Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

When we do stuff like this...

stuff like this suffers.

But being outside is so much more fun!

and then, she {snapped}
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Daddy! 

If tears could build a stairway
And memories were a lane
I'd walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again

This was an original post on April 7th, 2009.  My Daddy was the best Daddy and Dziadzia and 14 years later I still miss him very much.

His name was Jan Kaminski. I called him Daddy or Tata or Tatusz my entire life.

We ate sardines in oil on rye bread and fried shrimp and tripe stew and galareta, but not all at the same time. We drank tea. You peeled my apples and oranges until I was 19 and then some whenever I came home. You quizzed me on my spelling lists and let me listen to Super CFL in the car instead of Zenon Kwiatkowski's Polish Variety Hour on WOPA. I could always coax you into washing the dishes if I dried and put away, I so hated to get my hands wet, and slimy in the dirty dish water, still do. To say you spoiled me is a HUGE understatement.

Today you would be 89 years old. It's hard to believe you've been gone over 12 years. I last spoke with you on a Tuesday, you were so weak. Then Mom called Thursday morning to say that if I wanted to see you I should come soon. Whynot practically pushed me out the door, I thought if I stalled, you'd wait for me. I was afraid, afraid to lose you.

I almost drove straight through from J-town to Melbourne, the kids and I stopped outside of Atlanta, but I could only sleep a few hours so we piled back into the car and kept driving. We arrived late Friday afternoon. You were incoherent as I held your hand and kissed your forehead, I told you it was ok to go, that the kids and I would be fine. Whynot would take good care of us. We watched Wheel of Fortune together one last time. Saturday morning at about 3:30 you were gone. For months I couldn't drink tea without crying.

Happy Birthday Tatusz, I miss you, but we're ok.

Confidential to RMC, I miss you too, Happy Father's Day!
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peep and the Big Wide World and Between the Lions Awarded Parent’s Choice Gold Awards

Peep and the Big Wide World, WGBH’s Emmy award winning innovative science program for preschoolers, and Between the Lions, its ten time Emmy award winning literacy program for kids aged 3-7, have won 2011 Parent’s Choice Gold Medals.

“We are honored to receive these awards from Parent’s Choice, an organization that shares the values of our mission to educate and entertain,” says WGBH Vice President for Children’s Media and Educational Programming, Brigid Sullivan. “WGBH continues to stand at the top of quality, educational children’s programming.”

In awarding the programs one of it’s highest awards, the Parent’s Choice Foundation notes that “Peep and the Big Wide World is a charming series that will have kids giggling as they learn the value and reward of learning” and “with its humorous puppet cast and focused educational mission, Between the Lions has a smart charm about it that's sure to please early readers and their parents.”

Designed to help parents  and caregivers of all achievements and backgrounds make informed decisions about which new products are right for their children, the Parents' Choice  Awards is the nation's oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children's media. The Parents' Choice Gold Award is given to programs that are judged as  the highest quality, most appealing products in their genre.

Narrated by award-winning comedienne Joan Cusack and set in and around a pond, a bush, and a tin can, Peep and the Big Wide World follows a newly hatched chicken named Peep, and his friends Chirp and Quack (a robin and a duck), on their daily adventures. Surrounding them is a large urban park — a place of great wonder and mystery, a place they are forever eager to explore, a place they call "the big wide world." Each half-hour episode contains two stories which highlight specific science concepts, plus two live-action shorts presenting real kids playing and experimenting with these concepts in their own big wide worlds. Visit Peep and the Big Wide World online at and follow it on Facebook at and on Twitter at @Peepchirpquack.

Between the Lions is an award-winning PBS television series that premiered in April 2000. It's designed to foster the literacy skills of its viewers, while playfully demonstrating the joys of reading. Each show aims to give kids three to seven years old some of the experiences they need in order to become successful readers. The "mane" characters, lion cubs Lionel (age 7) and Leona (age 4) serve as role models for younger viewers. Cleo and Theo are playful, understanding, and literary parents, who eagerly demonstrate the power and pleasure of literacy. You can visit Between the Lions online at

For a full list of Parent’s Choice Awards, visit
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Quest for Zhu

Debuting in Fall 2011 in partnership with Universal Pictures, the "Quest for Zhu" brings the magical Zhu-niverse to life in 3-D stereoscopic animation. Starring the four original ZhuZhu Pets® characters (Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, NumNums and Chunk), the "Quest for Zhu" is an adventurous, heartwarming and heroic tale that Zhu-natics of all ages are sure to love!

