Kim’s Blog


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.

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larger-abf-logo-e1424893331641The Lincoln Hot Air Balloon Festival is a SpringfieldMoms’ favorite. Come on out for the Balloon Launch and Night Glow. There is also carnival food and rides. My kiddos love seeing all of the different types of balloons.

In years past there has been a Giant Octopus, Darth Vadar, and a Zebra hot air balloon. The Kite festival has expert kite fliers.

It really is an experience that you have to see with you own eyes. It is simply beautiful. We pack a picnic every year and enjoy the sights.  Click here for the schedule of events! IMG_9857

I watched the news feed on facebook this weekend and saw many friends helped their kids move in at college over the weekend.  My daughter is entering her freshman year of high school year today, and parents tell me “what out!  the next four years fly by!”  This brings a lot of excitement and a FirstDayofSchool_Freshmanfocused approach to her studies and activities over the next four years.  High school transcripts matter when it comes time for college applications, and the criteria for admission to many colleges should reflect that you’re a well-rounded student.

What are today’s college looking for?  Ironically, when I reflect on what they were looking for 30 years, it would be the same criteria.  However, it seems to be much more competitive as time goes on!   Peterson’s has a good list of FAQ’s and here are some key areas to focus on throughout your high school career.

  1. Your course schedule/curriculum (mix, depth and range of courses.)
  2. Your Overall Grade Point Average.
  3. SAT/ACT Score (Note Illinois has changes regarding SAT being chosen over ACT)
  4. What type of leadership activities have you been involved in at school or off-campus?
  5. What types of Community Service have you been involved in at school or off-campus?
  6. Your essay question responses on the college application (creativity, insight and direction.)
  7. Your projected major and areas of special interest.

Don’t forget the importance of scouting out college scholarships early and OFTEN!

Test Prep:

What are your favorite resources for college prep?  Do share and be entered to win two tickets to Knight’s Action Park!


GREATER_posterI just watched the trailer, and I’m pleased to share an excerpt from this guest blog written by Chris Severio the actor who portrays Brandon Burlsworth in the movie GREATER opening next Friday August 26th.  This movie will certainly inspire!  It’s based on the true story of the greatest walk-on football player in college football.

“Actors wait their entire lives to play a role as meaty and meaningful as Brandon Burlsworth. I was blessed to get that opportunity in my first movie, bringing Brandon to the big screen in GREATER, in theaters everywhere Aug. 26.

Brandon was a true champion and role model for so many, and I hope this movie entertains and inspires you and your family. For all the young athletes, new athletes, struggling athletes and dreamers out there (and their parents), these three lessons from Brandon’s life hold the key to building character and finding your destiny.

  • Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t: Brandon was not the most physically gifted athlete. He struggled with being overweight, wasn’t naturally graceful, was a pretty unlikely candidate to be a college football All-American and then drafted into the NFL. He was able to do it all because he refused to listen to those who doubted him or his abilities. He always believed in himself, knew that through hard work and dedication, he could be anything he wanted to be. The only thing standing between you and your dreams is how passionately you’re willing to produce them.
  • Dedicate yourself to something greater: It’s no coincidence the film of Brandon’s life is called GREATER. As a Christian, he believed he was called to be a man of integrity and honor off the field as well as on – he dedicated himself, first and foremost, to God. Your faith can strengthen you, and like Brandon you can choose to be a role model on and off the field.
  • Help others: Brandon Burlsworth was a giver. He didn’t just play football, or live his life, focused exclusively on his wants. He made others’ needs a top priority – family, teammates, friends and fans. As he dug in deep to reach his potential as an athlete and a man, he encouraged and supported those who were taking that same journey alongside him. Brandon didn’t just make himself better; he made others better, too, because he was intentional about finding ways to help them.

Below, I’m privileged to share a clip from the movie that shows how dedication, persistence and helping others can contribute to your character and destiny.

I hope you enjoy GREATER – and are as inspired by Brandon’s story as much as I and so many others who knew him and know of him have been. He was a remarkable young man, and having the privilege of bringing his life to the big screen was a remarkable experience.”  Chris Severio

BACK-TO-SCHOOL MEMBERSHIP SPECIAL at the YMCA2016 BacktoSchool Special-YMCA-200x120

Limited time only!  Monday, August 22nd – Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Stop by either location today to tour and join.

Read more about how to take advantage of this great offer!

