Circus XTREME, Entertaining & Educational!?!

 

We attended the 145th edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Circus XTREME!! And it was AWESOME!!

circusfun 001

 

circusfun 024

We made certain we arrived early to experience all the fun pre-show activities!! We had the pleasure of stepping foot on the main floor, meeting some of the amazing performers, tried on some sweet costumes, got to volley a beach ball with an elephant, learned some circus skills, and more! Pics below is of our 4th grader giving the tightrope a try. The performers were so sweet with the children; they helped guide them and made them feel like superstars!

 

circusfun 017

 

circusfun 019

And then it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for, the greatest show on Earth began!!! We so enjoyed watching Alex and Irina on their adventures for the most XTREME!

 

circusfun 030

circusfun 035

 

circusfun 046

 

circusfun 042

I took such delight in watching the children’s expressions and hearing their comments during all the magnificent performances. I am finding that as our family gets on in the years it becomes more difficult to find family activities that captivate the attention of all 3 children. Either activates are to mature for our youngest or too “babyish” for the older two but circus XTREME totally nailed it & drew the entire family in! At one point I even took delight in seeing our 4th grader beaming with joy as she took pics of the performances on her iPod. Of course as soon as she made eye contact with me and saw I was smiling her expression faded but I got my glimpse of her joy and that was enough for me!

Meanwhile our preschooler literally fell out of her seat ½ a dozen times! She was dancing to the music, clapping her hands, screaming with enthusiasm, etc. At one point she even leaned over and shouted, “MOM! He doesn’t have a safety belt on!!” in astonishment! LOL! And she was legitimately speechless, (which is XTREMELY rare for her), when she saw mermaids floating in the sky.

circusfun 066

Our 2nd grader was in awe over the BMX freestyle riders & trampoline acrobats.

 

I personally thought the bungee skydivers aerial acro-ballet was the perfect combination of elegant & edgy, the black lights really solidified the cool factor! I have so much admiration for the performers. I had the pleasure of taking an aerial fabric class locally with a group of moms and I was absolutely astonished at the amount of strength, endurances, etc. that goes into those performances, they make it look so fluid and effortless.

circusfun 044

 

We had the best time! Our second grader even came over to me afterwards, gave me a big hug and said thank you for bringing him to the show….swoon!!!

 

 

What ensued once we got home was a magnificent conversation. The children were absolutely amazed & astonished by all the quality of the performances and performers. We discussed all the hard work, practice, integrity, endurance, perseverance, and trust that go into those performances. Math might have also come up in the conversation, a lot of the performances involve math, I do believe going to the circus might have just encouraged my kiddos to go over their math facts every night & for that I thank you Circus XTREME! And I also thank Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus XTREME for such a magnificent family friendly entertaining evening…and for making me cool in my 4th graders eyes, even if it was only for a couple hours, I will take it!! Don’t miss out on your opportunity for a fun filled family experience….XTREME is only here for a limited amount of time, get your tickets today!!

SHOW DATES & TIMES:

Friday, Oct. 30 7:00 PM

Saturday, Oct. 31 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM    

Sunday, Nov. 1 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, & 7:00 PM

TICKET INFO:

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME at Huntington Center Thursday October 29th– November 4th 2015. Tickets start at just $15! CLICK HERE to order or order over the phone by calling 1-800-745-3000

A Harvest Birthday Bash!! You won’t believe what brought me to tears!

A special little lady turned 5 back in August, yes, I said August. Haha! Funny, I always thought it would be awesome having a birthday in August mostly because mine is in freezing cold winter, January! Well, it turns out that the week before school starts is a bad time to have a birthday. Our budget was blown on back-to-school clothes and supplies and to be honest I didn’t have it in me to plan a party during that hectic time of year. We seemed to add an afterschool activity as each week progressed. Thus 8 weeks later and we are finally having that party and that is the story of how an August baby celebrated her birthday in October. I suppose it is better late than never!

Total confession, I have always wanted to have a Fall Harvest gathering, it always looks so romantic in the magazines, the colors, the activities, etc. so my wish came true! And let me tell you, it was everything I thought it would be and more!! I could not have asked for a more beautiful day, it was sunny, temps in the mid-70s, and just a nice light breeze, it was perfect!! It should be noted that I was a bit concerned when I was literally wearing my winter coat and gloves while we prepared for the party the week before.

