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    Kim's Blog combines home front experiences with informative updates on area events, unique opportunities and of course, dynamic deals!  For daily updates, Get Social and Follow SpringfieldMoms on your preferred Social Network for event reminders, coupon links, reader favorites and lots of helpful tips and laughs.

    The Illinois Symphony Guild of Springfield is offering music scholarships for area students in sixth through twelfth grades as part of their annual Scholarship Auditions program. Area students are invited to participate in this audition process on Sunday, April 30, 2017, 1:00 PM at Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield, Illinois. The Illinois Symphony Guild of Springfield will award the following:

    • Orchestral Students: For strings, woodwinds, brass, or percussion players in Grades 6-12. One $300 scholarship and one $200 scholarship.
    • Senior Piano Students: For piano students in Grades 10-12. One $300 scholarship.
    • Intermediate Piano Students: For piano students in Grades 6-9. One $200 scholarship.
    • Vocal Students: For vocal students in Grades 8-12. One $300 scholarship.

    The Scholarship audition program is open to all students in Sangamon and surrounding counties.

    Students auditioning should prepare to play one selection of music of their own choosing that is up to five minutes in length. Piano and vocal solos must be memorized. Instrumental and vocal students must provide their own accompanist, if necessary.


    Winners of the scholarship auditions will be invited to perform at the Central Illinois Young Musicians’ Annual Concert scheduled for Sunday, May 7, 2017, 4 PM at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois.

    How to register?

    Students interested in participating are asked to submit an entry application form by Sunday, April 23, 2017. The entry form is available Entry applications may be submitted to Guild Contact Dee Dee Gain by emailing it to or by mailing to 2053 Cardinal Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62704. For more information, please contact Dee Dee Gain by phone at (217) 572-1372 or by email


    The Illinois Symphony Guild of Springfield supports the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and serves to assist in assuring the future of live symphonic music in central Illinois. They achive this by promoting the activities of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra; assist in raising funds for its progress; and furthering the cultivation of the art of music through educational projects. The Illinois Symphony Guild of Springfield invites any person desiring to assist in the support of the orchestra to join the guild. For information on how you can become a member of the Guild, please go to


    The charm of the historic homes on State Street in Jacksonville, IL is worth the drive if you've never visited.  However, if you're looking for a convenient and memorable overnight or weekend, Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is one stop you won't want to miss.  "Come as strangers...leave as friends" is the sign that welcomes you in the foyer of this beautiful home with two bedrooms available.  Owners Gwenn and Glenn and their daughter Valerie (age 9 when we visited) will provide wonderful service and delicious food as they welcome you to their home.  Blessings is great place for a couples weekend, a girlfriends GNO escape, or if you need time to rejuvenate for a writer's or personal retreat; you won't be disappointed! My husband and I visited for a 24-hour getaway and loved the experience!

    The decor and seasonal decorations, the ornate antique furniture and charm of each room was complimented by modern-day conveniences of renovated bathrooms, TV & Wifi. The owners have thought of everything we may need with their well-stocked mini-bar, coffee and snack station in the foyer outside of the rooms.  

    Our bedroom was just beautiful and featured a fireplace, bathroom with a claw-foot bath tub and a sitting room. We enjoyed warm chocolate chip cookies at bedtime, and the breakfast was absolutely gourmet-fabulous!  

    Gwenn caters to ensure your food allergies/requests are attended to.  We enjoyed our table, beautifully set for two, with a poached pear appetizer, delicious egg/sausage casserole and all of the sides to round out the meal!  Our breakfast dessert? Hand-dipped chocolate strawberries-- YUM! 


    We look forward to coming back with another couple later this year; there's a parlor room downstairs with a piano guests can use as well as a wrap-around porch for warmer evening visits outside!

    Check them out online and call 217-245-1013 and tell them Springfield Moms sent you!  We support hard-working small businesses!

    P.S. Gwenn made us reservations at Lonzerotti's for dinner the night we arrived.
    The food was delicious!  Consider trying the "Spulli" appetizer and if you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the Gooey Butter Cake dessert with Vanilla Bean ice cream!

    Many thanks to the editorial staff at SO Springfield's Own Magazine (Will Norris, Bridget Shaw and reporter Amy Denney) for taking the time to catch up with Springfield Moms as we celebrate our 12 Year Anniversary providing a FREE warehouse of online resources for the Greater Springfield Area.  Founded and maintained by local moms, don't let the name fool you; our website and social network has something for everyone.  We were thrilled to have quotes from readers that have taken this journey with us!  Thank you to readers Kimberly Hepperly, Aaron Rath, Rhonda Scheer and staff contributor Julie Kaiser for sharing your insights with the SO staff.  We could not be where we are today without the continued support of our loyal readers, staff and local advertisers.

