Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dot & Ziggy at Chicago Children’s Theatre

Founded in 2005, Chicago Children’s Theatre already has valuable experience reaching out to an under served youth audience – children on the autism spectrum – through the creation and continued success of its Red Kite Project.
Created by Linda Hartzell, Mark Perry, and Seattle Children’s Theatre, Dot & Ziggy reinvents the use of non-traditional theatrical techniques to create a fully immersive storytelling experience for a brand new audience – babies and toddlers and their parents who crave a fresh, fun new play experience.  In this engaging story about a ladybug and a skunk, two very different creatures realize they actually have quite a bit in common. Children from 6 months to 4 years and their parents are encouraged to sit together on the floor while two actors, a musician and puppets lead the audience on a stimulating interactive journey exploring color, size and distance. And of course, given the nature of the audience, sitting is optional.

More than just a fun, new parent/child communal play experience, parents can actually feel good about taking their wee ones to Dot & Ziggy. Early childhood arts programs are known to promote vocalization and motor skills, increase awareness of and responsiveness to movement and sound, encourage vocabulary growth, develop socialization skills, gain recognition of new aspects in the environment and stimulate the innate sense of discovery. Moreover, many studies have proven exposure to and participation in the arts at a young age is the strongest predictor of arts involvement as an adult (NEA Research Report–“Effects of Arts Education on Participation in the Arts” Louis Bergonzi and Julia Smith, 1996.)

After the show, parents and tots are welcome to stay for story time, which boasts a delightful oversized book that reinforces the Dot & Ziggy experience.

Use the following codes to save on tickets, normally priced at $16 on weekdays and $18 on weekends:

MOMOPEN 50% off of tickets through May 15th
MOMDZ $2 off tickets throughout the run 

Dot & Ziggy runs May 9th – June 26th at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, 2433 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.  Parking is available for $6 at Children's Memorial Hospital located at 2316 N. Lincoln, 1/2-block south of Fullerton. This special discounted rate is authorized with your ticket stub.

Disclaimer:  My family was given tickets to attend an upcoming performance of Dot & Ziggy through MomImpact.  I received no other compensation.

P.S. Have you liked Megryansmom on Facebook yet?  What are you waiting for?
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Hellmann's® Build Your Perfect Sandwich Sweepstakes

Whether it's for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there's no denying it:  America is a sandwich-loving nation! According to the new "Hellmann's® State of the Sandwich" survey, a majority of American sandwich eaters (84%) believe that how a sandwich is made is just as important as the ingredients used to make it. Something else many of America's sandwich fans agree on: If there's a must-have sandwich ingredient, it's Hellmann's®* mayonnaise! 
Hellmanns Bobby FlayTo help celebrate America's passionate preferences for building the perfect sandwich, Hellmann's® and Best Foods® are partnering with Chef Bobby Flay to show families how to make real, simple, delicious sandwiches, and to uncover unique and personal sandwich-making techniques.   They want to know how you slice it, spread it, stack it or serve it ... Do you spread your Hellmann's® Mayonnaise on one slice or both? Is the cheese on the top or in the center of the sandwich? 

All you have to do is go to to share your sandwich-making tips, tricks, techniques and secrets.  You'll also have the opportunity to build your perfect sandwich and enter the Hellmann's® Build Your Perfect Sandwich Sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes including a kitchen essentials bundle, grocery gift cards and Hellmann's® and Best Foods® products.*** 
Did you know that 33 percent of Americans who eat sandwiches credit their mom with teaching them how to make a great sandwich? And nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of moms with sandwich-loving kids say they serve their families the favorites they ate growing up!  Now that's a lot of delicious sandwiches!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann's® prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place.
P.S. Have you liked Megryansmom on Facebook yet?  What are you waiting for?

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jewel-Osco Fresh Baked Bread

Growing up in Chicago, next door to an authentic Polish deli, we always had access to freshly baked bread and rolls.  My hips can attest that I have a weakness for fresh, out of the oven bread, slathered with real butter.

Now, thanks to the experienced bakers at Jewel/Osco you can buy fresher bread for your family.  Mmm, at least once a day Jewel/Osco bakeries will be baking fresh bread like French bread, Vienna or Mini French Loaves .

Would you like to try some for yourself?  Click this link for a $1 off coupon, but hurry that bread is flying off the rack like hotcakes.