I had inquired what our little Gracie girl would like to do as the craft for her party. Her response was one that while exciting and fun would require some thinking on my part. She requested that we make pumpkins into Cinderella carriages. Let me tell you, those pumpkin carriages were a challenge, one I graciously accepted. 5 trips to Hobby Lobby, 3 returns, 2 trips to the Dollar Store, a lot of trial & error, and 1 quick stop at Jo-Ann Fabrics later and we had all the supplies we needed to make the pumpkin carriages!!

 

 

pumpkincarriage 009

 

pumpkincarriage 012

 

I ended up locating the Styrofoam pumpkins at the Dollar Store, SCORE!!! It was a good thing they were only a dollar because I ended up eating away at the Styrofoam of the first few with spray-paint. FYI, when spray-painting Styrofoam do make certain that the can is at least 8 inches away, it will require you purchase more paint because you will have to apply more coats/layers but at least your project will not be destroyed. The doll rods, wheels, and most everything else was purchased at Hobby Lobby, I did have to make a stop in at Jo-Ann Fabrics on a Sunday to get more spray paint after my little mishaps. But it all turned out well in the end, challenge accepted, completed, and I gained some knowledge along the way, total a win-win!

 

maddyhalloweenbday 001

 

maddyhalloweenbday 022

 

 

maddyhalloweenbday 010

maddyhalloweenbday 029

As I stated the day of the party was gorgeous!!! All her friends arrived, we chatted, kids played, and then the festivities began!

The children assembled and decorated their Cinderella carriages……

 

maddyhalloweenbday 037

 

maddyspumpkincarriage 003

 

pumpkincarriage 034

 

maddyhalloweenbday 044

 

We played fun games….

 

maddyhalloweenbday 048

 

maddyhalloweenbday 055

 

maddyhalloweenbday 067

 

maddyhalloweenbday 072

 

And then it was time for the cake!! The birthday girl requested that each child make their own cupcake. I have to admit my first reaction when I heard this was one of disappointment, how could we not have a beautiful cake? I had this glorious image in my head of her in front of a perfectly adorned cake and all her friends gathered around singing. I suggested to her that we have cupcakes to decorate and a cake to blow out the candles. And her response literally brought me to tears!!! She looked up at me with those big baby blue eyes and exclaimed “Mom, it goes God, others, then yourself. God would want me to give everyone their own special cupcake. And can we please get everyone a candle because I am excited for the day they were born too!!” And that sealed the deal, plain cupcakes decorated by a bunch of 4 & 5 year olds it would be!! There isn’t a cake fancy enough in this world that would have meant more to me than those words that came out of her little five year old mouth. So everyone decorated their cupcakes and received a birthday candle!

 

maddyhalloweenbday 087

 

maddyhalloweenbday 091

 

Then it was time for gifts. I have noticed that gifts have become a sensitive topic. There are those who request a donation instead, and I think that is a wonderful option, and we might do that one day too.

maddyhalloweenbday 101

The reason why I allow gifts now is because I believe it helps the children learn how to politely accept a gift, to truly value the thought behind the gift, and to learn how to graciously respond to receiving a gift they may already own or perhaps do not favor. It is my hope that they learn these qualities when they are young so as adults they can appreciate every person’s gift, no matter the monetary value, because let’s be honest some of the best gifts are the ones that hold no monetary value!! Speaking of gifts, it would be amiss if I did not mention the amazing moms who attended, they helped out so much, taking pics, cleaning, being on piñata duty, etc. they allowed me to enjoy the party too, I am so blessed to have them in my life.

 

 

 

I have to admit, I was a little sad to see the day end. It wasn’t like one of those romantic Fall Harvest gatherings you see in the magazines, with the colors, the activities, etc. it was better!!

 

Modern Day Life from the Perspective of a Pilgrim…where did we go wrong?

This past weekend, thanks to Netflix, the History Channel, and 3 loads of laundry I had the opportunity to watch an episode of, America the Story of Us.  The first episode discusses the establishments of the American colonies. I have to admit, it was nice for my mommy brain to have a refresher course on the establishments of Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies, especially before Thanksgiving. I have a feeling the kiddos will have a lot of exceptional questions for me, it’s wise that I start reviewing now.

As I sat there folding laundry I found myself being drawn to one particular character, Susanne Winslow. The episode addressed all the hardships the Pilgrims faced, the famine, disease, and the brutal winter when more than half the passenger that made the pilgrimage died in an epidemic referred to as “The First Sickness”. Susanna Winslow’s husband, William White, was one of the passengers who died the first winter; she remarried to Edward Winslow, whose wife Elizabeth had also died the first winter. Susanne and Edward’s was the first wedding in the new colony. They had 5 children, although only 2 lived to adulthood. It is said that roughly 10% of the US population can trace their lineage back to Susanne & Edward Winslow. I found this to be quite interesting and it got me thinking, what if Susanne Winslow could see us now? What would she think of our modern ways, of our modern women in comparison to the colonial women?