    From our popular seasonal guides: Neighborhood Garage Sales, Day Trips, Summer Camps, Fall Family Fun, Holidays Guide, Birthday Party Directory, Easter Egg Hunts, and the famous Kids Eat Free Directory (to name a few), discover more about how SpringfieldMoms came to be and how you can save time with this local network of resources. 

    You can read the featured article in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue.

    Pictured: Founder Kim Leistner Root and the inspiration for the website with her daughters Amanda (14) & Vanessa (13) Little who have been by her side along this journey! 

    Sharing WishesOne woman received a beautiful new Christmas dress, and another woman took a hot air balloon ride. A couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with a special catered dinner and a photographer to capture the occasion. A grandfather got to meet his young great-granddaughter (who lived out-of-state) and present her with a special music box. One dad got to take his family to tour the Shedd Aquarium and enjoy lunch together in the Windy City.  (More here.)

    These are feel-good stories for families who will long cherish the memories provided as a result of the Sharing Wishes Fund. Their loved one is receiving hospice care, which means bringing in a healthcare team that focuses on physical, emotional and spiritual quality of life during a serious health diagnosis. Donations to the Sharing Wishes Fund help fulfill the wishes of many hospice patients.

    Right around the corner is a fun opportunity for you to help, too! The 6th Annual Hospice Gala – Sharing Wishes Fund  is coming up April 1, 2017. You and your guest can enjoy dinner and music, inspiration and entertainment. Register today for the gala. If you can’t attend the gala, click here to make a donation to the Sharing Wishes Fund. The Memorial Medical Center Foundation, which sponsors the event, will make sure your money reaches the people who need those special memories the most.


    Volunteer with us!

    Volunteers make the work and programs at the Illinois State Museum possible.  Teens age 16 on up and adults of all ages!

    Play Museum Facilitators Needed
    We are recruiting new volunteers for the Play Museum, an exciting place where children ages 3-10 can learn -- through play -- about art, people, and nature. Friendly, energetic volunteers are needed to greet and interact with families and groups and keep the exhibit neat. Volunteers must be adults or teens 16 and up and able to work 2 shifts a month. Training is provided. Interested? Apply today!

    For an application or more information contact Elizabeth Bazan at or 217-782-5993.

    Museum Greeter
    The Illinois State Museum is looking for friendly, out-going individuals to welcome visitors to the Museum. Greeters would man the Museum's information desk to answer questions and offer orientation to visitors. Greeters may also help with small administrative tasks as needed. A knowledge of the Springfield area, including local restaurants and attractions would be helpful. Volunteers must submit an application and complete an interview with the volunteer coordinator. Greeters are asked to commit to two, 3-hour shifts per month. 

    For an application or more information contact Elizabeth Bazan at or 217-782-5993.

    Scholarship Essay Competition open to High School Seniors whose Parents or Guardians are Customers of CWLP, the Village of Chatham Electric Department or the Village of Riverton Electric Department:

    The Illinois Municipal Utilities Association is holding an essay competition open to high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are residential customers of an IMUA-member utility. In our area, that includes CWLP, Chatham and Riverton customers.

    The authors of the four wining 500-word essays will receive $500 scholarship awards. The deadline for submitting applications and essays is Friday, March 10, 2017.

    Program materials are being distributed to guidance counsellors, or, you can find them at:

    The Central Illinois Foodbank, which serves 21 counties in the area, has combined one part Food Network and one part Antiques Road Show in its quest to familiarize patrons with the preparation of healthy food options available to them.
    Since 1982, the foodbank has collected food donated by growers, manufacturers, processors, distributors, and retailers and distributed it to charitable organizations, such as church food pantries, throughout its vast service territory. But too often, foodbank staffers found that such foods as fresh vegetables would linger on the agency's shelves. Why? Because clients simply weren't familiar with - and didn't know how to prepare - these new-to-them food items. That's when the foodbank decided it was time to take their food show on the road.
    Thanks to generous corporate donations, the not-for-profit agency now uses a mobile food cart - powered by a portable generator and equipped with a cooktop, convection oven, sink and various child-safe knives and utensils - to take the message of healthy food choices directly to the people. The cart can be set up in a church parking lot or the common area of an apartment complex. Before you can say Julia Child, foodbank staff can give a hands-on food preparation experience to their clients.
    To find out more about how the Central Illinois Foodbank is using its food cart and other innovative programming ideas to get nutritious food into the stomachs of those who need it most, read Allison Weber's in-depth article at:  

    Erica Cusumano was born at HSHS St. John’s Hospital more than 30 years ago and had a lengthy stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Today she works in public relations at the hospital.

