are also times that I'm prevented from attending a special event when I do want to.

One of these events recently, was a lovely blogger brunch sponsored by the 1-800 Flowers family of companies at their Chicago area headquarters.

Yes, I said companies. It's not just flowers, it's flowers, gift baskets, cookies, popcorn, candy and wine too. Check it out!

The Popcorn Factory
Fannie May

I was so distraught over not being able to attend the ball this fabuloso event, that the kind fairy godmother rep at 1-800 Flowers sent me a 2 gallon three way tin of yummy yummy popcorn and a $50 gift card to share with my readers.

Mmmm, butter, cheese and sweet, melt in your mouth caramel dancing on my taste buds. Whynot, the boys and I couldn't stop popping handfuls of the deliciousness into our mouths as soon as the package arrived and now my tin looks like this.

Oops. So much for sharing with family on Christmas Day.

The kind fairy godmother rep wants your holidays to be shiny and bright too, so one reader will receive a $50 gift card to use at any one of their family of brands' sites.

To enter to win:

Visit any or all of the websites 1800FLOWERS, 1800BASKETS, Cheryl's, The Popcorn Factory, Fannie May, or and tell me in a comment what you would choose if you won. Please leave a link to your choice in the comment and also an email so that I can get in touch with you if you should win.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry and follow all the rules or your entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.

  • Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow me on Twitter and leave your user name.
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Megryansmom is hosting a 1-800 Flowers $50 gift card #giveaway
  • Subscribe to my blog in your reader.

This giveaway ends on Wednesday, December 15th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: 1-800-FLOWERS.COM provided a Holiday Poinsettia Popcorn tin for me to review and one $50 gift certificate to giveaway. I received no other compensation and the opinions shared are my own.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Secret Santa Soiree 2010

This marks my third year of participating in Georgie of Decisionally Challenged's, Secret Santa Soiree.

There were 26 returning participants and if you're nosey you can check them all out over at Georgie's blog.

We did things a little differently this year, by blogging about our package before we sent them to our partner. I'm so excited, I really hope my partner likes her package.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fragments

Friday, December 3rd here on The Avenue and I'm pretty sure every where else too. Well maybe not in places like Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. But my point is, it's 21 days and 8 or 9 hours til Christmas! Squeeeee!


Wanna see my tree? Really? You do? Funny thing, I'd like to see it too. #1 I can't find my camera and #2 my tree is still in a box in the utility room. Two people live in this house and one doesn't seem to be motivated to put up a tree so the other one has taken on an "I don't give a crap attitude."


Lately I feel like the Little Red Hen. I've been planting, harvesting, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and baking the flour into bread all by myself. When it comes time to eat the bread, everyone will be in line drooling like Pavlov's dogs. And guess what? I only made enough bread for ONE this time! And I'm not sharing!


The Elf on a Shelf has returned. TOF is beyond thrilled about this little tradition we started last year. Every morning he sets out to find Tank's hiding place. His face lights up like a Christmas tree when he finds him.


Augie Dawgs and I took the boys to Portrait Innovations for Christmas pictures. Always a good time there. What a clusterfark! Unorganized and horrible wait times. We waited over 45 minutes for our appointment. The printer broke the day before, so they were back logged. I know they have no control over that, but still it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the prior day's customers can wait and they should be running the current pictures and catching up when they can. But they have us over a barrel, they are super cheap and take nice pictures. It still makes me mad.

Got the results of my blood work back. I'm not pregnant! HA! Wouldn't that be the frosting on the cake. I'm perimenopausal. NO? REALLY? Guess it's good to know there is a reason for my crazy lunatic behavior. Glucose is fine, cholesterol is fine. I guess I'll just keep eating the way I am and they can just plop me in a wheel barrow to get me places.


And now I have to scoot, because TOF is screaming his head off upstairs. Why won't that kid sleep!!??

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baby Einstein Discovery Kit Review

We are big fans of all things Baby Einstein here on The Avenue, so when I heard that they were releasing a new product called Baby Einstein Discovery Kits I was very excited to review the Wild Animal Safari kit with TC.