If Susanne Winslow could see us now…..

I think she would be absolutely blown away by the inventions of electricity, heat, indoor plumbing, cars, and all the awesome modern day appliances. I have a feeling she would be particularly fond of the idea of not having to empty chamber pots! I am certain she would be mesmerized by the conveniences we have like ovens, range, refrigerator, washer, & dryer. Considering the fact that most colonial women spent practically their entire days’ worth of time preparing fires, cooking, making candles, washing clothes, etc. one would think that us modern day women would really appreciate these conveniences but sadly we still complain about the amount of laundry, having to cook, and having to go shopping. Speaking of shopping, I do believe Mrs. Winslow would pass out when she saw ALL the options we have in terms of grocery stores and the abundance of food available. Food that we didn’t have to raise, tend, kill, and clean!

Famine is definitely not a problem like it was that first winter in Plymouth. Though Mrs. Winslow might be surprised to find out that with all this food we are a nation that suffers from malnourishment. That we have too many processed foods in our diets, that we have genetically modified our food, that we are consuming so many calories yet they are lacking in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Our relationship with food has dramatically changed since the first colonist. We have become so obsessed with it; we no longer eat to live but rather live to eat. We are destroying our organs with these convenience foods. We are making ourselves sick.

Speaking of sick, sadly only 2 of the 5 children Mrs. Winslow had survived to adulthood. She might be overjoyed to find out that we now have immunizations against various diseases that would have wiped out generations in the past. Though, she might also be surprised to find that some Americans choose not to vaccinate their children from these diseases. She might also be staggered to find that American woman now have the option to homebirth or birth at a hospital. And yet we forget what a blessing a hospital can be if mother or baby is in distress. We have also forgotten that there are some mothers who cannot breastfeed and how fortunate we are to live during a time when fortified formula is available.

I do believe Mrs. Winslow would think that thanks to all these modern day conveniences like appliances, grocery stores, electricity, plumbing, etc. that we would have so much wonderful free time to spend with our families, playing music together, telling stories, playing games, etc. She would be extremely disappointed to find that this is not true. That we have instead overscheduled our children’s free time with organized sports and activities, that screens have become our focus, television screens, gaming systems, phones etc. that families may physically be in the same room but they are far too often not spending the time together. The quality family time that one would assume all these modern day conveniences would offer us is not so, we have lost our focus somewhere along the way.

Channeling the life of Susanne Winslow, one of the first Pilgrims has really opened my eyes to how far we have come and yet how much we have lost along our journey. We have come so far and have been blessed with so much and yet we still complain, find the negative, argue, etc.

It is fascinating how quickly our modern day lives can be put into perspective when comparing them to the hardships of colonial women. From now on I am making a valiant effort to be grateful for all my modern day conveniences and will be using my time more wisely, I kinda feel like I owe it to those strong, hardworking, persevering, determined, and amazing colonial women.

Toledo Museum of Art did it again! This FREE Exhibition will have you Dancing!

When one hears the word Ballerina what comes to mind? Elegance, grace, and beauty!? That is precisely what is displayed in the Toledo Museum of Art’s latest exhibition Degas & the Dance!

Degas 058

As my little ballerina and I entered the Canaday Gallery we were greeted by Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. The 38-inch tall figure cast in bronze depicts Marie van Goethem, a student in the ballet school of the Paris Opéra and it sets the perfect tone for the exhibition.

We enjoyed walking around and admiring the sculptures, painting, and pastels (especially my favorite, The Dancers which just so happens to be located in my favorite Museum, wink, wink) but what really captivated my little ballerina’s attention was the section of the exhibition that illustrated archival material and gorgeous costumes from the Toledo Ballet’s “Nutcracker” productions.

Degas 019

 

Degas 018

 

Degas 012

And finally the pièce de résistance of the exhibition, in an adjacent gallery there is an actual dance studio!! Complete with music, ballet barre, dance floor and mirrors, the only thing missing is YOU!!

Degas 046

 

Degas 021

 

Degas 038

 

Degas 036

 

Degas 031

 

Degas 042

 

 

That’s right; you get to be a ballerina! Don’t know the moves? Have no fear; there are instructions on the wall. And you can even try to pose as Degas’s bronze sculptures. My little ballerina had an absolute blast!!