    When Erica was born, her parents were told that her esophagus did not connect to her stomach and she could die if they did not operate. The surgery was performed immediately and was successful. However, she continued to have health problems until she was nine years old. Her esophagus continued to narrow over the years and several dilatations were required.

    Erica’s parents, Joe and Karen Cusumano, had to pay very close attention to her when she was eating or drinking anything because she would often choke while trying to swallow. Her first year of life was the most challenging for the Cusumanos who were young, first-time parents. That first Mother’s Day is a day they will never forget.

    “If he hadn’t given her CPR, she wouldn’t be here today,” Karen said through tears.

    “She was choking. I had her in my arms and she was blue and lifeless,” Joe said. “Then she came back in my arms.”

    Erica is now a healthy and happy adult who has been working at St. John’s for the past three years.

    “It wasn’t until I walked into the NICU for the first time that I realized I’ve truly come full circle,” Cusumano said. “It wasn’t until that moment that I realized exactly what my parents had been though and how much our story could help others.”

    HSHS St. John’s Foundation is in the beginning stages of the Imagine Tomorrow campaign that is raising money for a renovated NICU. The Asian Indian Women’s Association India Night Fundraiser and the Cares for Kids Radiothon were the first time Erica has publically told her story. The Cusumanos joined several other families in these efforts to raise awareness for the cause. The Radiothon brought in more than $176,000 for the children’s hospital and the AIWO event raised more than $156,000 for the NICU.

    For her full story, watch this video from Radiothon. For information on how you can help the NICU project, call 217-814-5177 or

    Register for the Little Miracles 5K with your family!

    Be sure to register by March 25th to guarantee your t-shirt.


    Are the demands of work, family and all of your other commitments keeping you from quality time from your significant other?  For those with kids, do you remember life with your spouse before children? Has sleep become a forgotten luxury?

    When was the last time you spent a few responsibility-free hours alone together? Beg, borrow or steal a babysitter/petsitter and make your escape for a weekend away. 18-24 hours away can be rejuvenating!  You'll be amazed at the difference a night can make! (Remember to tell them sent you!)

    • Mission Oak Inn:  Henry, Illinois.  Mission Oak Inn is a country bed and breakfast near Peoria, Illinois that offers luxurious lodging in a quiet, comfortable atmosphere - a perfect place for a weekend getaway, honeymoon, or fishing vacation.  the inn is located on 120 acres with a private 7-acre lake, abundant wildlife such as deer, fox, coyote, wild turkey, and numerous other birds.  Near Peoria, Starved Rock State Park, and Utica; it is also a comfortable driving distance from Chicago, Bloomington, and Quad Cities.While good at creating a romantic setting for that perfect weekend getaway, the owners' expertise does not end there. They offer packages for those who love to golf as well as friends taking some time to get away.  Phone: 309-370-4083.
    • Historic Petersburg: The Branson House Bed and Breakfast. This beautiful 1876 "Eastlake" Victorian bed and breakfast can be found near Lincoln's New Salem. Four tastefully decorated rooms, each with private bath, are located on the second floor, accessible by the house's elevator. The house has seven marble fireplaces plus a gorgeous wood sculptured fireplace in the main entry. A full breakfast is included in the rates. Phone: 866-562-5095 or
    • The Burr House Bed and Breakfast: Bloomington , Normal. Built in 1864 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Civil War era traditional (and gorgeous) home overlooks a tree-filled park surrounded by elegant homes. Try the Sunset Room with its private path and whirlpool tub or the Queen Anne Suite with a large private bath and a comfortable attached sitting room. Breakfast is amazing. Ask for the Pecan French Toast and enjoy owner Mary Anne's hospitality. This home is within walking distance of various historic sites, restaurants and Wesleyan and Illinois State Universities. The home is located at 210 East Chestnut Street . Phone: 309-828-7686 or 1-800-449-4182. Email:  Visit their website: The Burr House Bed and Breakfast.


