Monday, August 30, 2010

Webkinz Jr. Back to School Party

Thanks to MomSelect and Ganz I recently had the pleasure of hosting a Webkinz Jr. party here on The Avenue. Each Webkinz Jr. comes with a special Internet code so your child can interact with it online at a website designed especially for your 3-6 year olds. The code lets you enter Webkinz World and bring your pet to life by giving it a name, making it a home and even playing games. You can adjust the learning levels as your child progresses/ages and there is no reading required.

So attentive, watching the demo DVD.

The girls colored quietly inside, listening to the cool Webkinz Jr. CD. The boys played outside probably making mud pies, digging for worms, while trying to belch the loudest.

Then it was time to introduce everyone to their new Webkinz Jr pets.

Each bag contained a Webkinz Jr. pet, a Webkinz Jr. CD, a Webkinz Jr. coloring book, sticker sheets info pamphlets, and some code cards for the website.

I'd have to say the above picture translates into THUMBS UP for Webkinz Jr.

Do you have a child that would enjoy playing at Webkinz World? The first TWENTY readers to leave me a comment below will win a unique trial code to enter the website.

Disclaimer: MomSelect and Ganz supplied the swag bags for every child. As a result, we provided our own smiles and hugs.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll Have a build-a-bear smallfrys With That

It's pretty exciting when the Fed Ex truck makes it's way down The Avenue. But when it actually stops in front of the gray split level the kids can hardly contain their happy squeals.

"He's coming to our house!"

"What is it Mema?"

"Can I open it?"

Today was no different when the driver made his way to our front door with a mystery package containing a super adorable build-a-bear smallfry.

On Sept. 3, Build-A-Bear Workshop is introducing eight limited edition build-a-bear smallfrys, which are smaller versions of past and present Build-A-Bear Workshop favorite friends. Choose from Sassy Kitty, Read Teddy, Marble Monkey, Endless Hugs Teddy, Shaggy Pup, Peace Bear, Fabulous Frog, and Cinnamon Swirl Bunny.

They come packaged in the cutest french fry container, complete with their very own “nutritional friendship information” on back. Although they are small, each build-a-bear smallfrys furry friend has big personality-every serving is sure to increase Build-A-Bear Workshop Guests’ daily smiles.

A collection of smallfrys-sized fashions are also available including: Plaid Shirt and Tie Jean set, Hoodie and Jean set, Fuchsia Ruffle Leggings set, Pink Dot Dress, Peace Pajamas, Blue Fairy outfit and more.

“The build-a-bear smallfrys collection offers our Guests a whole new way to play and we have gotten great initial feedback from them about this new product,” said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and chief executive bear. “Tweens like how portable they are and younger Guests love to play Mama and Baby with their regular sized stuffed animals and build-a-bear smallfrys."

Additionally, each of these furry friends comes with a code to receive free gifts at Players will receive a virtual accessory bag themed to carry their build-a-bear smallfrys friend and a doll house style furniture item. When clicking on the item, it opens up to a new smaller room, the perfect size for a build-a-bear smallfrys virtual furry friend.

The furry friends will be available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and through Oct. 31 or while supplies last.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Disney On Ice-Princess Classics

I’m excited to announce that the Feld Entertainment Chicagoland show season is under way! The first show, Disney On Ice presents Princess Classics is just a few short weeks away at the United Center September 8-12, 2010.

Feld Entertainment is offering a discount code for my readers. Purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $44 (valid Mon-Thurs and Fri matinee, excluding holidays) or save $4 on weekend shows by logging in to and entering the coupon code MOM. (Enter the coupon 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.

My very own Prince Charming, TOF and I will be attending on opening night. Maybe we'll see you there!

Disclaimer: My family and I received complimentary tickets.
No monetary compensation was received.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WW-The Back to School Edition

Monday was TOF's 1st day back to Preschool. Last year, his very first year in Preschool, I wrote him this letter. It's amazing how much he's changed in one year! This year my happy and confident grandson was ready to get back into his school routine and my heart was filled with enormous pride for that little boy. No tears for Mema this time, not even the happy kind. He posed for pictures in the same spot that his aunt and uncle did every year until they graduated high school and he even displayed some of the same enthusiasm for my silly tradition.