Check out the trailer for the "Quest for Zhu"

Disclaimer: By sharing this information, I was entered to win an awesome Zhu-niverse prize pack and one of the very first copies of the "Quest for Zhu" DVD
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Thursday, June 16, 2011 Giveaway and Special Offer

Some days, I repeat no, no, no all day long like a broken record.

Today I'm tossing in let's share, because it's important to share.  What exactly am I sharing with you, you ask?  Why it's a new Chicago area deal site.  I love deal sites and you'll love this one too!, offers 50 to 90 percent off of Chicago's finest restaurants, salons, children activities and much more. They offer over 600 real-time deals that stay up for months on their website and on their new app.  You can purchase deals using your iphone or ipad and use the voucher right there and then without having to print or wait for the deal to go live. How awesome is that!  Find a deal, flash your device and you're in like Flint.

These are just a few of the great deals that are offered:
  • $53 for 10 hrs of Childcare for 1 Child ($105 value) at Kidz Drop In. 2 kids, 3 kids and infant options available.
  • $7 for a Children's or Adult Haircut ($14 value) at Great Clips

In the top right corner of you can enter your address and the distance you prefer, to see what deals are around you.

Dealavue has generously offered to give away a $25 credit to their deal site to one of my Chicago area readers.  And everyone gets $5 off their first purchase just for signing up and using the promo code "MEMA"

To enter: 
  • Leave a comment about the best deal you ever received, a place you'd like to see a deal for, why you should win, or anything else you feel like saying.
Optional extra entries - must complete above entry first and please leave a separate comment for each:
  • Like Dealavue on Facebook & tell them Megryansmom sent you
  • Share the link to this post on Facebook, it's easy to do, just click the button at the bottom of the post!
  • Follow me on Twitter @Megryansmom
  • Share this post on Twitter -please include @Megryansmom and @dealavue
This contest ends runs through Thursday, June 29th and the winner will be notified by email so be sure to leave one with your comment.

Disclaimer:  I was given a Dealavue credit and one to facilitate the giveaway.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch Giveaway

Love the taste of brownies? You’ll go cuckoo for new Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch!

With the delicious taste of brownies “baked” into every bowl, Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch is a delicious chocolate-y cereal ready to be enjoyed for breakfast or as a satisfying snack on the go. You will be sure to get some brownie points as your family’s taste buds delight in the perfect balance of whole grain goodness and delicious chocolate flavor in every bite.

Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch has at least 8 grams of whole grain (48 grams recommended daily) and a good source of calcium and Vitamin D in every serving. For chocolate lovers everywhere, Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch is sure to become a choco-licious go-to!

Would you like to get your hands on a box of new Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch before it hits store shelves?  I just happen to be giving away a prize pack containing one box of the new Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch cereal, two cereal on-the-go containers, and a fun Cocoa Puffs frisbee.

To enter, leave me a comment telling me who you plan to share your Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch with or if you're keeping them all to yourself.  Contest runs through Monday, June 27th and winner will be notified by email, so be sure to leave one with your comment.

For more information on nutritional values check the Big G Grow Up Strong Website and the Whole Grain Nation Website.

Disclaimer: The Cocoa Puffs Brownie Crunch product, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Betty Crocker Baker´s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest and Giveaway

Hold the gluten, grab your apron and start your ovens! 

Betty Crocker is hosting its first-ever gluten-free recipe contest, the Baker´s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, and I want you to be a part of it!

Baking in a gluten-free world poses its own challenges - as well as sweet rewards - so here is your chance to show off the creative solutions and tasty treats that you´ve created for your family and friends.