Each Discovery Kit features 3 different products in one package: a DVD, a CD, and a book or set of flash cards, they also come with a parent's guide to offer suggestions on how parents can use the discovery kits to interact with their babies. There are 3 different levels of Discovery Kits that grow with your baby:

Level 1: Experience

Baby Beethoven™ Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Book, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parent and child will listen to the joyous sounds and cherished works of Beethoven. See how music celebrates the sounds of different instruments. Together, they will experience a world of enchanting sights and sounds and make new discoveries with Baby Beethoven.

Baby Mozart™ Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Book, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parent and child will discover the joy of classical music together and listen to Mozart’s popular works – including “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” – delightfully reorchestrated for little ears. They’ll look at real-life images and enchanting puppet shows bringing a symphony of sights and sounds together as they share new discoveries with Baby Mozart.

Level 2: Explore

Wild Animal Safari Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Discovery Cards, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parents can take their little explorer on an exotic musical expedition to meet wild animals from across the globe. Together, they’ll journey to the jungle, savanna, desert and forest on a wild, wonderful voyage of discovery with Wild Animal Safari.

Animals Around Me Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Discovery Cards, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parent and child set off on a fun-filled “field trip” to discover animals found at the park, on the farm, and in their own backyard – whether furry or feathered, winged or wiggly, bumpy or cuddly, they’ll explore the Animals Around Me.

Level 3: Expression

World of Colors Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Book, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parent and child share a rainbow of sights and sounds and discover the wonders of color together! They’ll join puppet host “Vincent Van Goat” as he creates six Van Gogh masterpieces exploring red, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple with World of Colors.

World of Words Discovery Kit includes a DVD, Book, Music CD and Parents’ Guide.
Parent and child join playful puppet host Bard the Dragon on an exciting adventure using everyday words, such as flower, cat, and moon, plus beautiful scenery from nature with World of Words.

These new kits will replace the current Baby Einstein DVDs and all of the DVDs in the kits are either completely new, or have been updated and enhanced. The overall Discovery Kit experience is completely new. The first six Discovery Kits are available for purchase November 23, 2010 and three additional Discovery Kits will be available in early 2011.

TC loved the bright colors, the real life animals and the silly puppet shows. Not wanting to be left out, big brother TOF enjoyed holding up the flash cards and naming the animals for his baby brother. The flash cards have animal facts on the back which kept things more interesting for TOF and for me too. Did you know that a lion's roar is so loud it can be heard five miles away? Or that a tiger's stripes are like fingerprints? No two are alike!

TC, TOF and I really enjoyed the new Baby Einstein Wild Animal Safari Discovery Kit and give it three thumbs up.

Disclaimer: I was sent a Discovery Kit for the purpose of review, all opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was received.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adopted Ed

November is National Adoption Month and even though I am not adopted, nor did I adopt any of my children, I'd like to bring your attention to a wonderful new children's book that addresses adoption.

Adopted Ed is a simple and beautifully illustrated story about an adopted little boy and his journey through his early years. Easy-to-read and understand, this book has important underlying messages of personal empowerment, social pressures and acceptance.

It focuses on the life of Eddie, an adopted little boy, who is just like every other boy and girl.

At school, when he is teased by bullies about being adopted, his mom offers words of wisdom, which ultimately gives him self-confidence to deal with the situation.

Over time, Eddie feels a strong void and becomes curious about his biological parents, which ultimately leads him to find out more. Adopted Ed concludes with a section of famous people who were adopted.

About the author:

Darren Maddern is just one of the many millions of adopted people throughout the world today.

Born in England, Darren was adopted when he was only 10 days old by Don and Dolly Maddern, an American military couple who were stationed at an American Air Force base just outside of Oxford.

Throughout his life Maddern has been asked about being adopted. Through candidly sharing his story, he’s helped many adoptees, parents of adopted children and parents considering adoption.

Adopted Ed is dedicated to both his adopted and biological parents with a special dedication to his mom, Dolly Maddern who passed away in 2000 and his pops, Don Maddern who joined her in 2009. It’s also dedicated to every adopted man, woman and child to remind them that they too are indeed – SPECIAL.