And as if on cue, while TOF was at school the UPS driver delivered a surprise package from CSN Stores.

Disclaimer: I was given a gift certificate by CSN Stores for a previous post and no other compensation.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Peep and the Big Wide World

The people responsible for bringing us Martha Speaks have done it again! Another educational and very fun kids' program Peep and the Big Wide World.

What is Peep? Narrated by comedienne and mother of two Joan Cusack, Peep is an Emmy award-winning series that teaches preschoolers about science through the adventures of Peep, a newly hatched chick, Chirp, a smart and sassy robin, and Quack, an irascible, endearing duck. Each half-hour episode contains two animated stories highlighting specific science or math concepts, plus two live-action segments of real kids exploring science and math in everyday places. To quote Joan “I’ve learned that just because you’re four or five years old and still using a sippy cup doesn’t mean you’re not a scientist… I love this show!”

Me too, Joan! And TOF and his best buds love it as much as I do.

Here are some awesome everyday science activities from the website that you can do with kids while it’s still Summer:

  • Bathtub Boats – Ahoy Matey! Make some boats for the bathtub and see what floats.
  • Making Parachutes – Who doesn’t love parachutes? Not us. Here’s how to make one!
Keep kids excited about science by checking out Peep, Quack, and Chirp as they learn science every Sunday at 6 AM on WTTW. Peep also is available in Spanish on V-ME. If not in the Chicagoland area, please check your local listings for show time.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pajama Party

Yesterday Whynot headed to Arlington Park for The Beverly D and The Arlington Million. I wasn't interested in sweating where 30,000 people could see it and opted to stay home with Bella and Parker.

I stayed in my jammies until 4 pm!

I started laundry and I took a little nap.

I made my tookish comfy on the couch with a basket of laundry and tuned the TV to Video on Demand and a few clicks later I was watching Julie and Julia. I know, I know that movie came out LAST year, but I still haven't seen Toy Story 3 either. IMO and it's just that, my opinion, it was eh. I liked it, I just wish the ending had a little more something.

I switched to the Lifetime Channel, completely ignoring the sink full of dishes.

Glitter Gurl came over after work and we ended up watching three Lifetime movies together just like the old days.

I only got dressed at 4 pm so I could run out to Jimmy John's for a #5 with hot peppers. I could eat those every day! It was actually the only thing I ate all day. Mmmm.

And I never did do the dishes! Please don't tell the Fly Lady.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Rumble Grumble Gurgle Roar

**Update**Live from The Chicago Moms go check it out!

I was supposed to be over at The Chicago Moms today, but because of some internet glitch the deadline was missed. It's a good post too, bummer.

I have PMS this week along with major insomnia and cramps from hell. The only good thing about waking up at half past midnight is that you can take drugs again at your normal wake up time.

This insomnia paired with PMS is dangerous! I can't sleep, I toss and turn and the sound of Whynot breathing in his sleep makes me want to choke him. It's not really his fault, I guess he has to breathe, but it's so damn annoying when I can't sleep.

The whole situation has me wishing I had myself spayed after Glitter Gurl was born.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WW-The Slot Machines Stole More Than Just My Money

I had a brilliant idea for a blog post.

Absolutely BRILLIANT.

Whynot and I were heading out of the casino last night, into the parking lot and somewhere between the automatic doors and my car, POOF, that brilliant thought was gone along with a couple of $20s.

This happens to me all. the. time.

All. the. time.

If it weren't for my sketchy memory my blog would rank way up there with the likes of Dooce and Pioneer Woman.

Stupid hormones!

We're having a Webkinz Jr. partay on The Avenue today.

A back to school celebration.

We'll have snacks and games and prizes and I promise to share pictures and tell you all about it...if I remember.

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Tuesday Blog Hops!

Want more followers?

To-the-TOP Tuesday



Tuesday Tag-Along

Familylicious Reviews
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Friday, August 13, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway

My new BFF from CSN Stores just emailed me with another great opportunity to shop. CSN Stores has over a million items to choose from, where you can find anything from cookware to lights to furniture!