Disclaimer:  I received a loaf of fresh bread to facilitate this review, the opinions are strictly my own. 

P.S. Have you liked Megryansmom on Facebook yet?  What are you waiting for?
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why, Why, Why, Wednesday

I suppose I could talk about my own personal discontent again.

Seems like I complain a lot.

Trust me, it gets old for me too.

Day after day, SOS.

Can't catch a break.

Holidays become increasingly harder.

This weekend delivered a double punch to my already fragile heart.

Nothing that can be fixed.  I've tried.  Repeatedly.  It's time to move on.  And yet it hurts.  So much.

But in the grand scheme of things, I'm living the good life.  I'm fairly healthy, I have a husband who loves me, a roof over my head and two little boys who I'd move Heaven and Earth for.  For this I am very thankful.

This week I learned of three friends faced with some real difficulties.

Bad things come in threes.

Two expectant moms with pre-eclampsia and another mom diagnosed with breast cancer.  I'm praying very hard for all of them.

I hope this means bad has met its limit.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil

 In theaters Friday April 29th,
from the team that brought you Hoodwinked.

Click on the poster for a sneak peek.

The sequel catches up with a teenage Red Riding Hood who teams up with the Wolf to investigate the disappearance of Hansel and Gretel.

Augie Dawgs and I were amused by the references to other movies and although some of the humor was lost on five year old TOF, he was still able to follow the plot and laughed himself silly.

The movie is rated PG for some mild rude humor, language and action.  Parents us your own judgement.

Disclaimer:  My family was invited to attend a special screening of the movie.  I was not asked to write about it, nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions are my own.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011


 I can already hear how the conversation will go down at TC's next visit with the pediatrician:

Dr. B.:     Hi Ms. Augie Dawgs, Hi TC.  How's the big fella doing today?  Any new developments, concerns?  Is he talking up a storm, at least saying a few more words?

Augie Dawgs:     Oh he's fine, no problems, eating well, sleeping well.  Not really talking much, but he does say 'cheers' and clinks his glass with his brother at every meal.

Such a proud moment!  I'm doing my part to help prepare them for the Greek Life in college. 

Stay tuned for Beer Pong!

Stop by and see me in a black and white proud moment of my own at:
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kick a Girl When She's Already Down

‘Tis the end of an era’ sounds so cliche but those were the words that came to my mind when I heard that ABC was cancelling two of it’s long running soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Both shows have been a big part of my life since the summer of 1973, when my new...

I'm moonlighting here today, won't you please stop by to read on and leave me some comment love.  I could use some friends.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Randomness

...because my madness has no method.

Is Jim Nabors still alive?  I know I could just Google or Swagbucks it, but then this wouldn't be much of a post now would it?

When I fold Whynot's regular clothes and his work clothes it feels like I've done laundry for two different people.

My dogs are peculiar little beings.  They each have a rawhide and yet they fight over the same one.

Speaking of my dogs, at about 2 this morning, Whynot and I were rudely awakened by the little rats trying to kill each other in our bed.  They were quickly separated and I laid there afraid to close both eyes in fear of being eaten.

I so love it when my washing machine doesn't agitate properly and I have to run the spin cycle again.  Just makes. my. day. each and every time!  And yet the repairman says there is nothing wrong with it, that will be $90 please.

I met up with some delightful bloggers yesterday at Limestone Brewing Company in Plainfield.  It was my first time there and this place rocked.  Good food, outstanding craft beers, and drink specials.  Private rooms that are perfect for your next party or meeting and they have live music beginning around 9 pm.  Whynot and I are sure to go back.

Thanks Lou for arranging, and Tracey and Sabrina for driving with me.  Brandie it was so great to meet you, please keep me updated, you are in my prayers.  Barb, they're you're beautiful as always, love ya!  And Amy...What?  I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. 

If you're in the Greater Chicagoland area consider joining us next time! Follow us at the Greater Chicagoland Blogger Meetup blog for more info.  We're a very fun and informal group and all are welcome.  Feel free to send me some suggestions for venues near you that might be willing to accommodate a fairly large, extremely giddy group of bloggers that will stay for hours, promote the location and tip the waiter well.  Free parking and easy access to a major interstate is a plus.  Alcohol is optional.