JRE_Lunch_Dinner_toGoSummer is winding down, and it’s time to establish new routines as the hectic balance of work, kids schedules and fall events is right around the corner. What have I learned from owner Stephanie Johnson of Just Right Eating (JRE)  on my journey to healthier, and consistently healthier eating?

If you’re going to do it, DO IT!

Stephanie’s new blog on the 12 Steps to Success is a must read.  “If we don’t do something with intention then we probably aren’t going to succeed.  It runs parallel to anything we aspire to do whether it is our education, career, or become more financially fit.  For most of the things we accomplish in life, we can’t quit we must keep moving forward taking one step at a time. “

We’re all good at making excuses, and I’m certainly one to admit when things get off track in my fitness or eating, but I take it one day at a time.  Every day is a chance to start FRESH.  Investing in your health means taking time each day to have a plan and with Just Right Eating, they take the guess work out of it.  Also, we’re human and we won’t be perfect all of the time, nor should we!  As Stephanie advises: “the antidote to all-or-nothing thinking is an 80/20 approach that lets you strive to make healthy choices 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time allows for intentional treats and missed exercise bouts and makes provisions for unintended splurges.”

I was worried I would spend more money on food than my weekly grocery bill and frequent fast food and carryout meals, and that is simply NOT the case.  I’m eating healthier food, spending less, and feel so much better!

I agree wholeheartedly with Stephanie’s methodology for why JRE works and is economical for adults serious about making a change.

“When we opened JRE we deeply researched the cost of food, how much food an individual buys and inevitably throws away, the gas and time it takes to shop, the preparation time, dining out, the stress of not knowing what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat causes a great deal of stress and eventually causes us to become frustrated and want to give up, and not to mention the cost of insurance if you are not a healthy individual.  Individuals spend a lot more on all the factors involved than it costs to receive meals from Just Right Eating.

Stop in and meet their staff, try some grab and go meals and learn about the many levels of meal plans you can choose from to meet your lifestyle needs.  Let us know what works best for you!

JRE_339x100Read Stephanie’s full blog here on the 12 Steps to Success!

The Springfield Jr. Blues are currently looking for billet families for the 2016-217 season. Being a Billet Family is a great way to be a part of the Jr. Blues’ storied franchise. The Jr. Blues are entering their 24th season as members of the North American Hockey League.

What is a billet?

A billet is someone who room and board to someone away from home. In the Jr. Blues case, a billet opens their house to a young hockey player who has dreams of playing Division-I hockey and professional hockey.

What is expected of a billet?

A billet is expected to create a family like atmosphere for the player. The billet is also to create a fun and safe environment for a player to call home. Additionally, billets are to provide food and meals for players while they are home, as well as a bed to sleep in.

Does a billet get paid?

Yes. Billet’s will receive a monthly stipend of $300, per player, to cover the cost of food they provide for kids in the home.

Why should someone billet players?

Billeting is a very rewarding experience for both the players and the family. The goal of billeting is to create a “home” for players while they are working toward their goals of advancing their hockey career. The student-athletes are in Springfield to give back to the community while trying to move to the next level. By becoming part of your “family”, billets have the opportunity to create a special bond with players that can last a life time.

Don’t just take our word for it though.  Here’s what one of our families had to say on the Springfield Junior Blues Facebook page: From Laura Abney Wilhoite: “Billeting a student athlete is very rewarding! Our family has hosted a total of 8 hockey players over the years and they were a very positive influence on my 2 boys. We keep in touch with all of them and they will always be part of our family! One of them moved back to Nashville to live near us after his hockey career was over to finish college. Being a billet family was the best decision we ever made.”

We’ll be featuring their games year-round, but preview their full schedule here!


NOW HIRING! Before & After School Group LeadersYMCA employee and child

for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • Sherman/Williamsville Elementary,
  • Glenwood, Ball, and Chatham Elementary, and
  • Rochester Elementary.

Imagine going to work knowing that what you do each day positively affects the lives of the people in your community. Working at the Y you will discover more than a job—you’ll enjoy the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of those around you.

Prairie_Dental_Group_2016While area schools are preparing to welcome students back to the classroom, Prairie Dental Group is excited to welcome Dr. Angel Shah to the practice. Dr. Shah, along with Drs Tanya DeSanto, Julie Nathanson, and Elizabeth Knoedler, are ready to help you complete your child’s mandatory dental exam for school.