Now through June 30th, visit for the chance to win a Grand Prize of $5,000. The grand prize winner will also have the chance to be featured on a Betty Crocker® Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick® Gluten Free baking mix package and/or be featured in a Betty Crocker publication! All you have to do is submit an original gluten free holiday-themed appetizer, bread or dessert recipe, using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix.

Recipes will be judged on five key categories: taste, creativity, ease of preparation, consumer appeal and appearance. Plus, if you´re one of 10 selected finalists, you will receive a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking gift basket filled with baking items and Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes. Even more exciting, finalists´ recipes will be featured on and voted on by the Gluten Freely community to determine the Grand Prize Winner!

For great recipe tips, ideas, and suggestions, visit to help get you started and learn more about the Baker´s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest.

Leave a comment below to be entered to win a prize package including all five of the new Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes pictured.  Contest runs through Friday June 24th and winner will be notified by email, so be sure to leave one in your comment.

In addition, through the end of June, you can save 20% on the purchase of any of the five  Gluten Free mixes. Visit to buy yours today!

Disclaimer:  The product, information and giveaway were provided to me by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Enjoy a Mity Nice Father's Day

Mity Nice celebrates Father’s Day with a yummy $10 Burger & Beer Combo (a $ 15 value) on Dad’s big day, Sunday, June 19, and the “Mity Nice Dads Facebook Contest,” Wednesday, June 8 - Saturday, June 18, which awards the best dad with a "Grill Out at Your House."

Mity Nice invites dads to kick back and relax with a Burger & Beer for $10 (a $15 value). Dad can choose any delicious 8 oz. prime beef burger (Cheeseburger, Fritzy’s Special Burger, Bacon Cheddar Burger, Four Mini Burgers, Tuna Burger and Kobe Beef Burger) plus a can of Old Style Beer! Available for the whole family, all day long on Father’s Day.  

Mity Nice is also in search of the best dad, launching its Mity Nice Dad's Facebook Contest, Wednesday, June 8 - Saturday, June 18. You can nominate dad by posting his photo on Mity Nice’s FB Page under the "CONTEST" tab (, describing why he is so great in 3-5 sentences and telling friends and family to vote by “Liking” his photo. The father with the most “Likes” is declared “Best Dad” and will win the grand prize: a "Grill Out at Your House" party for 10 people with Mity Nice’s Executive Chef Larry Donahue. The runner-up will win four tickets to Mity Nice’s “Local Comfort Beer Dinner” ($200 value) and third place will receive a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant.

Mity Nice is modern comfort food; food you like to eat, familiar favorites with a twist. In September of 2010, Mity Nice was refreshed with a new look and new menu showcasing simply prepared foods that provide a sense of home. Signature dishes include 8 ounce prime beef burgers, green chili chicken nachos, six hour braised pot roast and lemon angel food cake.

After 17 years, Mity Nice remains a neighborhood favorite, serving guests who appreciate the value and taste of fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Chicken, beef and pork are hormone and antibiotic free, while raised on family farms. A beer and wine list features the best the Midwest has to offer.

Just a few steps from Michigan Avenue, Mity Nice is located on the Mezzanine Level of Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Avenue, carefully tucked behind foodlife. Hours of operation are11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. Valet parking is available daily, with validation, after 5 p.m. for $11. For more information, please call 312.335.4745, visit or follow Mity Nice Grill on Facebook or Twitter (MityNice).
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost 21 Months


Today you are a week shy of your 21 month birthday.  You look more like a three year old and you try so hard to keep up with your 5 year old brother.  In just 3 months we'll be celebrating your 2nd birthday!  Wow!  It's so hard to believe. 

You came into this world a big boy at 10 lbs and 3 oz and two months ago you weighed 32 lbs and were 36 1/2 inches long. You're going to be a tall boy, very tall.  If I had to guess I'd say 6'5" like one of your uncles.  You love to graze eat.  Everything.  Fruits, veggies, meats and of course some not so healthy things tossed in to even things out.  Cookies, fruit snacks, and ice cream!

You wear a size 5 diaper and mostly 3T clothes.  Your shoes, when you choose to wear them are a size 9.

