Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's in Your Beach Bag?

Memorial Day weekend!

The official start of summer. 

Time for hitting the beach and/or pool.

What are you packing in your beach bag to pass the time as the little ones splash giddily at your side?

Right alongside the SPF 37 Kajillion I've tucked in a copy of Here, Home, Hope by author Kaira Rouda that I received through One2One Network.

Here, Home, Hope is the fictional story of Kelly Mills Johnson's journey through midlife crisis and personal reinvention - all told with a sense of heart and humor.  In her thirty-ninth year, Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.

For every woman who's ever wanted to change something in her mundane life...

Disclaimer:  I was sent a copy of the book for review purposes, the opinions are my own.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go

That's the way to spell Chicago.
A knife and a fork!  A bottle and a cork!
That's the way to spell New York!"

This is the whimsical verse that brought about a brand new Chicago area travel guide filled with adventures you can enjoy with  your teens and tweens, written by my very talented bloggy friend Melisa Wells.

Tuesday, we very appropriately celebrated the 'launch' of this book with a cruise on the Chicago River.  Although it was slightly chilly, the skies were clear and the rain held off as Melisa's friends and family were treated to an evening filled with the warmth of conversation and delicious food and beverages.

The book was six years in the making as Melisa and her husband explored Chicago, making wonderful memories with their two sons.  Inside the covers you'll find many hidden gems that will delight locals and visitors alike.

TOF and TC are nowhere near the tween or teen stage and yet I've already folded over several pages that I know we'll enjoy together. 

I'd like to thank Melisa for extending the invitation and for being a lovely hostess.  You're book has given me the inspiration to show my grandsons more of the beautiful city that I grew up in.  I'm going to be very busy making forever memories with them.

Thank you also to her very generous sponsors, including GM, Bristol Renaissance Faire, Eli's Cheesecake, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Pizzeria Uno, Key Lime Water Resort, threadles, Blue Man Group, John Hancock Observatory and Chicago Elevated  for their support in making Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go a reality as well as creating a memorable evening for all of  us.

Disclaimer:  I was invited to the book launch and given a copy of Melisa's book as well as other goodies from her sponsors.  There was no exchange of money and the opinions are strictly my own.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 Prize Pack Giveaway

Kung Fu Panda is back!

TOF is looking foward to  going on a date with me to see Kung Fu Panda 2 when it opens in theaters this week.  To get ready he's been playing with the spin fighter toys found in specially marked boxes of General Mills cereals.

You can get your own spin fighter toys featuring Kung Fu Panda 2 characters including Po, Tigress, Shifu, Monkey, Lord Shen, Mantis, Crane and Viper inside boxes of participating General Mills cereals including Cocoa Puffs® (11.8 oz.), Trix® (10.7 oz.), Golden Grahams® (12 oz.), Reese’s Puffs® (13 oz.), Cheerios® (14 oz.), Apple Cinnamon Cheerios® (12.9 oz.), Cookie Crisp® (11.25 oz.), Lucky Charms® (11.5 oz.), Cinnamon Toast Crunch (12.8 oz.) and Honey Nut Cheerios (12.25 oz.).

One of my lucky readers will win a Kung Fu Panda 2 prize package including one random box of the above mentioned cereals, a spin fighter toy and a DVD copy of the original Kung Fu Panda movie.

To win:

It's super easy, just 'Like" Look It's Megryansmom on Facebook and leave me a comment on this blog post with your Facebook username and who you're winning this prize package for.

Contest runs through June 1st and  winner will be notified by email, so be sure to leave one.

Disclaimer: General Mills and DreamWorks provided me with the prize pack, information, and additional prize pack through MyBlogSpark
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Friday, May 20, 2011

My Week at a Glance

Come closer Friday so I can give you a big, fat, juicy, wet kiss.  Oh how I have missed your sweet caress.  Seven days is far too long to be apart.  I'm thinking of doing away with Thursday just so that we don't have to be away from each for so long.  Hold me closer.


Oh, Hi.

I'm so embarrassed, I didn't realize anyone else was here.

Friday go take a cold shower, this is a family blog.  I'll see you a little bit later.  Mwah.