You can find Adopted Ed at

Watch for Darren Maddern's next book Tall Moll coming in early 2011.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Adopted Ed by One2One Network for the purpose of review. I received no other compensation.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010


There was a time when I had a different pair of shoes for just about every outfit I owned. I had black pumps, black flats, black strappy sandals. I had this awesome pair of spectator pumps that I wore with a polka dot dress. I had shoes in 4 or 5 different shades of pink. I also had a full time job outside the home to support my shoe fetish.

Dressy shoes have taken a back seat in my life, replaced instead by athletic shoes and slippers. Staying at home with the boys, I have little need for fancy stilettos. That doesn't mean that shoes don't matter to me, I just prefer the comfort of a sturdy pair of walking shoes for chasing TOF at the playground.

I have found that with my stay at home lifestyle, my walking shoes tend to wear out much more quickly than my dress shoes ever did. I like to alternate between a few different pairs of shoes for a little variety and I try to replace them when they start to show signs of wear. At I can always find the latest styles at a great price and Zappos also offers free shipping on all domestic orders. If you're not 100% satisfied with your purchase you can return your order for a full refund. Your return shipping costs are also free.

When you're looking for new shoes for yourself or the kiddos, be sure to check out

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

We had a great time at FUNundrum!

TOF was so excited about the motorcycles in the ball of death.

TC, well let's just say the popcorn was his favorite. He. wouldn't. sit. still. The child is high maintenance, but if we don't try we'll never know. So sorry to the little boy in front of us.

As for me, I LURVE, LURVE, LURVE the ellie fonts! There's no denying that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' newest addition, Barack, a 22 month old pachyderm, was the star of the show.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show will be at The United Center through November 28th.

You can still purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $44 (valid Monday-Thursday and Friday Matinees, excluding holidays) and save $4 on all weekend shows by logging onto and entering the coupon code: MOM* (enter code in the MC Productions box on Ticketmaster).(Service charges may apply)


Sat November 20 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sun November 21 1:00PM, 5:00PM
Tue November 23 7:00PM
Wed November 24 7:00PM
Fri November 26 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sat November 27 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sun November 28 1:00PM, 5:00PM

Parking is free for the Circus and all other family shows at the United Center!

Disclaimer: I received tickets to the show and no other compensation.
The opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Build-A-Bear Giveaway

On our latest beary special 'date' TOF, TC and I hit the mall. More specifically, Build-A-Bear Workshop, to check out their new Holiday lineup. A seasoned Build-A-Bear shopper, TOF was very excited to help TC make his very first bear reindeer.

When she asked us what the occasion was for visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop, Bianca didn't believe us when I told her Maxine sent us. I love how the employees always take time to make every visit extra special. Thanks Bianca, we'll be sure to put in a good word for you with Santa.

TC loved that Rudolph's nose lit up and that he talked to him. Super cute!

TOF knew just what to do after his Rudolph was stuffed. Time to wash and fluff.

Is there a someone special on your Christmas list that would love to have their very own Build-A-Bear? I just happen to have a $25 gift card to give away!

To enter:

Visit the Build-A-Bear Workshop website and tell me which special friend you would make and who it would be for.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
Remember to leave one comment per entry and an email so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner.

* Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.

* Follow me on Twitter.

* Tweet about this giveaway. I entered to win a $25 Build-A-Bear gift card from @megryansmom #BABW #giveaway

* Subscribe to my blog in your reader.

* Enter this giveaway into another giveaway linky on another blog or website. Then leave me the link to where you posted it in the comments.

* If you want to stumble, plurk, digg etc. have at it, just leave me a comment with the details.

This giveaway ends on Monday November 29th and the winner will be notified by email.

Shop at Build-A-Bear Workshop through November 24 and receive a free stocking with a purchase of $30 or more.

Disclaimer: Build-A-Bear provided me with a gift card for TOF to make a special friend and also one to giveaway on this blog. All opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was received.
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Panko Review and Giveaway

The winner is my Okie friend Dawn!