 

Degas 052

Degas 050

 

 

 

But the fun didn’t stop there! Afterward we made our way downstairs and happened upon this awesome little artistic interlude.

Degas 065

 

Degas 068

Then we were off to the TMA Family Center where they offer FREE art projects for children 1-12 that coincide with certain programs and exhibits at the Museum as well as an awesome cognitive play area! (Click here for days open, hours, and themes for the Toledo Museum of Art’s Family Center). Degas must have really inspired her because she chose to paint a ballerina.

 

Degas 072

 

Degas 074

After all that painting she was a bit parched and thankfully since the exhibition was FREE and the Family Center was FREE we didn’t feel the least bit guilty stopping for lunch at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Café.

Degas 004

 

And we might have hit up the gift shop and I might have purchased an adorable little ballerina for my adorable little ballerina, I couldn’t help myself, the price was right!!

Degas 061

Since we got a taste we can’t wait to go back for more!

We are marking our calendar for….

Degas 056

The Toledo Ballet Open Rehearsal (Admission is FREE)

(Oct. 16th, Oct. 23rd, Nov. 6th, Nov. 20th, Dec. 4th, Dec. 18th, & Jan. 1st)

6:45pm-8:30pm in the Canaday Gallery

Watch dancers from the Toledo Ballet rehearse excerpts from one of the upcoming productions including, “The Nutcracker”!

The Great Art Escape: Dance in the Peristyle (Admission is FREE)

Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2016: 2 p.m., Peristyle

The Toledo Museum of Art comes alive during its annual winter celebration The Great Art Escape, including the following dance performances at 2 p.m. in the Peristyle:

 

Dec. 26: Ardan Academy of Irish Dance

 Dec. 27: El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folkloric

 Dec. 31: Aegela Centers for Middle Eastern Dance

 Jan. 1, 2016: Aha! Indian Dance

 Jan. 2, 2016: Toledo Jazz Orchestra with swing dancers

 Jan. 3, 2016: Toledo Ballet, Awkward Girl

And last but not least The Toledo Ballet’s, The Nutcracker ($49 and up, Perfect Christmas Gift for all ballerinas at heart!) at Stranahan

Dec. 12th 2:00pm

Dec. 12th 7:00pm

Dec. 13th 2:00pm

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. Edgar Degas

What will you see? Please share via #DegasatTMA

 

This Special Day Originated in OHIO! See How I Celebrate It

Legend has it that Sweetest Day was established around 1922 by Herbert Birch Kingston, a Cleveland, Ohio, candy company employee who wanted to bring happiness to the lives of those who often were forgotten. Kingston and others distributed candy and small gifts to orphans, people confined to their homes and others to show them that someone cared.

In time, the Sweetest Day idea of spreading cheer broadened to include everyone from family members to sweethearts and coworkers to acquaintances.

Observance of Sweetest Day is still most prevalent in the Great Lakes region where the holiday originated, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. But today, the once-regional celebration of Sweetest Day has spread throughout the country. Source

In honor of Sweetest Day I decided to do something extra special for a very special person in my life. This person always wakes up in the morning and rushes over to give me a great big hug. This person is one of the most cheerful people I know and so kind hearted. This person has also been experiencing some real growing pains. They haven’t been allowed to do what everyone else can do, like have sleepovers, ride their bike to the park with their friends, see some of the big kids movies, play some of the big kid games, etc. Often this person gets stuck with mom while all the big kids have all the fun. If you haven’t guessed, my very special person is my youngest.

Being the youngest is tough, you have to wait forever to be able to do the things the big kids can do and then once you can finally do them the big kids are no longer doing them or have simply lost interest. I was the oldest and could never really relate to the youngest woes. I assumed they had it easy. I was wrong. As I watched her gazing out the window at the kids riding their bikes around the block I could see the longing in her eyes. Sure I always offer to take her myself but it just isn’t the same. Since she is stuck being the youngest and often feels forgotten by all the big kids I decided that in honor of Sweetest Day I would surprise her with something extra special, something to make being the youngest kinda cool, kinda awesome, and most certainly sweet!

 

SHARIESBERRIESRibbet collage

One of her favorite books that we have been reading together since she was 2 years old is, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. Brief synopsis, the Little Mouse will do anything & everything he can to save his big red ripe strawberry from the big, hungry bear; he hides it and disguises it. And then (spoiler alert) he decides the only way to save it from the bear is to share it with the reader. So he gets a knife and cuts it in two to share.

