Kim's Blog


Updated throughout the week, Kim's Blog combines home front experiences with informative updates on area events, unique opportunities and of course, dynamic deals!  Follow us on Twitter twitter or Facebook facebook for event reminders, recent posts, coupon links and more.

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Springfield Moms contributor Julie Kaiser shares about their 13-year-old’s middle school homework challenges. She writes:jake reading under tree

“Up to this point, we have taken a fairly hands-off approach to our son’s homework. We wanted to determine his natural baseline in sixth and seventh grades – let him show us his strengths and weaknesses rather than enforce our own study habits. Sure enough, patterns emerged. He participates in class, but he slops through his work. He has strong analytical skills, but he doesn’t like writing out lengthy explanations, probably because nobody can read his handwriting. He feels school is something that should be done at 3:30 and not extended into his ‘time off’ at home. As a result, his grades dropped, and we decided to try a new approach at the end of the summer as eighth grade approaches.

  • Science: We are trying to work ahead when possible, especially with projects. One of his early August summer tasks will be to research and choose two or three science fair project ideas and start determining supplies and process.
  • History: We checked what time periods would be covered this upcoming year and tried to find topics and formats that were “summer worthy.” We found a graphic novel of “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair and several A&E documentaries about Chicago and the era of industrialization.
  • Language Arts: For fiction, we read “The Outsiders” together and watched the 1983 movie. For non-fiction, we are reading a book about the St. Louis Cardinals “Gashouse Gang” whose colorful characters captured the attention of America during the Great Depression.
  • Math: This one falls off the radar every time, but he has a better head for it than I do so that helps. Math Note from Kim: I pay a month-month subscription for a homeschool account for ALEKS, an artificial intelligence software that after a 30 question initial assessment identifies what topics my kids need to work on from Basic Math-Calculus, and it works on an ipad or a laptop. Use along with a spiral notebook to show their work. Visit and click on homeschool account for individual users.

Once school starts, the home office will serve as a study table. He’ll be given specific study times where, ideally, he will finish assignments or work on future projects. Over the past couple of years, he’s demonstrated that a hands-off approach doesn’t work well for him. Time management is a challenge. With that in mind, we plan to provide more structure this year in order for him to be better prepared for the academic demands of high school.”


Back to school backpacks siblingsWe're trying to keep up with the local Back-to-school savings around and sharing them with you. This week, we found Kids School Uniforms on sale at Old Navy $5 Kids Polos and $10 Kids Khakis.  Target has kids jeans for $10 and kids polos for $5.  It's a great time to get on the email lists for office supply companies and your favorite clothing stores for extra bargains and reminders of what's on special this week.

  • Do your research online and spread out your shopping for the ultimate savings!

Usually there are a few amazing deals to get you in the door; just don't veer off your list too far.

Staples has great back to school savings, and when you see the major school supply deals, stock up for your teacher classrooms! 

Consignment stores are a great way to save as well.  Don't forget the $5 off coupon for Remarkable Resale waiting for your on our Mom's Choice coupon shortcut!  School uniforms can really add up to scour neighborhood garage sales for some major savings or swap with friends that have just moved up a grade!

  • August 1-2: Cathedral Council of Catholic Women huge garage sale at the Church 524 East Lawrence Ave. in Springfield. Friday 7 am – 7 pm and Saturday 8 am – noon. School uniforms on sale, including shorts and shirts for $2 or $3 and jumpers and sweaters around $4 and $5.
  • August 1-2 Colony West Neighborhood Garage Sales starting 8:00 a.m. each day. Colony West is the subdivision immediately east of White Oaks Mall with access off of Wabash Avenue.
  • August 1-2 Salem Estates and Salem Estates West Area Wide Garage Sales


We just heard about flipp, an app that lets you browse flyers and coupons of your favorite stores.  

Share you savings tips here and help spread the word!




mom daughter book clubI've set aside my magazines, which is usually the only thing I have energy to read by the time I crawl into bed! It's important to me to read these two books before school starts and discuss with my daughters.  I'm excited we're at that point where we can have these sorts of book club discussions!  I remember when I used to go to book club every month (pre-kids) and exchange ideas with a very interesting group of women.  It was nice to have that accountability and opportunity to discuss interpretations.  I can now do the same with my fifth grade and seventh grade daughters.  What books or book series you enjoying reading with or side-by-side your kids?  We're happy to expand our list!

We didn't go see the movie version of the Fault in our Stars because all three of us haven't finished the book yet; so we will have to wait for the DVD rental in September!  Please don't tell us what happens :-)!