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  We all paid for our own food and drink.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Arthur Celebrates Earth Day with New Episodes and a Visit From a NASA Astronaut

PBS KIDS GO!'s ARTHUR is celebrating Earth Day with 5 brand-new episodes beginning Friday, April 22, 2011. In "Buster Baxter and the Letter from the Sea," Buster discovers a message in a bottle on the beach while on vacation with the Read family. Could it be an urgent message from the people of the Lost City of Atlantis? Buster is determined to find out and sends messages throwing his own bottles into the ocean. Join Buster and Arthur as they learn that keeping our beaches and waterways clean is the real message.

Through the special Go Green Challenge online, Arthur and friends will teach kids simple steps they can take to help protect the environment.  Whether it's making better food choices with Buster, or saving energy with D.W., kids have opportunities to take simple green steps that can help save the environment. Also, kids will be able to print out a "Challenge Page" to keep track of their green actions.

In a special episode airing Thursday, April 28, 2011, kids learn that teamwork can help their dreams soar when NASA Astronaut Mike Finke guest-stars on ARTHUR in "Buster Spaces Out."  Inspired by footage of the moon landing, Buster wants to go to outer space.  But for now, it would be really cool to build and launch a rocket. So Buster enlists his friends to help...but they can't agree on anything and the mission stalls. Luckily, their new friend Astronaut Mike teaches them that only teamwork will accomplish this mission--and then it's blast-off!

"This Earth Day, we wanted to show kids how simple actions can affect the environment," says Senior Executive Producer Carol Greenwald. "Through this episode and the Go Green Challenge, kids can learn simple steps that they can take to help protect the world around them."

The full schedule of airdates is below (check local listings):

Friday, April 22, 2011 - Follow the Bouncing Ball, Buster Baxter and the Letter from the Sea
Monday, April 25, 2011 - Around the World in 11 Minutes, Muffy and the Big Bad Blog
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - Arthur Unravels, All the Rage
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - D.W., Queen of the Comeback, In My Africa
Thursday, April 28, 2011 - Buster Spaces Out, The Long Road Home

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Camping on The Avenue

The boys and I are camping out in the playroom today.  Hopefully they will get this nonsense out of their heads, because Mema doesn't camp anymore.  I did it twice, back in 1984.  It was fun.  But I was way younger then and now the idea of sleeping on the ground is far less appealing to me than it was when I was 22.  Now I have days when sitting on the floor for too long is a challenge.

So pretend camp away little boys, because a real vacation to me consists of staying in a 5-star hotel where I can sit poolside and imbibe vast amounts of beverages with umbrellas in them and later dine on gourmet cuisine.  What?  We're all pretending today.

P.S.  I've had my phone for almost a year now and I've just figured out how to upload photos to my blog.  Aren't you proud of me?

P.P.S  Chicago Area bloggers check this out!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Tooth Fairy

TOF has been wiggling a loose tooth since Whynot's vacation.  Just a teeny tiny bit, because he didn't want it to fall out while Pa was gone.

This morning after brushing his teeth he came up to me and said I think I have another loose tooth.  I looked, and sure enough he now had two loose teeth.  We sat down to play Cootie and he wiggled away at the new loose tooth until it popped right out.  Just like that, no blood, no tears and now one less tooth in his mouth.  The first loose tooth still hanging on for dear life.

I tried to coax him into wiggling it more and offered him a wet washcloth to chew on to help it come out.  He wasn't having any of it.  I thought biting into a Popsicle might do the trick.  Going against every ounce of common sense that I have I offered him a  nice sugary Popsicle before he even finished all of his lunch.  I wanted that tooth out in the safety of my home, where there was no chance of it being lost once he left for school.

When we were dealing with my mother in law's Alzheimer's our Dr. suggested therapeutic lying to get her to go along with things.  I've been using it on kids ever since.  Little innocent white lies.

I tried telling him that he might get extra cash from the Tooth Fairy for more than one tooth.  I told him that there might even be an extra gift along with the cash.  I told him that I was worried he might drop the tooth at school and then the Tooth Fairy might forget to come at all. I was making up ridiculous stuff just to get that tooth out.






He left for school with one gaping hole in his million dollar smile and one extremely wiggly tooth.