Awesome Mema that I am, I've already ordered some learning games for TOF. But this time it's all about you, my awesome readers. CSN Stores has generously offered to send one of you a $60 gift certificate to use as you wish at any of their 200+ websites.

To enter:

Visit the CSN Stores website and tell me what you would pick.

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.

* 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.

* Follow CSN Stores on Twitter.

* Like CSN Stores on Facebook.

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

This giveaway ends on Thursday August 19th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: I received a gift certificate to giveaway on my blog and no other compensation.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Capture-Everyday Things

I'm going to put a little different spin on this week's You Capture. My pictures aren't exactly Everyday Things for me, but everyday, thousands of women across the country receive the frightening phone call.

Hi Mrs. Afterbirth?

Umm, not exactly, there's no L.

We have your mammogram results and Dr. would like us to schedule additional images and an ultrasound.

The freak mode sets in.

Along with insomnia until the day of the tests.

And the pleading with God that you don't have time for this kind of crap.

Until the kind Ultrasound Tech turns the monitor towards you and guesses it's only a cyst.

Common in perimenopausal women.


I'll spare you the up close and personal shots of my left breast covered in ultrasound goop, this is a family blog.

And so readers, I ask for your help in the fight against breast cancer. Energizer is currently a sponsor of the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®, a series of 15 events across the nation where participants walk 60 miles over the course of three days. As a way to celebrate this, Energizer is donating $1 to Susan G. Komen for a Cure for every new “like” on the Energizer Bunny Facebook page (up to $15,000). That’s right. All you have to do is “Like” the Energizer Bunny! It would be MUCH, MUCH appreciated if you could help spread the word!

Big or small, we need to save them all!


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 gift card to Sam's Club over here!
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perimenopause Strikes Again!

My mind is like a steel trap.

Just the other day I was telling Whynot about....hmmm what was I telling him about?

Oh never mind, it'll come to me.

Lately, with the help of Facebook, I've reconnected with people from my past and I remember certain stories about them very vividly.

Oh yeah, so there was this reunion of people from my old neighborhood. I didn't go, but I saw pictures and I recognized quite a few of the faces. Thirty some years later, surprisingly, they looked the same. Just older.

There was this girl in one of the pictures and she seemed strangely familiar to me. Turns out we worked together at the neighborhood bank. She still looked the same! Last time I saw her she was dating so and so, she was pregnant and then I quit to go work at the competition across the street and lost track of her. She's now married to a former friend of my ex-husband.

What a small world!

What I can't remember is if HE was the same guy she was dating back then. He may have been. He may not. I CANNOT remember!

Oh look another face I know!

Whynot, do see that man?

He was a little boy that went to my grade school. A boy younger than me that I had only seen in passing at school. Pretty much a total stranger.

One of our school fundraisers was to sell Worlds Finest Chocolate and after I had just carried my seventy eleven cases home all by myself, my mother spots him through the window struggling with his TWO cases. Herry op! Pooch you shoes on, we gowhen help him, he sue-ch a lit loo boy. And off we went to help this little boy carry his candy all the way home.

I'm sure he doesn't remember that story. I hope he doesn't remember that story. My mother was always good for crazy shit like that.

MRM, how do you remember that stuff?

I have no idea Whynot, I see a face and the corresponding story just pops into my head!

Did you call the cemetery so they can fix my parents headstones?


THAT was the sound of my palm slapping my forehead.

So much for that steel trap.

Damn hormones!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Mom Is Born-Virtual Baby Shower

You are cordially invited to attend a Virtual Baby Shower!

This year’s shower, scheduled for Wednesday, August 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST, will benefit the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the celebrant is expecting mom Virginia Kerr, the anchor on Channel 4’s early news show, Awake.

Anyone with internet access can attend virtually, interacting in real time with Virginia and hosts via a live chat room during the online broadcast. The shower will be aired live through A Mom is Born.

The focus of the shower is celebrating and honoring the transition of a woman to motherhood and how her friends and loved ones can support her during this exciting time. However, any mom will enjoy the event because the two-hour broadcast will feature great parenting tips and products.