 

SHariBerriesRibbet collage

I went through with my plan. We read the book together and then at the end of the story I had a special treat for my sweetheart. I expressed to her that I too like the mouse have some red ripe delicious strawberries that I do not want the big hungry bear to eat. But these are not any ordinary strawberries, these are extra special! And like clockwork guess what showed up at our door? Shari’s Berries !!! Oh the expression on her face was priceless!!

SHARIESBERRIES2Ribbet collage

And then we dove in, eyes first. We both admired how beautiful the strawberries were and agreed that all strawberries should come with chocolate, it just makes sense. Haha!

Shari'sBerries_SOTMMax 021

 

It just felt so right, youngest and oldest sharing such a special moment over delicious chocolate covered strawberries in honor of one of the sweetest holidays that just so happened to originate in our favorite state, Ohio. That moment was pure bliss! The initial crunch of the chocolate coating, the sweet juice of the strawberry, the marriage of texture and taste, it was a mouthwatering symphony for the taste buds. And the best part was sharing it with one of my most favorite people in the whole entire world, my little strawberry princess.

Turns out being the youngest isn’t so bad after all, it can have some perks.

Happy Sweetest Day!

If you are looking for something sweet for your sweetheart I do recommend checking out all the amazing options Shari’s Berries offers, they have a nice selection that can satisfy every sweet tooth and budget.

 

A Cooking Show for REAL MOMS: Resourceful Recipes

I am a very patient person but there are 3 things in this world that I lack patience for, golf, adult tantrums, and extensive recipes!

For as long as I can remember I have never been fond of recipes with a long list of ingredients, steps, or worse, both! In high school I even managed to get a C in home economics because I grabbed another student’s meat instead of my own for the final exam. Why? Simple, I was focusing on the length of the recipe and not the students assigned name at the top of each recipe. Turns out the one assigned to me was 12 steps but the recipe I completed was a mere 6. I thought it was just smart economics to select the one that required the least amount of ingredients and time to prep, sadly the teacher disagreed with my logic.

My impatience for long recipes only exacerbated when I became a mother. I have tried to seek help via cooking shows. I watched Martha Stewart, bad idea. All that did was send me into a full on adult tantrum….I was literally yelling at the screen, “Shut up Martha! It isn’t easy! You have 20 assistants helping you, of course it is SIMPLE for you!!! Where are my assistants?!” Then I heard about Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals and hope was restored but short lived. It still wasn’t practical for where I am right now in my life. Can’t anyone relate to the madness that encompasses moms at dinner time!?

The only cooking show I can think of that the host has a lot of kids is The Pioneer Woman. Now I adore Ree but in all her shows her kids are off doing something while she cooks…then they join in the end. That is great and all but not practical. Why can’t they come up with a cooking show for REAL MOMS!? You know one where mid-sentence the host’s child yells downstairs, “I need you to wipe my butt”, while another child scream in frustration, “I don’t get this story problem! Grrr!!”, neighbor yells into the window “your dog got out”, husband calls from out of town, and yet dinner must go on!! Where is that show?

If I had the means I would start a cooking show called Resourceful Recipes for REAL Moms!! Where you would see REAL life…like this impromptu Nerf War battle that broke out while I prepared dinner…..

kidsbeingsilly_sunrise_pizza 001

kidsbeingsilly_sunrise_pizza 027

 

kidsbeingsilly_sunrise_pizza 024

 

 

And you would receive simple resourceful recipes like this one because ain’t no one got time for 16 ingredients & 11 STEPS!!

mealplans 007

Salmon in a Lemon Butter Bath served with Roasted Broccoli

Main Dish: Salmon (great source of healthy fats and protein)

 

mealplans 005

Ingredients:

  • 1 large salmon filet from Costco
  • 8 tsp Kerrygold butter (grass-fed)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Dill Seafood Seasoning (Rodelle)
  • Seaweed wraps (optional)

mealplans 012

Makes 12 servings

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the salmon in a 13 x 9 inch glass dish.
  3. Place butter in center, pour lemon juice over salmon, and shake seasoning evenly around filet.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. The salmon should flake easily with a fork when fully cooked.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow cooling for 10 minutes.

mealplans 009

Cut into serving sizes, roughly 12.

Serve salmon with 5 seaweed wraps, place a spoonful of salmon in the center of the wrap, roll it up & enjoy! (This is entirely optional, just something I enjoy and figured I would share in case others are interested).

