Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Win FREE Tickets To The Cleveland Parenting Expo! #Cleveland #ParentingExpo #Sponsored

This content has been compensated as part of a promotion for the Cleveland Parenting Expo. However, all opinions remain my own.  #parentingexpo

Parenting Expo Cleveland is the one event that is all about parenting. Located at the IX Center in Cleveland, this two-day family-friendly event will give parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators an opportunity to receive up-to-date information on what’s important to them right now – from prenatal care to raising teens. In addition, attendees will walk away with meaningful coupons, giveaways, goody bags full of products from exhibitors, and opportunities to win prizes throughout the expo. Parenting Expo Cleveland will feature a keynote presentation by Jim Tressel and is sponsored by national and local organizations, including Akron Children’s Hospital.

  • Adult tickets are $ 10.00 per person when purchased online before Noon, April 25, 2014. 
  • At the door, tickets are $12 per person. 
  • Children under 14 are free.
  • You can also purchase advance tickets at DrugMart for $10.  

Admission includes:
  • All events and activities
  • All workshops and programs
  • All the exhibitor provided coupons and offers
  • Eligibility for prizes and giveaways

The International Exposition Center
One I-X Center Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44135

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Fun For The Whole Family
We're planning on going to the parenting Expo as a family. I'm excited for the giveaways, SWAG from exhibitors and activities throughout the exhibit hall. I'm also definitely looking forward to all of the free activities for the kids! Check out some of the family fun below. :)

Face Painting 

Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 – 3:00
On the Exhibit Floor
2 Talented face painting artists offer dozens of creative choices, from elaborate to simple, including cheek art, full faces, and arms or hands. Your kids will love the look … and so will you!

Balloon Artists

Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 – 3:00
On the Exhibit Floor
Our 2 balloon artists will amaze children and adults alike with outrageous balloon hats, wearable costumes, animals of all kinds and just about anything you can think of that can be twisted into balloon art.

Parenting Specialists Park and Playground

Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 – 4:00
Meet the Parenting Specialists in a safe and secure play area where you can keep an eye on your children while sitting down one-on-one with our parenting specialists to get the information you need – right away.

Story and Craft Time

Saturday and Sunday
Demonstration Station
Usbourne Books will read a children’s book that's about a friendly monster. Kids will be encouraged to participate in a craft that goes with the reading  -  making the monsters ears for the kids to wear.

Gaurdians Advocating Child Safety and Protection

Sunday, 11:00 – 4:00
Safety Station
Gaurdians Advocating Child Safety and Protection (GASP) delivers child safety education and outreach programs free of charge.  Parents can get a free computer-generated disc that includes a front photo of your child, a side photo of your child digital fingerprints and pertinent information that you provide. The whole process takes about 5 minutes and is invaluable if the unimaginable happens. While unsettling, It is a good idea to have this updated information available to provide to law enforcement if your child goes missing. 

More About The Parenting Expo Cleveland
  • Very full speaker program. Topics include early intervention services, kindergarten readiness, college savings plans, talking to tweens/teens, summer camps, college admissions, and on and on. There is something for parents at every stage!
  • Variety of hands-on workshops for parents such as newborn care, potty-training, reading food labels, talking about sex, handling bullying, financial aid applications, etc.
  • There will be a Safety Area, where parents can learn about car seats, fire safety, home poisonings, etc.
  • The Expo will include vendors displaying and selling some of the hottest new baby products–many of whom will be offering great discounts on these products!
  • Want to stay up to date about Parenting Expo? Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and Pinterest.

Win Tickets!
I'm excited to be giving away two "Family Four-Packs" of tickets to the Parenting Expo Cleveland. To enter, just use the easy Rafflecopter form below. :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our Chicago Vacation: A Day At LEGOLAND in Schaumburg

Thanks to LEGOLAND Discovery Centers for providing my family with free admission to the Chicago/ Schaumburg LEGOLAND.

The first day of our Chicago vacation was packed with something my whole family loves... LEGO! When we walked in, we were immediately greeted by Albert Einstein. As you can see in the photo, the detail that went into creating this piece was amazing. And, I'm sure it's no coincidence that his nose was at the perfect height for the kids to dig their hands in!

As we waited in line for our tickets, Phoenix checked out the map of LEGOLAND. 

Upon entering LEGOLAND, we were greeted by Miniland Chicago which features famous Chicago landmarks built from almost 2 million LEGO bricks! Highlights include Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain and the Wrigley Building. 

Next, we trekked through the Jungle Expedition. This stunningly-beautiful LEGO jungle brought us face to face with some incredible life-size LEGO jungle animals! From tigers, to hippos and monkeys, we followed the quiz trail to learn fun facts about our LEGO jungle friends.

The LEGO® STAR WARS™ MINILAND Model Display Episode IV was next on our visit. At this beautiful display, we were able to experience the epic duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader and watch in awe as the Millennium Falcon rises from the deserts of Tatooine. We explored the bustling city of Mos Eisley and took in the busy cantina where the band plays its familiar tune and dangerous characters lurk in dark corners. And,we saw the fortress-like depths of the mighty Death Star as it rises ominously above the dusty planet, and even tested our skills in the interactive model display to destroy the Imperial base or bring down the attacking X-Wings. 