If the survival of mankind depended on my cooking, the human race would suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs did once upon a little while.

I loathe cooking!

Is there a word stronger than loathe?

I never have the right ingredients, I'm too tired, too lazy, I don't like to clean up.

It's just the two of us.

I'm preoccupied, forgetful. I burn things or they are underdone.

I'd be happy to eat out every day or just have a bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, Whynot and I do not see eye to eye with these options and so I cook for the sake of survival.

The other day, as I stared at two 1/2 thawed chicken breasts, daydreaming of how fabulous it would be to sit down to a deliciously prepared by someone else plate of Chicken Piccata, I remembered the box of Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko in the pantry.

The chef´s secret is out - panko is in! A longtime secret of Japanese cuisine, panko is now a pantry staple for creating perfect crispiness in any dish. This fall, Lemon Pepper will join the ranks of Progresso´s line of panko bread crumbs, which includes Original and Italian flavors.

Whether frying, baking or broiling, this culinary superstar adds a flavorful crunch to create simple, savory recipes. Made from the soft, tender centers of the bread, Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko combines the perfect crunch with effortless flavor to give any dish that extra punch. The large, flaky crumb has a coarser texture than traditional bread crumbs, delivering a lighter, crunchier coating or topping.

I adapted a super easy crusted salmon recipe from the back of the box using 1/2 a cup of Panko, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons fresh buttery flavored spread. I mixed it all together, and pressed it evenly on the chicken breasts. One half hour later I placed the baked chicken on top of some green beans and called it dinner.

If you´d like to try Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko for yourself, I am giving away a gift pack including one package of Panko and an autographed copy of Chef Michael Chiarello´s new cookbook: Michael Chiarello´s Bottega.

A chef known for his emphasis on creating delicious dishes with fresh, premium ingredients, Chef Chiarello uses panko as his go-to bread crumb for a crunch that won´t quit. An Emmy-award winning TV chef and cookbook author, Chef Chiarello is the tastemaker behind Bottega Napa Valley Restaurant, NapaStyle and Chiarello Family Vineyards, and appears on The Cooking Channel and Top Chef Masters only on Bravo.

Chef Chiarello is helping cooks everywhere use Progresso´s panko to make flavorful, flawless recipes including Crispy Seafood Salad, Mama Chiarello's Stuffed Eggplant and Turkey Scallopini and Squash Ravioli with Cranberry Brown Butter.

To enter:

Visit the Progresso website and tell me a recipe you'd like to try using panko.

To increase your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following.
Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count!
Remember to leave one comment per entry and an email so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner.

  • Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.
  • Tweet about this giveaway.
  • Subscribe to my blog in your reader.
  • Enter this giveaway into another giveaway linky on another blog or website. Then leave me the link to where you posted it in the comments.
  • If you want to stumble, plurk, digg etc. have at it, just leave me a comment with the details.
This giveaway ends on November 23rd and the winner will be notified by email.

Visit the Progresso website for additional recipes, tips for cooking with panko, video and a coupon for $1 off any panko flavor.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Progresso's Wine & Dine with Chef Michael Chiarello Sweepstakes. Now through December 31st, participants can enter for the chance to win a trip for two to Napa Valley to attend the Spring Bud Break Party, an annual dinner and wine tasting event taking place on May 7, 2011. In addition to two tickets to the party, the grand prize also includes roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations. Visit for the sweepstakes rules and entry form.

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Disclaimer: General Mills through MyBlogSpark provided me with a box of panko and an autographed cookbook as well as an identical prize pacakge to giveaway to one reader. I received no other compensation.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Quickie

To all of you taken aback, put off, or inconvenienced by the body scan at airports:

Read Erin's account and you may reconsider your opinion. Go ahead I'll wait, I'll even wait for you to pick your chin up off the floor.

Now what were you saying about that body scan?

Whynot and I recently flew to Kansas City, we were fortunate enough to be selected to pass through the body scanner. It was very early on a Saturday morning, I thought nothing of it. It was no big deal to me. Besides, any government employee who would get his rocks off looking at a scan of this grandma is pretty sad off IMO.