You're smart, so very smart.  You don't have much to say, but you understand everything being said to you.  A few days ago you said Mema, I heard it, but of course you haven't repeated it since.  You give the biggest, sloppiest, wettest, most delicious kisses.

You're still a very good sleeper, now that we've moved you into the toddler bed.  And as long as you have at least 3 binkies with you.  One in your mouth and one for each hand.  We'll worry about orthodontia later.  Fortunately your parents have great insurance.

You climb like a monkey and I haven't found a gate yet to keep you in one spot and out of trouble.  The latch on the back sliding door that I installed when your brother was a little over 2 is no match for you.  You climb on top of the garbage can to release it and let yourself and the dogs into the yard.  A light bulb went on and I purchased a $5 shower curtain rod to install between the doors.  So far you haven't figured it out, but it's only been a few hours.
You love to splash in the kiddie pool and sprinkler and you had a great time at the water park on Memorial Day.  

You're constantly on the move and have a bit of a stubborn streak.  Recently you've been replying to our requests with a very emphatic NO.  It's absolutely exhausting at times just to be around you!  But I wouldn't trade one single minute of it.  It's what keeps me getting out of bed every morning and keeps me on my toes.  Because one day in the distant future I will dance with Pa at your wedding, but not before I watch you cross the stage at some prestigious university to receive your degree.

I love you my sweet, sticky boy!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lookie What I Made!

Everyone is always telling me how awesome I am.  Well, not exactly everyone and not always.  Once or twice someone has mentioned that I'm amazing.  It may or may not have been laced with sarcasm.  Sometimes I surprise myself.

The end of preschool was approaching and Augie Dawgs came to me and asked, "What should I get TOF's teacher?"  I told her I'd get back to her.  So for a few weeks I scratched my head and wondered, what kind of gift would stand out and really wow TOF's teacher?  I scoured the crafty blog posts and visited with my good friend Google.  I was completely at a loss.  Then the light bulb went off!  Mrs. K is a photographer.  I know photographers.  I'll ask them.  And so I did.  I was at a blogging event with the lovely Sabrina and I asked her what she thought might make a nice gift for a teacher who also happens to be a photographer.

Sabrina suggested that I check on Etsy for a camera strap cover.  She said they had some very nice ones and that I could get one in Mrs. K's favorite colors.  So I was off to Etsy to check them out.  Oy, the choices.  They were all beautiful!  The problem is, I'm cheap frugal.  The nicest covers were almost $30.  It wasn't that $30 was too much to spend on someone who helped TOF grow so much in the past year, it was that to me, the gift didn't look like something that cost that much.  Does that make sense?

I kept looking.

I even sneakily emailed Mrs. K to ask where she gets her pictures printed.  Thinking that perhaps we could purchase a gift certificate for her.  She answered, but wouldn't divulge her secret as to where she gets her professional stuff developed.  Man this is one tough cookie!  I kept looking.  And Googling.  And then I found this.  A step by step tutorial for making a camera strap cover.  I read and reread.  It was easy peasy.  I could do this!

The three of us set out to Hobby Lobby where TOF chose the fabric in Mrs. K's favorite color.  I picked  some brown minky fabric for the underside, so that it would be softer on her neck.  He kept referring to the strap cover as a scarf.  He was so excited.  "I just know Mrs. K is going to love her scarf."  He sat along side me as I crafted the strips of fabric into what was beginning to resemble a camera strap cover.  He stood far away from the iron that he understood was too hot for him to use as I pressed open the seam and applied the interfacing.  It was all beginning to come together and looking nicely if I do say so myself.  I trimmed the seams and turned it right side out.  I felt accomplished.

And then I started to worry.  What if she hates it?  What if she already has a favorite camera strap cover?  What if it doesn't fit?  Or worse, what if she sews?  Really really well.  And notices that maybe there is a flaw?  Because I'm crazy like that.  I worry.

Tuesday, TOF took his gift to school and I worried more.  I was ready to send another email to let Mrs. K know that if it didn't fit, I'd gladly make another.

Today, this was in his backpack when he came home, along with the sweetest note expressing how much she loved her new camera strap.  And I exhaled.  

Sometimes I surprise myself.

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