Next, it was off to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride. Our family hopped in a dragon car, armed with laser zappers, and rode through the forest to help destroy some evil villains! We got points for each skeleton and troll that you zap, and a few bonus targets that really helped boost our score! Our individual points tally was recorded on the dragon car, so we could see who got the highest score. You can ride Kingdom Quest as many times as you like, and the ride is included in the standard admission price.

As we headed upstairs, our first stop was the LEGO® 4D Cinema, which I thought was absolutely amazing!
This movie theater take the fun of 3D and add special effects, like wind, rain and snow, so that you really feel like a part of the story! We saw LEGO Clutch Powers, but there is LEGO Legends of Chima too. Both movies are family friendly and run for approximately 15 minutes. The movies run on rotation throughout the day.

The LEGO® Factory Tour was our next stop. The LEGO fun factory is where kids learn all about how LEGO bricks are made. Professor Brick-a-Brack will took us through each step of the brick creation process, starting with the plastic granulate, all the way through to printing and distribution. The kids also get a special souvenir LEGO brick to take home with them. 

After such a busy day, it was definitely time for some free play for the kids. Luckily, the LEGO® City Construction Site was our next stop. The LEGO City jungle gym is the perfect place for kids to burn off some excess energy! As well as climbing slopes and slides, the jungle gym also features soft LEGO bricks which are perfect for building big walls and houses. The jungle gym is located next to the cafĂ©, so adults are able to keep a close eye on their children while they play.

Our last stop at LEGOLAND in Chicago was the Technicycle Ride. The Technicycle is a fun pedal bike ride – as you go round in circles, pedal as fast as you can to fly up in the air. As soon as you stop pedalling, you’ll fly straight back down! This is a family friendly ride, and is especially popular with younger children. Ariana was not tall enough to ride, but Phoenix was, as long as he was accompanied by an adult. Like with everything at LEGOLAND, you can go on the ride as many times as you like, and the ride is included in the admission price. :)

And that, my friends,sums up our trip to LEGOLAND in Schaumburg - Chicago. If you have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it! The memories we made there will certainly last a lifetime. :)

Have you ever been to LEGOLAND? What was your favorite part? Leave a comment below :)

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Our Chicago Vacation: Staying & Playing At The Hampton Inn & Suites of Chicago in Hoffman Estates

We hadn't planned on taking a vacation this year, but when the stars seemed to align for a last-minute trip to Chicago, we decided to go for it. After about 6 hours of driving through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, we finally made it to our destination - Chicago!

About 1 hour outside of Chicago, we made it to the Hampton Inn & Suites of Chicago in Hoffman Estates. The hubbs went in to check in, and came back with the good news that we had been upgraded to a suite for free! Score! Our suite was absolutely beautiful. The rooms were very nice, modern and clean. Plus, our suite had a full kitchen, complete with refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, dishes, and even free popcorn! The best part? We scored this room for just $80 a night - an amazing value for our money.



Most importantly, it had plenty of room for the kids to run around and play! Even on vacation, I made sure to give them some free time to just play around.  

We also made use of the pool & spa that was there. The kids had an absolute blast. In fact, I'm already looking into joining a pool back in Ohio so we can go swimming more often. :)


Posts about our trips to Legoland & Medieval Times will be coming soon! Stay tuned.:)

Have you ever been to Chicago? What was your favorite part? Leave a comment below :)

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Monday, March 31, 2014

DIY Fungus-Remover & Super-Cleaner

I've been experimenting a lot with essential oils lately. I love that I can make products at home that are just as good, or even better than their store-bought counterparts. This fungus-remover & super-cleaner is one of my absolute favorites. I developed it after working very hard to get rid of some nasty mold that had been lingering around the corner of my house. After just 3 days of applications, the mold had completely disappeared. I proceeded to spray the area once a week for two months. And, now more than 1 year later, the mold hasn't come back. :)

I get all of my essential from Mountain Rose Herbs, which you can buy from my affiliate link - Because you use essential oils by the drops, they really do last forever.

Fungus-Remover & Super-Cleaner Recipe

In an empty spray bottle mix
  ½ cup water
  2 drops sweet orange essential oil
  1 drop peppermint essential oil
  2 drops tea tree essential oil
  1 drop camphor essential oil
  1 drop vetiver essential oil
  2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Shake & spray!

To Remove Mold & Fungus
Spray daily on affected area. Repeat daily until mold gone. Once mold is gone, continue to apply once a week for a month. Then, continue to apply once a month to maintain mold-free environment.

To Use As A Super-Cleaner
Spray on area to be cleaned. Wait a few minutes, if desired. Wipe clean. :)

To Use As An Air-Freshener
Spray and enjoy the fresh, clean scent. :)

To Use As Sparring Gear Cleaner
Spray liberally to surface and allow to thoroughly air dry. Re-apply until sparring gear smells clean and fresh :)

I'm sure there are a million other ways to use this too! Feel free experimenting to see what ways you can find to use this recipe.