Again, I apologize, I don't usually act like that.  Not a fan of PDA.  Forgive me?

So this week was pretty exciting and it's not over yet!
Sunday, was wet and so cold.  But Augie Dawgs, the boys and I had a great time at a performance of Dot & Ziggy at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.  It was an interactive play about a lady bug and a skunk who learn that despite their differences, they can still be good friends.  It's geared towards very young audiences and we didn't have to worry if TC squirmed a bit too much or didn't want to sit down.  In fact the boy was so comfortable he sat right down on the floor mat and took his shoes and socks off.

Dot & Ziggy runs through June 26th.  Tickets are priced at $16 on weekdays and $18 on weekends; use the code MOMDZ to save$2 off tickets throughout the run.

Thank you Kim at MomImpact for providing us with complimentary tickets!

Monday-what did I do Monday?  OK so maybe Monday wasn't very exciting.

But Tuesday!  Tuesday was another fun day!  A few of my bloggy pals and I attended a VIP Moms Party for the grand re-opening at The Denim Lounge in Roscoe Village.  It was a great night spent mingling with other bloggers and getting pampered with complimentary manicures from Head 2 Toe Mobile Spa.

Photo by Edenhurst Studio

Motivational speaker and president of Insight Track, Sylvia Friedman was there providing handwriting analysis.  Although I won't go in to details about exactly what she said to me, I will say that I tried really hard not to let my jaw drop when she started speaking.  DEAD.  ON.

No awesome blogger event would be complete without amazing food and drinks which included a wine tasting from LUSH, Robey Pizza, cupcakes courtesy of Sprinkles and goodies from the newly-opened Real Naked Food.

Thank you again Caitlin and Sarah of 2 Moms Media for putting together such an enjoyable evening.

The activities are far from over, as we have a very busy Saturday coming up.  I'm attending the SELF Magazine Workout in the Park and hoping to meet Alison Sweeney who's making a special guest appearance.

I received a ticket from One2One Network to attend the event.

Finally, as the winner of a prize package from Raging Waves Waterpark, we're heading to an event at Medieval Times Saturday night.  I've never been and we're all looking forward to it!

What are you plans this weekend?  Hope it's spectacular!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Power of Blogging

 Updated 5-18-2011
Sort of disappointed in the lack of comments. Therefore, 100 comments = $100 donation has been extended Comments will now close when they reach 100.

Sometimes, when I'm fast asleep, I have the best dreams of amazing blog posts.  Then I wake up and the amazingness is all gone.  I'm a mediocre real life blogger at best,  if you could see my dream blog posts I'd be a fabulous A-list blogger fo sho!

But as a blogger I have the power to deliver a very strong message.  I've blogged about it before, here and here and even hereIt being that bastard better known as breast cancer.

Last month I met Brandie.  Yesterday was Brandie's 32nd birthday.  Tonight I'll see Brandie again at a blogging event and I'll offer her my support, prayers and encouragement.  You see, Brandie was just diagnosed with breast cancer and on Wednesday she's scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy.

F*$&ing cancer! 

Twenty some odd years ago, I met Sue.  She was engaged to a friend of my then husband's.  Unfortunately, as my marriage went south, so did many of those friendships I made through him.  Thanks to the beauty of Facebook, I recently reconnected with Sue and her husband.  I learned that six years ago, Sue was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

F*$&ing cancer! 

As Sue celebrates six years of being cancer free she's preparing to once again walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  She walks so that other women, women like Brandie will continue to have hope.

So today dear readers, I have two small favors to ask of you.  Head over to Brandie's blog and leave her some love as she begins her journey to kick cancer's a$$.  Keep her and her family in your prayers.  And if you can, please make a donation to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  No donation is too small or insignificant.  I understand that money is tight for everyone and that's why I'm personally donating $1 for every comment left on this blog post today, Tuesday May 17th, 2011(up to a total of $100, one comment per person, and no anonymous comments.)

No joke!  I want to help insure that every woman has access to adequate screening and treatment when necessary.

So please leave your comment below and help me spread the word by telling your friends!