After reading about Erin's incident I'll gladly choose the body scanner over a pat down thank you very much!
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Mickey Mote Review


I think I've mentioned once or twice how excited we all get on The Avenue when a delivery truck slows down in front of our house. Well the other day I think my west coast neighbors could hear the delighted squeals when we received a Mickey Mote and a copy of Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Numbers Roundup Play Set and Handy Manny’s Big Construction Job for review from Technorati Media.

I know what you're thinking...

What is a Mickey Mote?

A Mickey Mote is a one-of-a-kind, child-friendly handheld remote control, shaped like Mickey ears, that provides children with an engaging interaction with their favorite Disney Preschool DVDs.

How does it work?

The Mickey Mote works with any Disney Preschool DVD that includes a “Discovery Mode™ (an interactive “Watch & Play” feature on the DVD), feature. All parents have to do is program the remote control to their TV and within minutes, kids can easily begin engaging and responding to questions about scenes they just watched using the Mickey Mote.

Ay yi yi yi, parents have to program. Let me just say the DVD player and I are not friends. I'm an old school VCR kind of girl. Oh sure I can pop a movie in and watch, sometimes, but anything more complicated than that and I'm completely lost. I considered sending the package home with TOF so that Durwood could figure it out, but that would be cheating. Sort of. I mustered up some courage and sat down with the tiny sheet of directions while two very impatient toddlers were all set to play their brand new video games. It was just like a watched pot never boils. But you know what? I DID IT! It took 2 tries because reading and comprehension are skills that I sometimes lack LOL

We were good to go. Or so we thought.

Our next obstacle was overcoming the Fast-Play feature. The menu never popped up to choose the Discovery Mode, but being as my thinking cap was already on, I realized that if I just hit the menu button, I could get to that root menu and select from there.

Ta daaa! And my little helpers were still so excited.

The remote is geared towards 2-5 year olds and my testers are a brand new 4 and 4 and 8 months. The first DVD we watched was Handy Manny. There are two difficulty levels and to start out I chose the least difficult of the two. I noticed that the interactive questions came on rather infrequently and seemed far too easy for my little testers, they however didn't seem to mind. TOF understood that he needed to point the remote directly at the DVD player, while Calla had a little difficulty remembering.

When testing the Mickey's Number Round Up, I chose the more difficult level and it appeared that there was more frequent interaction during the video.

Now, you're probably wondering...

How do I purchase one?

The new Mickey Mote will soon be packaged with the purchase of any new Discovery Mode enhanced Disney Preschool DVD released after November 16, 2010. The first two titles to include the new remote include Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup and Handy Manny: Big Construction Job.

How much does it cost?

The Mickey Mote is not sold individually. Beginning on November 16, 2010 consumers can own the Mickey Mote with the purchase of either the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Number Roundup and/or Handy Manny: Big Construction Job DVDs –which each retail for the suggested price of $29.99 (US)/$35.99 (Canada).

Can I use it with other DVDs?

The remote control is also backwards compatible to work with any previously released Disney Preschool titles that include the “Discovery Mode” interactive feature.
To date, the remote will work with any of the following titles:
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Little Einstein’s: Fire Truck Blast Off
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Choo Choo
  • Handy Manny’s: Manny’s Motorcycle Adventure
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s Bowtique
  • Handy Manny’s: Manny’s Big Race
  • My Friends Tigger and Pooh: Super Duper Super Sleuths
  • My Friends Tigger and Pooh: Bedtime with Pooh
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup
  • Handy Manny’s: Manny’s Construction Job
Overall, the kids really enjoyed their new video games. TOF being a boy of few words, just like his Pa, said it was a good game. Calla mentioned that she would prefer to have princess videos. I especially liked that they really had to pay attention and use their little minds to answer the questions. I also liked that the video could be played in a traditional format (with no remote or interaction) so that they could just enjoy the video or dance around and sing.