Guests will also learn how to personalize a Holding Hands bracelet. The bracelet is a symbol of the connectedness between all mothers and the strength moms can source from each other. It is an especially touching gift for an expecting mom to wear during her labor and delivery, as a reminder of the support she has from her closest women friends.

A limited number of Holding Hands bracelets will be sold during the event for guests to buy for a special mom or mom-to-be. A portion of the proceeds will go to the March of Dimes.

Top tips for new moms will also be shared, which are being collected in the week prior to the broadcast in exchange for an entry in the Mom is Born giveaway raffle. Raffle prizes have been generously donated by the shower sponsors.

How can you support March of Dimes through this event?

• Make a donation via the ChipIn widget.
• Buy a Holding Hands bracelet for yourself or a loved one.
• Support A Mom Is Born sponsors: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Kolcraft, Goodnite Rooms, Pixie Posie Photography and our Venue Sponsor, Overlook Farm.

Just for the occasion, Overlook Farm is excited to announce a special package for moms. From now October 15, 2010, (Virgina Kerr's due date), we invite moms and friends to spend a relaxing night in one of our luxurious inns for the special rate of $125/night. Simply become a fan of Overlook Farm on Facebook to receive this special rate. Mention the virtual baby shower on our wall, and you will be entered to win a Girl's Weekend Getaway for four to Overlook Farm. Unwind on our 200 acre property, take a soak in our greenhouse hot tub, explore our many gardens, or steal a quiet moment with your best friends with a glass of wine while you watch the sunset over the Mississippi River valley.

For more information about the shower or to add your words of wisdom for an entry into the raffle, please visit A Mom is Born. Come back here on August 25th and join the fun!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Sam's Club Back To School Spark

On my kitchen counter is a jar from some fabulous, long gone gelato. I use the jar to store Box Tops for Education and in a couple of weeks I'll be packing them in TOF's backpack so that he can deposit them in the PTO drop box when he heads back to school.

Head over to your local Sam´s Club from Aug. 11 through Aug. 31 to earn more cash for your school. At the Sam´s Club Back-to-School event, you can get a head start on your collection and find 6 Box Tops on participating General Mills products. With your favorite Box Tops for Education brands at a great value, Sam´s Club is your one-stop destination for all your back-to-school supplies you need to send your kids off to school with confidence!

In addition, Sam´s Club is giving you the opportunity to earn even more Box Tops when you upgrade to a "Plus Membership." From Aug. 6 - Aug. 13, or while supplies last, visit the Member Services Desk of your local Sam´s Club and upon payment for your Plus Membership, you will receive a certificate for 150 Bonus Box Tops! For more information on how you can take advantage of the Back-to-School event at Sam´s Club, visit today!

Sam´s Club, General Mills and MyBlogSpark have provided me with a $25 Sam´s Club gift card to give away to one of my readers.

To enter:

Leave me a comment naming your must-have item from Sam´s Club for this back-to-school season.

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 Thursday August 12th and the winner will be notified by email.

Disclaimer: Sam´s Club and General Mills provided me with a Sam´s Club Plus Membership, gift card, information, and giveaway through MyBlogSpark.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Creating a Happy Balance

I had such high hopes of getting more organized and ridding my home of clutter this summer. But now, as the time for back to school rapidly approaches, I’m not any closer to achieving that goal than I was back in early June. I found myself standing in a room or in the garage, looking around dumbfounded, not knowing where to start. Exasperated, I would just walk away before I started to cry.

Sure, I’ve rearranged a few kitchen cabinets and thinned out the coffee mugs. But short of moving my sewing machine into it and adding a crib to accommodate daycare for my grandsons, my son’s room remains a quasi shrine and he left home seven years ago. My daughter’s once bright and cheerful room has sadly become a catchall for anything that I’ve tired of seeing lying around in other areas of the house and the two car garage has barely enough room for one car now. Fortunately, or maybe not, we don’t have a basement or I’d fill that from floor to ceiling also.

Read more about how I overcame clutter with the help of Simone Targo, of Aligned Inside at my debut post on The Chicago Moms here.

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