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post in any way, shape or form.  I will use my own funds to donate to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. 
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Friday, May 13, 2011


This year TOF is playing T-ball for the first time ever.  That means practice once a week and games early on Saturday mornings.  It also means that Augie Dawgs needed to volunteer for ten hours in the concession stand.  She did her first stint a few weeks back and then the second session was rained out and rescheduled for yesterday.  Her shift was from 5PM to 9PM and since TC goes to bed around 8 or 8:30 it was decided that the boys would sleepover.

We had a great evening.  Ate takeout pizza for dinner and we would have walked to Mc Donald's for ice cream had TOF not been such a sassy pants.  We played in the yard and took a nice walk.  The boys were both filthy so I gave them tubbies and put their pajamas on.  At 7:30 TC threw himself  into a messy pool of 19mth old tantrum-ness and I carted his limp little body up to bed.  I do love that boy's sleeping habits.

Whynot was watching the Bulls game and TOF is just not a big fan of basketball so he asked if we could go up to my room to watch Cats and Dogs for the seventy eleventh time.  TOF loves sleepovers on The Avenue because it means he gets to sleep with Mema, Pa and the two pups.  So we settled into my bed and watched our movie.  Shortly after it ended he was sound asleep surrounded by his guardian doxies.

Then it started! 

At 12:25AM, TOF managed to flip himself to the foot of the bed upside down and on top of my legs.  I shook Whynot awake and asked him to please move TOF since I couldn't move.  Instead he says very loudly, "TOF, get back up here before you fall off the bed."  A groggy TOF moves back toward the middle of the bed and I try to get comfy again.  Only now, Bella has moved to my pillow.  I guess she thought since I wasn't using it for the moment she could.  Once I got her situated I tried to drift back to sleep.  Unfortunately for the next two hours, TOF's teeth grinding kept me awake.  I think I finally fell asleep around 2:45 only to be awakened by Whynot's alarm at 4:20 ish.

I was s-l-o-w-l-y going through the motions of the morning when TOF decided to wake up for the day at 6:45 and TC followed at a much too early 8AM.

It was definitely a two pots of coffee type of morning here!  TGIF!
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Re-evaluating Car Insurance

I'm always looking to save a buck or two on our monthly expenses here on The Avenue.  You know, so I can still buy cookies and ice cream every week.

Unlike cell phones, cable or internet car insurance is one of those things you pay for that you may never end up using.  But you never want to let your policy lapse, because that's when you'll need it the most.  We're already saving a substantial amount on our policy because Whynot and I are both mature drivers.  I've also  been using the internet to read about saving money on car insurance.

By using the Internet it is easier than ever for consumers to shop for low insurance rates, to analyze coverage and compare premiums. Still, studies have shown that people don't shop around for insurance in the same way they might shop for a new car. Also, people tend to stay with the same car insurance company for years. Why not start using your computer to save money?

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Boys & Girls Clubs of America - Faces of the Future

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), in partnership with Microsoft and Comcast, has launched the Faces of the Future Campaign, designed to raise awareness about the importance of digital literacy. The campaign features youth from across America who have been positively impacted by the Club Tech program and shows how technology can transform lives.

Historically, Boys & Girls Clubs have been known as safe, affordable places where parents could send their kids to play sports, swim and get help with their homework. But now they are much more than that. The Club Tech program helps prepare young people through technology, tapping into the potential of future journalists, graphic designers, engineers and photographers.

Boys & Girls Club members, age 6-18, learn various skills from word processing and presentations to music production and film making. Nearly 1 million kids and teens participate in the Club Tech program at more than 3,600 Boys & Girls Clubs around the world. Research has shown that participants not only learned the fundamentals of computers, but they also discovered how to harness technology in a way that made them more literate in current affairs and other topics that spill over from school and home.

Throughout the campaign, the Faces of the Future Showcase will feature artwork, music and films created by youth using the Club Tech digital arts curriculum. People all over the world will have the opportunity to see what young people can accomplish through technology when given access to the right tools and opportunities!