Disclaimer: We were provided a Mickey Mote and two videos byTechnorati Media for the purpose of review. No monetary compensation was received and the opinions are our own.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards

Based on the idea that 40 is the new 20, Halloween is now the new Thanksgiving. Which actually means I'm exactly one week late in getting into the Christmas spirit.

The malls are decked out in their holiday finery and rumor has it that Santa has already visited a few retail establishments. Well obviously not the real Santa, he's far too busy at the North Pole.

Are you thinking Christmas yet? High on my to do list are Christmas cards.

Shutterfly offers hundreds of beautiful designs for Christmas cards, holiday party invitations, gift tags or thank you cards. For someone who has a difficult time making a decision, I love that you can refine your choices by color, size, even a specific designer.

I think I've narrowed it down to this one.

Or maybe this is better?

But this one is cute too.

Hrmppph, I guess I haven't really narrowed it down at all.

Disclaimer: I received 50 free cards from Shutterfly for this post. If you're a blogger and would like to receive free cards visit Shutterfly at
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Norah Jones' ...Featuring

It's nap time here on The Avenue, not for me, but TC is sound asleep in his crib upstairs, dreaming of chicken nuggets and sliced avocados and animal crackers. Hey, we don't call him The Chunk for nothin'.

Years ago, I read somewhere that music during nap time boosts brain development, so I always play soft music.

Let me tell you a little about what's in my CD player right now.

...Featuring is a star-studded collection of Norah Jones' collaborations spanning her entire career. The result serves as a kind of parallel history to her four albums, which have sold over 40 million copies worldwide.

“A lot of the people on this record are people I've worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” says Norah. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.”

The 18 songs on the album include cool cameos, collaborations and duets with such legends as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton, and with 21st Century icons from OutKast to the Foo Fighters.

The tracks on …Featuring span Norah’s entire career and reveal her astonishing musical versatility, from jazz to country, hip-hop to rock and include:

1. Love Me – The Little Willies
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward

…Featuring will be released on November 16. You can preorder your copy at

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of ...Featuring for the purpose of reviewing here on my blog. By doing so I am entered to win a gift card through One2One Network.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicago Toy and Game Fair

I've been invited to attend the Chicago Toy and Game Fair being held at Navy Pier on November 20 and 21, 2010.

But even more exciting....I have a family pass for you!

That's right, one lucky family out there in Readerville can win a pass to attend a fun filled day of previewing and playing the hottest and latest new toys and games!

Just leave me a comment telling me what your favorite toy was growing up and an email address so that I can contact you in the event you should win.

Oh and my favorite toy was a baby doll with an adorable red and white dress with hearts on it. She came with this awesome playset that you could transform into different things. A swing, a highchair, a stroller and even a playpen. No clue what she was called, but I loved, loved, loved that babydoll!

Disclaimer: I was given passes to the Toy and Game Fair and no other monetary compensation.
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Monday, November 1, 2010


To my friend and fellow Chicago mom-blogger Dawn Meehan on the release of her newest book You'll Lose the Baby Weight and Other Lies about Pregnancy and Childbirth

Come join Dawn for an evening of fun and laughter as she does some stand-up comedy at a book launch party this Tuesday, November 2nd at The Comedy Sportz Theater, 929 W. Belmont in Chicago from 6:30 - 9:30.

And what better way to celebrate a book on pregnancy than with a baby shower? Bring diapers, formula, or new/gently used baby clothes and be entered in a drawing for raffle prizes from Johnson's Baby, Suave, Sonic - America's Drive-In, and more! Donations will benefit Wings (Women in Need Growing Stronger), a non-profit organization that helps women and children who are fleeing domestic violence.

Admission is free and if you know any fireman, bring them along too!
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hi, thanks for stopping by, but I'm not here right now. In between Trick or Treating with the Dynamic Duo, I'm moonlighting over at The Chicago Moms today. Please stop by and see what Glitter Gurl has gone and done now.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Only Me!