Central Illinois Community Blood Center LogoCentral Illinois Community Blood Center (CICBC), Community Blood Services of Illinois (CBSI) and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) are issuing a call to prospective blood donors regarding the immediate need for donations to ensure the Blood Center’s ability to meet patient needs at local hospitals. The Blood Center, provider of blood and blood components to hospitals throughout our region, is concerned about the potential impact of a decline in the rate of blood donation. Prospective donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood by scheduling online at or by calling your local center (CICBC: 866-448-3253, CBSI: 800-217-4483, MVRBC: 800-747-5401)

While all blood types are needed, the Blood Center especially hopes to see increased donations from type O-negative and type AB blood donors, whose blood and plasma donations, respectively, can be used with patients of every blood type.

Factors contributing to the recent decline in donations include:

  • Inability to schedule blood drives at high schools and colleges during the summer months
  • Increased activity and busy summer schedules within the Blood Center’s donor base
  • Collection days lost to Fourth of July weekend and the ripple effect of Memorial Day (56 days after Memorial Day, causing a low reschedule rate for donors who give blood every eight weeks)

Amanda Hess, Director of Donor Relations reports that over the last eight weeks, the rate of blood donation has been off by about 20 percent from what they would normally see throughout the year. Blood donations are used to treat cancer patients, complications related to child birth, and with emergency patients who are injured in accidents.


We have started week four of the Women's Biathlon Brigade training group.  We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Kerasotes YMCA and workout with a Memorial Sportscare trainer.  For many of us, it's our first biathlon, and for some it's their first running/biking attempt in any length, shape or form.  It's a fun group of women of wide ages and stages that share a common goal: to prioritize our health and to MAKE time for fitness in our busy schedules.


Kim and fellow SpMoms reader Michele Kuntz on Day One of our Brigade training!

When we don't meet as a group, we have a training plan to follow on our own.  I love having this accountability to others!  I don't want to be the person who does nothing in between our group times; so even if I don't follow EVERYTHING on the list; I am making the commitment to staying ACTIVE every day! 

My first step was to purchase as FitBit.  I love how it synchs automatically with the app so I can easily track how many steps I have walked each day (10,000 being the goal) and log exercises, eating habits and water intake.  Im not the best about inputting everything every day, and that's okay!  The goal is to raise awareness and accountability of my daily choices, and at week four, I am proud to say that this is becoming a habit.  Am I still having weak moments of licorice, frozen coffee drinks and an occasional dessert indulgence….YES!  But, do I feel stronger, motivated and committed to the women in the brigade and to myself….ABSOLUTELY!

You will hear from some of the other women in our group in the near future!

Join us September 21st-– register today! 

Mike and Jamie Gensler will be running for eight hours on Aug. 9 to raise money for Mighty Strong Girls, a holistic health magazine for preteen and teen girls based in central Illinois. It will be the second year they participate in the annual Howl at the Moon, the largest timed ultra marathon in the United States, held in Kennekuk Cove County Park just west of Danville, Ill.

When the Genslers ran last year, they launched Running For A Cause to raise funds for mission work in conjunction with their efforts.

Mike and Jamie have been runners for more than a decade, but being parents changed their perspective on their favorite hobby.

“Honestly, when we train for big races like this we put in lots of miles and time for training,” said Mike, a chiropractor and owner of Petersburg Spine and Sport. “In a way we felt kinda selfish putting in so much time training and doing these races. So it hit us that we should do it for a good cause. I guess that way it's a win-win situation.”

“We are thrilled that the Genslers are running for Mighty Strong Girls, especially because of the magazine’s new emphasis on overall health and well-being,” said Amy Denney, founder of Mighty Strong Girls. “They are an inspiration to many families to get up off the couch and do something active together.”

Howl at the Moon is a unique race in that it is timed and not a specific distance. Mike and Jamie will be running a 3.29 mile loop as many times as they can in a time limit of eight hours.

To raise money for Mighty Strong Girls, they are seeking sponsors. There are two ways to help.

  • You can make a flat donation of any amount at their Go Fund Me page —
  • A second way you can donate is to sponsor Mike or Jamie by pledging an amount of money per mile that they will run. For example, if you sponsor Jamie and pledge 50 cents for every mile that she runs and she runs 30 miles, your total donation would be $15. Jamie’s goal is 34 miles and Mike’s is 44 miles.