Feel free to share this post on all of your favorite social networks, and as always, feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ariana's first haircut - an adorable bob, perfect for my little preschooler!

I've been wanting to get Ariana's hair cut for a while now. Sure, I've trimmed her bangs and have attempted to trim the back, but I haven't done a good job.

I've tried to keep my little girl's hair as long as I could. I just love how little girls with long pretty hair! But, Ariana's hair has grown in very slowly. I've refrained from cutting it as long as possible so she could have that beautiful, long hair... but instead of long flowing locks, her hair just ends up looking a scraggly since her hair has grown in so uneven.

I finally decided that enough was enough. Today I decided to get her hair officially cut by a professional. I wanted her to have a short bob, because she doesn't like her hair being brushed, styled, etc. So, a bob can pretty much look cute all on it's own, taking care of all of those scraggly ends. Plus, when it grows out, it will still be cute.

I love her new haircut, and somehow, I think her new 'do suits her much better than her old one. The short bob gives her a playful, yet polished look... absolutely perfect for my little girl!

I promised Ariana that is she did well,during her haircut, I'd let her pick where we would go to lunch... she went with Burger King. :)

Once we got home,she was way too busy playing to bother with taking pictures of her new haircut, so I did the best I could!

So, what did you think? Leave a comment below! :)

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Medieval Times - Discount Coupon Code

This post is sponsored by Medieval Times.

Who loves Medieval Times? I know I sure do. I'm really looking forward to taking out family there in a few weeks. In the meantime, I wanted to share this amazing offer with you - a very special Medieval Times discount coupon code! From now until the end of March, ALL SEATS are just $28! (This offer expires 3/31/2014 and is not valid at our New Jersey or Dallas castle.) Just use discount coupon code 28MM to snag this amazing offer!

For the latest and greatest info about Medieval Times, be sure to like them on Facebook at

So, have you ever  been to Medieval Times? What did you think? Leave a comment below! :)

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

What we do instead of television...

Two weeks ago, I set up a new television system that allows my children to each pick one 20-minute show to watch each day, and I have the option of picking one "educational' show for them. I don't always pick a show, but when I do, they tend to be science and nature NOVA-type documentaries and programming on the Discovey Channel which tend to run 30-60 minutes.  Between everything, they tend to watch 40-90 minutes of television a day. (You can download the fun chart we use here.)

My concern with television has never been with the quality of programming. As a parent in 2013, there are a lot of options for quality television. But my concern is about something different. I like restricting television time because it gives my children time to play and use their imaginations. Children need free time to play, but between school, sports, homework, playdates, today's children get very little unstructured free time to simply play. Once you add the amount of time kids spend on electronics and watching television, the numbers are beyond saddening. Every minute the television is on is one minute I'm depriving my children of the free play time they so desperately need. And how much unstructured play time do they need? My children thrive on at least 4 hours a day of completely unstructured play time. And the more we leave the television is off, the easier play becomes, and the stronger their imaginations become. Now what parent doesn't want that, right?

So,what does a typical day look like at our house? Well, quite often like this!

Crazy? Yes. Life with a 5-year-old and 2½-year-old should be crazy! 

So, how much television do you and your kids watch each day? What do you think about limiting television to 40 minutes a day for preschoolers & kindergartners? Leave a comment below! :)
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Friday, March 21, 2014

My Very First Spring Book Fair!

Yes, the rumors are true. We're regulars at the library, often sneaking out of there each Tuesday with an enormous bag of twenty or more books. But sometimes the library just doesn't have everything we're looking for. Take the Usborne books for example. My kids are obsessed with them, but our library only has a few. *gasp* I know! So, what's an internet-savvy mom like myself to do? Well, I went on a search to find more, and discovered that they have sales reps, book parties, the whole thing! You know I just had to sign up. I was stoked... not only for myself, but that I'm able to share my favorite books with my blog readers.

So, here's the deal. I'm having a Facebook Usborne Books party this Wednesday, March 26 at 8:30pm, and I'd love for you to join me! The books are awesome, and I'll think your little ones will really love them. I know mine do! Best part you never have to leave your house. Just log onto Facebook (you can click this link: and join the event. Then you just show up at the specific time and party in your pajamas with us online. Check out the link and RSVP – the first 20 people to RSVP with a yes or a maybe, that come to the party, will be entered into a special drawing! Can't wait to "see" you there!!

Can't Make It To The Party? No Problem! 
You can order online at :)

No Kids? No Problem!
Chances are if you don't have little kids yourself, you know someone who does. Maybe it's a neighbor, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or co-worker's children. And, kids like books. Parents like books. The reasons to give books are endless... Easter, birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day, "just because" gifts, etc. So stop by my Usborne Party Page and get a few books for those favorite kids of yours, and they'll think of you whenever they read them. :)

Thanks - I can't wait to see you there! :)

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