What have you told your kids about the Tooth Fairy?  And what is the going rate for teeth these days?  Does a first tooth earn extra?  Does loosing a tooth over the weekend earn a bonus?  How about 2 in 1day?
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Little Beans Cafe

I promised you pictures and dang it you shall have pictures.  But my pictures are awful.  My camera phone sucks.  My phone sucks.  Maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm just not techie enough to use the darn thing the right way.  Nah I'd rather think my phone sucks.  AT&T acquired T-Mobile, so maybe my phone suckage problems will end soon.  iPhone come to mama.

The boys had the most wonderful time at Little Beans Cafe!

The place is absolutely darling!  I want one in my neck of the woods.

The play space is a little village for kids.  There's a mini service station, grocery store, firehouse, and playhouse. 

I think TC loved the firehouse best.  He climbed up the ladder and worked his way through the maze to the slide over and over again so many time I lost count.  It wasn't until much later that he noticed the play building was on fire.  A pretend fire on the roof of the building!  His limited vocabulary had him repeating uh oh, uh oh and he was touching the siding to feel for heat.  I tell you that boy is a genius!

Just look how dapper big brother TOF is in his fireman suit.

The grocery store had all sorts of fun stuff inside.  A cash register with loads of moolah, a telephone, shelves filled with healthy choices, baskets of fresh plastic produce and miniature grocery carts to push around. I even noticed an ATM machine on the outside wall.

The playhouse was every girl (and boy's) dream come true, with a pretend kitchen, a table for tea parties and  a working mini baby grand piano.

The service station had ride on toys parked outside, a gas pump for fueling up and a workbench complete with tools.

There was a room in the back for classes, but during down time they set up a battery powered ride on Thomas Railroad for the kids to enjoy.  Adjacent to this room is another room for the adults to hang out and relax on comfy couches and chairs with a TV.

There is plenty of open space for books and puzzles and a Crawlers Only soft play area as well.  Several tables were set up for the adults to watch their kids in the play area as well as the dining area of the cafe, which was separated by a glass wall and doors.

Although I repeatedly asked TOF if he'd like to have a snack he was too busy playing to stop and eat.  The cafe menu does however include yummy choices for even the most picky eaters and specialty coffees and teas for the adults.

The attention to detail was amazing in this play space and I had just as much fun as the boys did.  Oh, and I loved that we had to remove our shoes at the door.  Socks only in this kid zone.  We spent almost three hours exploring and I never heard TOF utter I'm bored.  He begged to come back another time and we most certainly will.

Disclaimer:  Although I was invited to a media event held at Little Beans Cafe I was unable to attend at the time.  I paid for the boys admission myself through a super deal at KGB Deals and all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Better Than Cannonball Run

 Part One

If anyone has ever driven with me, they know that getting there is part of the adventure.  In my defense, let me just clarify, I'm a good driver, I'm a careful driver.  I just don't always know the best route to get places.

On Saturday, Whynot and Augie Dawgs were heading to the Cubs' game, Durwood was working a double and that left me to amuse the boys.  Augie Dawgs remembered that a couple months back I purchased some passes for Little Beans Cafe on KGB Deals and suggested that we all drive in together, drop her and Whynot off at ball and then I would head over to the cafe with the boys.  Sounded like a perfect plan to me.

We got to Wrigley Field about 11:30ish. I can't believe Whynot agreed to such a late arrival time.  I dropped them off about a block north of Addison and a block west of Clark.  Yeah sorry, I'm not so good at actually looking at the street signs.  I headed to Clark St and proceeded south.  Did you know that Clark St runs on angle?  Yeah me neither.  I probably should have turned right onto Sheffield and headed towards Fullerton.  But I kept on driving south on Clark. 

Why yes, we do own a GPS, it was left safely on the kitchen counter.

My phone?  Of course it has GPS.  No clue why I didn't use it.  It's how I roll.

You'd never guess I lived in the city for the first 19 years of my life.  I hate driving in the city.  It's so hustily and bustily!  Those are to words, I said so! 

All those cars.  Beeping their horns, making right turns from the left lane, deciding not to turn left and going straight from the left lane, running yellows.  And the crazy cab drivers!  It's scary stuff!

We finally arrived unscathed at our destination.  Thank God there was a parking lot as my parallel parking skills are not so hot anymore.  Back in the day I was AWESOME at parallel parking and backing into our tiny one car garage in a very narrow alley.  Now, well, if you don't use it, you lose it applies to lots of stuff.

Coming Soon!  Part Two - The fun stuff with pictures.
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