Side: Broccoli (great source of fiber!)

Ingredients:

  • One bag of frozen Broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Himalayan Pink salt

Directions:

  1. Place broccoli on roasting sheet, drizzle broccoli with olive oil, shake salt (to preference) evenly over broccoli.
  2. Place in oven with filet for 30 minutes…should be slightly roasted.
  3. Remove and serve!

 

Make certain you place leftover Salmon in a container; you will need it for future meals. Like lunch and even breakfast (that’s right, we do leftovers from dinner for breakfast….think outside the cereal box!).

mealplans 016

 

meals_gustbrothers 004

 

 

Now that is what I call a resourceful recipe! Do you have a resourceful recipe, something simple, easy, short, a recipe that you can make once yet eat 3 times? Please share.

 

 

 

 

Removing this one thing made my life SO much better!

How is the quality of your life? Do you exhibit brain fog? Do you have enough energy to play with your kids/grandchildren? Are you always hungry? Are you always tired? Are you easily irritable? Do you want a solution? What if I told you that you could cure these ailments and feel amazing?

I have been on a journey back to a healthy lifestyle for the past 9 months. And I am happy to report that the brain fog has officially lifted, my skin has cleared up, I have more energy than ever, I don’t need coffee in the morning or afternoon, I no longer crash around 2pm, I don’t crave sugars or carbs, my appetite has been curbed, oh, and added bonus, I have lost 12 pounds!! I feel amazing! This is the way I believe God intended us to feel so that we can actually enjoy our lives, to thrive! And the best part, I can still eat the foods I enjoy, chocolate pudding, peanut butter cups, fudge, butter, bacon, etc.!

PUDDINGmeals_gustbrothers 033

 

PUDDINGmeals_gustbrothers 046

And I don’t have to work out every day…in fact I only work out 3 times a week, for 20 minutes or less.

I will start at the beginning of my journey….my initial pursuit was to remove the brain fog, think more clearly, not be as agitated and irritable.

STEP ONE: I REMOVED the SUGAR!!

Did you know Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine!! (Source) The addiction is REAL folks! And sadly it is in EVERYTHING! We all know soda and candy has sugar, but did you know it can be found in foods marketed as “healthy”, like oatmeal, yogurt, bread, soup, etc. Our food supply has been altered so much! Fat has gotten such a bad rap; manufacturers have removed fat and increased sugar immensely! Too much fructose shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re full, so what do you do, eat more sugar just to get that feeling of being satiated.

SUGARCUBES

IMAGE http://www.diabetesinc.net/chart-for-sugar-content-in-foods/

This first step, removing the sugar, is the toughest step and one you will want to do slowly. I do not advice going cold turkey. If you go cold turkey you will have horrible withdrawals, headaches, stomach aches, irritability. Sugar is like a drug and after we consume a certain amount we need that same amount every day just to feel “normal”. So I advice taking it one day at a time, it took me weeks to get through this step.

Tips to wean your family off sugar:

  • Don’t bring it in the house! Stop buying the big sugar items like soda, cookies, desserts, etc. If those toxic items are not in the house then you & your family will not consume them.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store….the produce, meat, cheese, poultry areas, avoid the isles filled with temptations.
  • Look at your LABELS! Manufacturers have gotten sneaky; always double check the serving size! The nutritional facts might indicate that there is only 2g of sugar but look at that serving size, do you honestly only consume that serving size?
  • Keep a FOOD Journal. Write down what you are eating & how much sugar you are consuming each day then after a week reevaluate the consumption and determine where you can cut sugar the following week. Don’t obsess, only review once a week….the idea is to start a new lifestyle not diet fad….and to do so you need to go easy on yourself, it must be practical!
  • Focus on adjusting just one meal a month. I found it helpful to start with breakfast. It was amazing how much better I felt and the children acted when I didn’t fuel our brain with fructose. Click here to read about the day I Killed Cereal.

So how much sugar should you consume?

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 26g per day for women and 36g per day for men). Source

It is also important to remember that not ALL calories are created equal. But that is something I will discuss at a later date.

I lost my grandmother due to complications from diabetes, she was only 63! She got robbed of her life. Sadly I fear that there are so many friends and family heading in the same direction if we don’t take control. The research is mounting when it comes to the connections between sugar and Alzheimer as well as Cancer. They have found insulin receptors on cancer cells….sugar feeds tumors! (Source)

 

I am happy to say that I am no longer sugar dependent!! I will admit it wasn’t an easy road but one I am glad I went down and conquered. And you can too!!