Speaking of accomplishments, Boys & Girls Clubs of America needs your help in reaching an important milestone--35,000 fans on Facebook! For every 10 likes they get, a Club member will receive Microsoft Office 2010. By clicking the "like" button, you're not only showing your support for an amazing cause, but you're literally putting tools in the hands of children who need them most.
 Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Sesame Street Live "1-2-3 Imagine! with Elmo & Friends"

Sesame Street Live "1-2-3 Imagine! with Elmo & Friends" is coming to ROSEMONT!

Imagine singing and dancing with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all your favorite Sesame Street Live friends! It's as easy as counting "1-2-3 Imagine!" This high-energy musical will transport audiences to far away places as Ernie captains the high seas, Elmo dances to the rhythm of the African rainforest and Bert meets an octopus who has the blues. It's a story of adventure and fun that teaches children they can be anyone, do anything and go anywhere with the power of imagination.

Rosemont Theatre, May 12-15

Opening Night: All seats $15! (excluding Gold Circle Seats)
Other Performances: $15, $25, $30, $40 (Gold Circle)
Additional facility fee and service charges may apply.

Additional group discounts available.Groups 10+ call 877-447-7849.

Tickets available at the box office,, call 800-745-3000 or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid for this post, nor did my family receive tickets 
to the event, but we wish we had. (Hear that Elmo?)
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

JUSTIN BIEBER: Never Say Never

The captivating and inspirational story of a small town boy who became a pop phenomenon through sheer talent and determination takes the stage when the feature film JUSTIN BIEBER: Never Say Never debuts on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD Friday, May 13, 2011, from Paramount Home Entertainment.

JUSTIN BIEBER: Never Say Never follows Bieber’s journey from his early years to his rise from break-out internet sensation to global superstar, culminating in a sold-out show at the famed Madison Square Garden. Incorporating personal home footage that chronicles Bieber’s prodigious talent from early childhood, the film also features all-star musical performers.

JUSTIN BIEBER: Never Say Never is the highest grossing concert-themed film ever in U.S. history, having earned more than $72.2 million at the domestic box office, surpassing the lifetime domestic grosses of Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

The JUSTIN BIEBER: Never Say Never Blu-ray/DVD Combo with Digital Copy and standard DVD include a concert dance off that was not shown in theaters in which Bieber and his crew show off their amazing moves, a full-length concert performance of “Favorite Girl” from the Director’s Fan Cut of the film, footage of Justin’s team surprising lucky fans with free concert tickets and a final farewell to Bieber’s signature hairstyle.

Paramount Home Entertainment is celebrating the release of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never by hosting local fan appreciation events and Chicago is one of five lucky cities.

The Bring Justin Home event will be held on Friday, May 13 at Walmart in Hodgkins, IL from 4-7 PM. The fan appreciation event will feature a purple carpet, karaoke and prize giveaways. It’ll be a fun event for Bieber fans of all ages!
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Friday, May 6, 2011

DaGeDar Supercharged Ball Bearings

Cepia LLC, the makers of ZhuZhu Pets®, have taken the timeless game of marbles and given it a modern day spin. DaGeDar™ supercharged battle balls encourage strategy and skill in a collectible racing game that lets kids set the rules. DaGeDar™ launched in Phoenix this week but will be racing into markets everywhere this summer!

DaGeDar™ (pronounced DAH-geh-DAAR) collectible supercharged battle balls have a special feel and weight that almost demand to be raced! Each DaGeDar™ battle ball boasts a graphic design that reflects the true energy contained within. More than 240 different DaGeDar™ ball graphics are planned for release this year, with varying degrees of rarity. Each ball carries a special code number that when registered on the DaGeDar™ website ( will reveal the true spirit contained within the DaGeDar™ ball, as well as its hidden powers, which can assist in racing strategy and let kids unleash the power within!

Racing DaGeDar™ balls requires skill, practice, agility and finesse. Players must control the speed and velocity of DaGeDar™ balls in order to propel them through thrilling loops and turns without forcing the balls off the tracks. Exciting tricks and stunts can be refined by whirling DaGeDar™ balls in Spinners or loading several balls into Battle Launchers to unleash them with supercharged battle play.

Reading about DaGeDar™ is one thing, but seeing it for yourself is quite another! Check out this awesome commercial!