“It makes it fun. It kind of motivates us to run the race and do the best that we can that way we can raise the most money for Mighty Strong Girls that we can,” Mike said. “We are very excited to partner with Mighty Strong Girls because of the many awesome things they are doing with young women and girls and the fact that we have a 5-year-old princess who is growing up way too fast.”

For more information on the race, including a video of the Genslers, go to and click on the “news and events” link.

Have a butterfly-loving child?  Linocln Memorial Garden has a class that will be a perfect summer activity!

Children ages 8-10 can reserve a spot in the “Monarchs for Kids” class–six fun Saturdays learning about monarchs. In addition, participants become 4-H members.

Butterfly MonarchWhat insect migrates 2,000 miles each year, has a wing span under 4 inches and weighs less than a paper clip? This summer at Lincoln Memorial Garden’s Ostermeier Prairie Center, 8- to 10-year-old children will learn the answer to that question: the monarch butterfly.

Each child enrolled in the “Monarchs for Kids” class will learn about this magnificent insect, the only butterfly known to migrate such distances annually — from Canada to the volcanic mountain ranges of central Mexico.

 Who: 8- to 10-year-old naturalists

When: August 16, 23 and September 6, 13, 20, 27

Where: Ostermeier Prairie Center and Wildflower Garden, 2425 East Lake Drive, Springfield

Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Registration: A registration form for the “Monarchs for Kids” class is available at the Lincoln Memorial Garden website: Class is limited to 12 participants. For further information, contact Audra at (217) 529-1111 or email

treehouse sketchThis summer, we're working on a playhouse construction project. So far, Sophia, Bailey and I have discussed what our goals for the playhouse are, sketched some playhouses out on paper, measured and played with the dimensions of the house, looked into different types of materials, conducted a material and placement analysis, built some digital 3d models to scale in MineCraft, and started building non-scale physical models with balsa wood.

Here are some things I learned:

  • Sophia was expecting two floors and an internal staircase to fit is a 4x6x7 box.
  • Bailey wanted a sliding door
  • Sophia expected the playhouse to be built out of brick to match our house.
  • Sophia was operating under the belief that animals will walk up to items made of wood and eat them!
  • I thought balsa wood could be cut nicely with a utility knife, it cannot!
  • I continue to underestimate how long this stuff will take!treehouse math
  • I need to buy a real saw before we build the real playhouse.

We still need to add roofs to each model, paint them and discuss any changes to be made to the real house. Then we begin construction.

Submitted by Michael Lemke.

treehouse 3D

We asked SpringfieldMoms readers to share their must-do-before-summer-ends "bucket list."  Read and then comment on this post to tell us what you plan to do before the end of summer!  For our household, I think we still need to do a picnic at Washington Park on one of the free carillon evenings (with our two dogs in tow.)   I asked my daughters, and here are their answers:

     Amanda age 12: "St. Louis Day– Yucandu Art Studio, Nordstrom Rack and Cheesecake Factory"

     Vanessa, age 10:  "Car trip to wherever! You figure out where Mom!"

Here are what our readers shared:

"St. Louis Zoo" – Alicia K.

"Let my child experience the splash pad at Southwind Park [just went this week and it was a bin too cold at 9am!]." – Lynne R.

"Day trip to St. Louis and get to the Botanical Gardens' LEGO exhibit and the butterfly house." – Buffy L.

     Nea, Buffy's 4-year old's list: "I go on slide and I go swim."

baseball score

"Take the kiddos camping for the first time." – Shauna J.

"Peoria Chiefs baseball game" – Lori H.

"A trip to Moline for all of the John Deere attractions. I have a tractor-loving three year old!" – Heather L.

"The Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria was a hit with my little truck lovers-and the Peoria zoo was worth the trip too!" – Amanda K.

"Spend a day with the family on the coast of Lake Michigan." – Lisa W.

     Ethan, Lisa's 12-year old's list:  "Go swimming more."

"City Museum trip "- John L.

"Children's Museum at Navy Pier- Chicago" Jill M.

"Picnic, Zoo, Six Flags" – Denise B.

     Maggie, Denise's 13-year old's list: "Shaving Cream Tag, Sleep in Tent, Have a bonfire with friends, Go to the fair."

What's on YOUR list?  Share yours!

making a shirt4th shirtWe wish everyone a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. Check our guide of festivals, fireworks and parades and take time to kick back with your loved ones and honor the USA. Check out this cute t-shirt or tank top idea from Springfield Area mom Lori M.

A handprint for the blue and painting the red stripes and there you have it!  Show USA pride–and a cherished momento from your kiddos!