I know what your thinking, “but she was eating chocolate pudding”!? And I promise you can too…I will share STEP 2 next week.

In case you have a lot of sugar on your hands, I will let you know that I have found a place for sugar in my life, I use it as a scrub in the shower…it is a FABULOUS exfoliator! Just an FYI….1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

Please share your thoughts and concerns in the comments. Did you realize sugar is practically added to everything these days? What are your thoughts? What do you currently consume for breakfast? What sweet will be the most difficult for you to give up?

Resources:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign

http://abc13.com/health/study-sugar-is-as-addictive-as-cocaine/533979/

http://vivo.med.cornell.edu/display/cwid-lec2014

http://www.realnatural.org/refined-sugar-promotes-cancer/

 

Win Tickets for LEGO Creativity Tour

LEGO ™ bricks are the BEST!! I simply adore the fact that my children can spend hours creating cities, castles, cars, putting together kits, etc. with LEGO. I appreciate the cognitive benefits that LEGO provide the children. I admire watching those wheels turn in their little brains and the joy come over their little faces when they connect and build from their imagination and instruction. Thankfully we have no shortage of LEGO, in fact sometimes it seems as though they multiply overnight! I mean seriously, when did LEGO bricks start reproducing? Have you ever had the misfortune of stepping on one? LEGO pain is real people…not to be confused with labor pain…though they are both up there in terms of intensity. Haha! But I digress. Exciting news for LEGO enthusiast and families of all ages, LEGO Creativity Tour, Powered by LEGO KidsFest, is coming to Columbus, OH! This event delivers immersive building activities for all LEGO enthusiasts Nov. 20-22 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

LEGOman2

The LEGO Creativity Tour, powered by the team that runs the popular North American LEGO KidsFest tour, comes to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus Nov. 20 – 22 for eight identical sessions. The LEGO Creativity Tour will offer children of all ages an opportunity to build, create and enjoy an immersive LEGO experience through engaging play areas, family-oriented building activities and more.

Some of the activities in the 118,000 square-foot space include:

* LEGO Model Museum: walk among life-sized models made from LEGO bricks

* Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family

* Challenge Zone: the whole family is on the hook to show off their creative building skills in this emceed challenge

* Construction Zone: enjoy a creative build, play, and display area

* LEGO DUPLO: the youngest builders can explore building their imaginations and so many ways to play with DUPLO bricks

* Brick Battle Zone: join a team and compete in fun activities like relay races, tower speed build and bridge building contests

* Big Brick Pile: dive into the largest pile of LEGO bricks ever seen to build something amazing

* LEGO Art Gallery: create a custom masterpiece and display it for all to see

* Monochromatic Builds: limiting the materials to one color and one size creates amazing results

* And much more!

 

“Since we began the LEGO KidsFest six years ago, we have been flooded with requests to visit more cities and regions across the country, but they don’t all have the space to host a KidsFest,” said Vince Rubino, senior events manager at LEGO Systems, Inc. “The LEGO Creativity Tour leverages some of the best of the LEGO KidsFest experience in a more flexible format to enable us to visit with even more families with an interactive, hands-on LEGO celebration.”

SHOW TIMES:

Note: Each session offers the same exhibits and activities

Friday, November 20, 2015

Session I: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Session II: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Session I: 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Session II: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Session III: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm

 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Session I: 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Session II: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Session III: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Where:

Greater Columbus Convention Center

400 North High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

TICKET INFO:

Tickets for the LEGO Creativity Tour are $19 (plus tax and service fees). Children under 2 are free. Go to http://www.LEGOcreativitytour.com for more information or to purchase tickets. Strongly advices to purchase tickets online, they have been known to sell out.

 

legoman

GIVEAWAY:

TICKET Giveaway Details:

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets for the opening night session on Friday, November 20 (5:30-8:30pm session). I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGO Creativity Tour on Facebook , Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG!

 

Winner will be randomly chosen by USFG on Thurs, Nov 5 and announced on my Blog and notified via email.

ENTER HERE

The Best Moms in the World buy these….they are the Coolest!!

Move over June Clever, out of my way Donna Reed, hasta la vista Beverly Goldberg! It is official folks; I am the Best Mom in the World!! I so graciously accepted the title from my preschooler this afternoon. So how does one earn the title, Best Mom in the World? Give the children unlimited screen time? Let them buy whatever they want down the toy isle? Spoon feed them ice cream for breakfast?