    • drjazz_couple_at_soda_fountainDr. Jazz Soda Fountain and Grille and Dr. Jazz Suite in Lebanon (outside of St. Louis) Located just an hour and fifteen minutes south of Springfield, off of Illinois Route 4, sits the wonderfully old and quaint town of Lebanon , which offers fabulous downtown shops including Fezziwigs and the amazing Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain and Grille offering delicious lunch and dinner fare. Owner Paul Krumsieg and his family renovated their upper level into a classy and comfortable getaway suite with two bedrooms and a billiards/bar/television room. The owners have thought of everything from pillow-top mattresses and luxury bedding to a flat-screen television with videos/DVDs and refrigerator stocked with your favorite ice-cream flavors from the downstairs soda fountain. Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain & Grille & Suite is located at 230 West St. Louis Street in Lebanon , IL. Phone is: 618-537-2200 or visit their website at:
    • Historic Elegance: The Vrooman Mansion. Our readers say it's a step back in time...Built in 1869, the Vrooman Mansion (located an hour north in Bloomington) provides a beautiful atmosphere for you to reconnect with each other. The mansion sits on a park-like acre in the middle of the city. High ceilings and gorgeous windows highlight the spacious guest rooms, most with private baths. A delicious breakfast greets you in the morning at the home's original hand-carved dining table where dignitaries including Adlai Stevenson and Eleanor Roosevelt once dined with the Vrooman family. Fabulous woodwork, stained glass and leaded beveled glass windows adorn the common areas downstairs. Phone: 309-828-8816.
    • Rustic and Unique: The Barn Bed and Breakfast. For any couple who loves the outdoors and is searching for a unique weekend away, consider renting a barn for a night, located between Peoria and Galesburg. You will enjoy the entire barn with a full kitchen in the "horse stall," a claw foot tub and shower, and a hayloft for additional sleeping room. Antique furnishings, wildflower walks, and a variety of wildlife make this visit a memorable one. 309-639-4408 
    • The Pasfield House: Close to home - Springfield style.  (We won't tell if you escape in town!) An invitation to the historic Pasfield House is like being welcomed to an elegant private home from a bygone era, where style, gracious hospitality and exceptional service is still a way of life. Designated a Springfield Landmark, the 1896 Georgian-style residence is a remarkably preserved architectural treasure that has a most distinctive antebellum flair, and is within easy walking distance of the State Capitol and downtown Springfield.  Phone: 217-525-3663.

    St. Louis bed and breakfast

    The Fleur-de-Lys Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri. This is an amazing get-away close to The Hill, St. Louis University, the Fox Theater, Powell Symphony Hall. You are an easy drive from the zoo, Busch Stadium and so many other fun activities. But you might not want to leave the Mansion because the rooms are so comfortable, the beautiful garden area beckons and the hot tub is always ready to go. Plus, there are homemade chocolate chip cookies always ready for munching in the kitchen. Owners and hosts Jan and Dave have thought of everything, and the made-from-scratch breakfast is a delight with generous portions and all the extras. TripAdvisor gave it a #1 ranking for bed and breakfasts in St. Louis, and you will agree.  Phone: 314-773-3500.

    For more suggestions: check out the 15+ additional reader recommendations from our facebook survey! There's a treehouse getaway on the list!

    Did we miss one?  

    Share your favorite romantic getaway comment here or email Springfield Moms.

    Prairie Heart Institute and HSHS St. John’s Hospital are joining patients and doctors together to celebrate the success of the milestone achievements they've reached with cutting edge minimally invasive heart surgeries, which are alternatives to open heart surgery.  

    Dr. Raja Gopaldas has performed over 100 minimally invasive cardiac surgeries, and HSHS is the only hospital in Illinois performing true minimally invasive cardiac surgeries. In a minimally invasive cardiac surgery, a heart valve or artery can be fixed, replaced or bypassed without "cracking the chest."

    They've performed more than 500 TAVR procedures (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), a minimally invasive procedure used to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly. This procedure is available to patients who otherwise wouldn't be candidates for traditional valve replacement. In TAVR, a small catheter is passed through the leg and up to the heart. The disease valve is replaced without stopping the heart or even making an incision in the chest.

    The Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. With access to more cardiovascular experts than any other facility in downstate Illinois, their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. The Prairie Heart Institute champions an innovative approach to the treatment of cardiovascular disease utilizing minimally invasive technologies such as TAVR, MitraClip and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.  And while the Prairie Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and vascular disease through clinical investigation and research. For more information about the Prairie Heart Institute, visit