So to catch you all up to speed. On October 4th, Whynot brought home a stray puppy. An adorable mini Doxie mix, which after much deliberation, we named Gracy. Being responsible pet owners, we immediately took her to our vet, where she got all the necessary shots and blood work and heart worm meds. The vet determined that she had not been spayed so I contacted Friends of Animals for a low cost spay certificate and scheduled the surgery for this past Tuesday.

Tuesday evening we brought home one very groggy pup a container of pain meds and an instruction sheet stating she would be back to her old self minus one uterus and two ovaries in two days. Two days later we had on our hands one 9 lb whack job pup. She was showing aggression towards our other dog, Bella and to TOF and barking like a crazy banshee at every little noise.

Friday I called the vet, he was busy and then I missed his return call. This morning he calls me back and I explained his behavior to her.

Are you sitting down? The vet says sometimes, depending on where they are at in their cycle, the spaying could release hormones and she may be experiencing a false pregnancy. And then just like a quote from Meet the Parents, he suggested I milk my dog. If there's milk, BINGO, there's the problem and she'll be fine in 2-3 weeks.

So now add milked a dog to my resume.

And say a prayer for my husband, who has the pleasure of living with another crazy, psycho, pms-ing female.

Only here on The Avenue! Only me!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Circus Is Coming!

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show will be at The Allstate Arena from November 4th-14th and The United Center from November 17th-28th.

This year's show FUNundrum, honoring the 200th anniversary of the birth of P.T. Barnum, features 130 performers, elephants, cowboys, pirates and mermaids. It's a spectacle befitting the Greatest Showman on Earth and the father of the modern circus.

Purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $44 (valid Monday-Thursday and Friday Matinees, excluding holidays) and save $4 on all weekend shows by logging onto and entering the coupon code: MOM* (enter code in the MC Productions box on Ticketmaster).

Click on the image above for a printable coloring page for the kids to enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Windy City

Wowza! The Chicago area sure is living up to it's nickname*.




I don't mean to mock Mother Nature, but living in Tornado Alley, I've seen worse storms in my day.

In May of 2003, half way through Big Mouse's high school graduation, the gym was evacuated and we were escorted to the center of the school until it was safe to commence with the commencement. We later learned that a tornado touched down just a few blocks away and tore the roofs off several houses.

Today? This is nothing. Here on The Avenue I never heard the sirens, they didn't cancel school, it's business as usual, with the exception of a downed fence panel in my backyard.

And yet, in the back of my head, I can hear my mother and late Aunt Lucy's voices lament, "Koniec Swiata**!" I'll say a prayer just in case, so that my little dogs don't blow away.

*Being a native Chicagoan, I understand that the name Windy City has nothing to do with weather and all to do with the politicians.
**The end of the World.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Crafts, Take One

Mema, we're going to make skeletons with ear picks?

Yes Calla, we are.

That's so silly!

Calla, silly is what Mema does best!

Disclaimer: 21 ear picks were harmed in this project, but they were from the dollar store, so it was a small sacrifice for the sake of silly art.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Exploring Trees Inside and Out

Hey Chicago area readers, if you don’t have any plans for the weekend, this Saturday, October 23rd is launch of of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s latest environmental and educational exhibit, “Exploring Trees Inside and Out”. The traveling tree exhibit will be on view at the museum through January 2011.

Presented by Doubletree Hotels and the Arbor Day Foundation, this 2,500-square-foot traveling exhibit is designed to help young children (ages 2-7) experience the sights, sounds and scents of a tree. Your children can climb through a larger-than-life tree from the roots to the canopy, lie in the rope netting for a bird's eye view, and jump into a giant bird's nest.

At the numerous nature sensation stations throughout the exhibit, your children will use their senses to smell cinnamon, chocolate, cedar, fruits and flowers. Together you can touch different bark textures, hear the water flowing through a leaf and learn about photosynthesis.

While visiting the exhibit, children can experience a glimpse of the wonders that await them outside in their own neighborhoods and learn the simple steps they can take to help conserve the Earth’s natural resources.

The Nature Museum is located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park, just north of the Lincoln Park Zoo and is open every day except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is free with paid museum admission; Adults – $9 Students and Seniors age 60+ – $7
Children ages 3-12 – $6 Children under 3 – Free

Disclaimer: My family and I were invited to tour the exhibit at a media event 10-23-10, no other compensation was received.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feeling Pink Today!