This might surprise you but earning the Best Mom in the World title doesn’t’ require bribing them with screen time, sugar, or toys! So what does it take? A book! That’s right, it is that simple, a book. But not any ordinary book, this book is extra special! This book makes your child the star! And let’s be honest, there is nothing cooler than being the main character of the book when you are a toddler/preschooler.

maddybook 044

Thus, when I sat down with my little Maddy Grace to read a book today I shocked her when she found out she was the lead, the star, in the spotlight throughout the story. “Mommy, that’s my name!!” she exclaimed when I read the title, Maddy Grace and The Magic Shoes. And then when I started reading she literally shrieked with pure elation when she realized the book was about her!!

maddybook 020

“Read it again! Read it again, mommy!” she requested before I even finished reading the last page.

 

maddybook 008

 

 

maddybook 031

“Mommy, can I take this to school for the sharing bag? I want to show all my friends the book about me”.

Then, after we read it three times she said it, “You are the Best Mom in the World”. Swoon! Seriously my heart melted as she squeezed me and gave me a big kiss.

maddybook 039

 

maddybook 043

I almost felt guilty. Guilty because it was effortless on my part, it wasn’t like I wrote the book or illustrated the pages. I literally only had to answer 3 questions & ordered the book that was the extent of my work. Not too terribly exhausting at all…kinda feeling a tad guilty for accepting the title now, kinda! Ha-ha!

I have officially located my ‘go-to’ congrats on the new baby and birthday present for all the little tots and preschoolers in my life. Why not shoot for some more titles, Best Godmother, Aunt, Neighbor, etc. Kids NEVER forget the adult who gave them a book about themselves, where they are the stars!

They offer books of various interests for boys and girls. And like I said, it is super easy…talk about a huge return on your investment! Simply click on the image below to get started.

Dinkleboo

 Happy Reading! Cheers!

 

Best FREE Farm Experience!

As soon as you step out of your vehicle you instantly feel the warmth, comfort, and hospitality of being down on the farm, even on a cool crisp Fall day. All are welcomed at Gust Brother’s Pumpkin Farm and yet you don’t feel like a guest, but rather, part of the family. Admission is free, in fact it is nonexistent.

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 209

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 057

Gust Brother’s Farm has been a Fall time family favorite destination for years, it isn’t officially Fall until we visit the farm at 13639 Mulberry Rd. Ottawa Lake, MI.

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 059

 

Our first stop is always the barn. It is filled with animals that the children definitely don’t see on a regular basis. Visiting the farm is always a nice refresher for my city kids on where our food comes from; I fear too often they assume a magical fairy simply drops it off at Costco. Thankfully a visit to Gust Brother’s discredits that myth.

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 061

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 093

 

And speaking of food, their farm has been certified by the USDA as an environmentally friendly farm. They offer a Summer Market that starts in mid-June and goes till Mid-September that includes, beef, Angus beef, and pork, (coming soon they will be offering grass fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics, just an FYI)!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 101

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 100

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 088

But I must admit it is so hard to look at these big beautiful animals and imagine eating them. In fact, after seeing all the cows on our visit to the farm we ended up eating Chick-fil-a for lunch, it just felt right. Lol!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 110

The barn also houses adorable piglets, their momma, and sheep!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 103

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 120

 

We literally hung out in the barn for one hour admiring and petting the animals then we finally made our way over to the cute cuddly, I seriously wanted to take one home, adorable bunnies!!!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 157

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 159

After the bunnies we stopped by to say hello to the chickens (or are they roosters…please forgive me, I am not used to seeing them with feathers. By the time I place one in the crockpot someone else has done all the work, and I am so thankful for that!).

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 162

 

We waved a friendly hello to this adorable baby and then we were parched!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 172

 

I know I said this is the best FREE farm experience but if you are wise you will bring a little “fun money” as my grandma called it, to spend in the coffee & donut shack, on a hayride, and/or to buy some goodies in the market.

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 192

Nothing says Fall like a caramel apple and when you are 5 sprinkles are just an added colorful bonus!

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 190

 

And last but certainly not least, some goodies to take home!

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 196

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 208

 

GUSTBROmeals_gustbrothers 198

Total confession we visit Gust Brother’s Farm at least 3 times every fall, we can’t get enough! We will be headed back in a couple weeks to pick our pumpkins. Each kiddo grabs a wagon, we head to the field, and each picks out their pumpkin to carve; it is kinda a big deal. Haha!

So if you are in need of a full on Fall family farm experience  Gust Brother’s Pumpkin Farm is the perfect destination!