Disclaimer: In exchange for this post, I was entered into a drawing to win the complete DaGeDar line.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Centrum Get Fit

Remember back in January when you swore up and down that you'd be slim and trim in time for summer?

Guess what?

Bathing suit season is just around the corner!

How would you like to pack up that bathing suit and head to LA?

That's right, you could win a trip to LA and a one-on-one training session with celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, creator of the 5 Factor Diet.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is text the word "CENTRUM" along with an image of a Centrum multivitamin bottle to 89800 for a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles to receive a personal training session with Harley himself, whose clients include Jennifer Hudson and Lady Gaga. Contest ends June 14, 2011.

Getting fit for summer requires exercise, good nutrition, and a multivitamin like Centrum.

Start today, by  "liking”  the Centrum Facebook page to receive exclusive fitness tips from renowned celebrity fitness and nutrition experts and learn how to enter for a chance to win aWii Fit Plus every day between now and June 14th.  You can also download a coupon good on your next Centrum purchase.

Disclaimer:   I participated in this campaign as a member of One2One Network and am eligible for a prize drawing.  All opinions stated in the post are my own.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Off to the Pokey-Wordless Wednesday

I was a bad Mema!

It was just a matter of time before my life of crime
would catch up with me.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

 Monday began the week long celebration of Teacher Appreciation.

TOF started out the week by bringing flowers for each of his preschool teachers.

Today, safely tucked into his backpack are three baggies full of grapes and strawberries, the healthy snack he chose to share with Mrs. K and Ms. Sabi.  Wednesday his classmates will all be wearing Mrs. K's favorite color.  I hope TOF remembers to ask her what it is!  Maybe I should send a note.

Thursday we are sending a very special card we made.  I wish I could take full credit for this, but I found it online and I forgot where.  Isn't it just perfect!  I love it!

Friday is a well deserved day off!  I hope TOF's teachers realize how grateful we are for everything they do.

How are you and your kids showing their appreciation to their teachers?
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Monday, May 2, 2011


TOF is losing teeth left and right. Well, only two so far. Augie Dawgs is already worried about the new teeth and proper spacing. Ughh, every day she becomes more and more like me. Relax. There's not much you can do to prevent crowding.  But thanks to recent developments in braces, fixing that crowding is no longer as difficult as it once was. 

Growing up in a middle class, blue collar family with no dental insurance, braces weren't a luxury I was privy to.  However, I can recall in high school (30 years ago) the girls who had braces often wore unsightly head gear to help straighten their teeth.  Fast forward to the late 1990s and my own kids didn't even have to have bands on their teeth.  Thanks to their orthodontist they have million dollar smiles.

Now in the 21st century, teens and adults have the choice of Invisalign and braces have a whole new look.  Look closely, they're practically invisible.

Invisalign is a series of virtually invisible aligners that gradually move teeth to achieve a great smile and proper bite. It was developed with leading orthodontists who understand the unique treatment and compliance needs of teens as well as their active lifestyles.

Invisalign is the clear alternative to metal braces!

Invisalign can effectively treat many of the same conditions that used to only require metal braces (under bites, overbites, cross bites, etc.)  Invisalign works the same way metal braces do which is moving teeth by applying pressure over time.  Many people believe these plastic aligners are only suited for very mild (cosmetic-type) improvements, but with all of Invisalign's technology advancements, Invisalign can actually treat many of the same conditions that were traditionally treated with metal braces. Invisalign is not only great for adults with whom metal is not an option, but Invisalign now has a product specifically developed for teen patients.

When it comes to a decision as important as straightening your child’s teeth, it’s good to know you now have options. Teens now have a modern choice for straightening their teeth. It’s removable—teens take the aligners out to brush and floss so they can maintain normal, healthy hygiene during treatment and they can eat what they want. No more wires and brackets required. Invisalign Teen treatment is ideal for busy parents because there are never any emergency appointments from broken wires or brackets. And you spend less time at the orthodontist’s office, with fewer appointments and less chair time for uncomfortable tightenings.

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post that I hope will be considered for a spot on the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board thus earning me a complimentary Invisalign treatment.  All opinions are my own.
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