I'm guest posting over at Peanut Butter in My Hair today. Stop by and comment to be entered into a drawing to win an apron from It's All in the Bag.

Fake (+)(+), Perfect (o)(o), Perky (*)(*),
Cold (^)(^) and even Grandmas\o/ \o/
Big ( • )( • ) or small (.) (.)
And don't forget the crooked (,)(')
Save Them All.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Mix Pups Party!

We don't have many strictly girlie toys here on The Avenue anymore, so when I was contacted by MomSelect to host a Mix Pups party I knew that TOF's almost 4 year old friend Calla (not her real name) would be thrilled. Little did I know how much TOF would enjoy them too.

I didn't want to hover, I try not be one of those caregivers, so after opening all the packages, I sat back and observed as the kids played.

They were so excited to play with the Mix Pups. I love that they come with so many accessories and are super cute!

Calla told me that they were fun and the one with the purple hair and pony tail is cute. She loves to change their hair and put different head bands on them. TOF thinks they are cool and likes to play with the soccer accessories the most.

They've been playing with them non-stop and the best part, when they are done for the day, all the pieces fit nicely into a small lingerie bag, making it a great take along toy.

The new Mix Pups collection features sixteen individual collector puppies, including Roxy the Chihuahua, Annie the Bulldog, Lucy the Dalmatian, Chloe the White Poodle, Sophie the Silver Yorkie, Maddie the Dachshund, Sandy the Retriever, Amy the Boston Terrier, Molly the Cavalier, Daisy the White Terrier, CoCo the Chocolate Labrador, Shelby the Husky, Bailey the Beagle, Zoey the Pink Poodle, Sallie the Pink Pooch, and Susie the Gold Yorkie.

Mix Pups can be found at Toys R Us and range in price from $5.99 for the single packs, $9.99 for the double packs, $4.99 for the accessories, and $19.99–$24.99 for the playsets.

Disclaimer: I was sent Mix Pups by Jazwares through MomSelect, I was not given any monetary compensation and all opinions are my own.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Barnum's FUNundrum!

The very first time I attended the circus was with my Girl Scout troop, way back when I was about 7 and it was still held at the International Amphitheater. Yeah that's a long time ago!

Last year, I had the pleasure of taking TOF to his very first performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and we're going back for more next month!

That's right, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the longest continually running family entertainment production in the world, is coming back to Chicago, with performances at the Allstate Arena on November 4-14th and at the United Center November 17-28th.

You can purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $44 (valid Monday-Thursday and Friday Matinees, excluding holidays) and save $4 on all weekend shows by logging onto and entering the coupon code: MOM* (enter code in the MC Productions box on Ticketmaster).

Disclaimer: My family was given tickets to the circus in exchange for my post.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A One Armed Paper Hanger

Busier than a one armed paper hanger. I've only ever known two people to use that phrase in my entire 48 year lifespan. Her and her. If you really give it some thought a one armed paper hanger can't really be that busy. Oh sure, if he had work, it may take him a while longer to get it done, what with one hand and all. Thus giving the appearance of being busy. If he only had one hand and two arms, that might make the job go more smoothly. But realistically, who is gonna hire a one armed paper hanger?

I, on the other hand...eww bad pun even for me.

On the contrary, I have been crazy busy spinning wheels. Both literally and figuratively. It's just amazing how much work little people are!

They need to eat/be fed. They need constant nagging reminding.

Get dressed.

Get dressed.

Get dressed.

Brush your teeth.

Brush your teeth.

Brush your teeth.

Please get dressed.

Go brush your teeth.

Go potty!

Are you dressed?

Did you brush your teeth?

Go potty!

Make sure you flush and wash your hands.

Why aren't you dressed yet?

Please hurry, the bus will be here soon!


All this before noon! Thank goodness they go home at night and I can unwind with lots of wine and pass out for the night, just to do it all over again the next day.

So tell me, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy?
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