If you have a child entering kindergarten, second, or sixth grade, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health requires the child to have an oral health examination. Illinois started to require these exams in 2005 on students in public, private, and parochial schools. A licensed dentist must perform the exam. At the exam, the dentist will fill out a form that must be submitted to the school by May 15th of that school year. The exam must be completed within 18 months prior to the May 15th deadline of that school year. If the child fails to show proof of the exam, the school can hold the child’s report card until the exam is completed, the child presents a dental examination waiver form, or the child presents proof that a dental examination will take place within 60 days after May 15th.

The State Board of Education drafted the form that must be completed and returned to the school.   This form allows the state to gather uniform information regarding the presence of dental sealants, history of previous dental treatment, the need for current dental treatment, pathology, and malocclusion.

Exams on children in kindergarten, second, and sixth grade are relative to erupting permanent molars. This is the perfect opportunity to obtain preventative care, such as dental sealants (which help protect the biting surface of the permanent molars from forming cavities). Prior to these mandatory exams, it was very common for a child’s dental needs to go undetected until the child was in extreme pain. By doing the exams at these crucial developmental ages– the goal is to keep the child healthy and prevent dental issues from interfering with their ability to focus in the classroom or missing school.

Although it’s not a state requirement, it’s a good idea to start the school year with a properly fitted sports mouth guard. Dental injuries are very common in sports. Custom fitted sports mouth guards will provide your child with superior protection compared to the over the counter counter (one size fits all option.)

h-desantoJennifer Musselman, RDH at Prairie Dental Group

Florida_rest_stop-FamilyWe just survived the 16 hour drive to Orlando with 4 kids and 2 adults.  We compiled some of our favorites and reached out to all of you for many more!  Here are your favorite stopping points on the long car ride to Florida!

Thanks for sharing and congrats to Jen Knudson for winning tickets to Knights Action Park.


Southern tip of Illinois before you enter Kentucky:

Metropolis IL to see the home of SuperMan and get the photo op with the larger than life statue and check out the museum. (Molly L.)


Lamberts (the restaurant has a lot of character and very unique and fun dining experience known for the thrown rolls) in Sikeston, MO (20 minutes south of Cape Gieuradeu)is a little out of the way but a stop we always make. (Jessica B.. and Halley W. )


  • Nashville had numerous mentions…so many stops!
  • Opry Mills Mall with the Aquarium Restaurant and Rainforest Café (Jenny V)
  • Science Centers especially the one in Nashville TN (Dana W.)

Chattanooga was mentioned several times as a great stopping point.

  • children’s museum for the day (Natasha L.)
  • Ruby Falls: Cave allow a few hours (Kari T.)
  • Rock Falls: trails, suspension bridge, Could spend a whole day (Kari T.)
  • Franklin, TN: The Lotz House for a quick an interesting history lesson. (Erika W)

Atlanta GA well, once you make it through the traffic 😉 several attractions:

  • The Aquarium is the largest in the western hemisphere! (Jamie N.)
  • Roadside stands with fresh Georgia peaches (Tracy H.)
  • Patti’s 1880’s settlement, Grand Rivers KY recreated a historical log cabin village with a delicious, family-friendly restaurant (Katie M.)
  • Atlanta Braves (Samantha C.)
  • Six Flags Atlanta
  • World of Coca-Cola
  • Savannah GA Great historical stop that the kiddos won’t realize you’re sneaking in educational experiences along the way (Jen R.)
  • Asheville, NC: good historical stop


Other Southern Treasures:

  • Florida_Rest_StopThe Rest areas in each state are nice and have interesting displays to look at and areas to get some fresh air. The first Rest Stop in Florida they provide fresh squeezed orange juice. (Jen K.) Florida’s is pretty neat (Christina S.)
  • Stop as little as possible and look for a Chik-fil-A with a play place! (Rachel C.)
  • Waffle House: a tried and true road trip dining experience across many borders! (Jitonna L.)
  • Quirky place for a bathroom/snack break at the Rocket Alabama rest stop: (Holly D)
  • Tupelo, MS to see the birthplace of Elvis and on the way home Leeds, AL with a nice outlet mall and Bass Pro Shop. (Leila L.)


  • Drive straight through! (Sheila S.)
  • We were too excited to stop! #disneyorbust (Nancy W.)
  • Stopping in see family and friends along the way….

Orlando visitors:

Theme Park Connection 2160 Premier Row, Orlando FL “it’s like a giant Disney garage sale!” (Lisa W.)

Share more here, this will be an ever-growing resource!

Greg_P_LLCC_LandscapingClassesLincoln Land Community Education offers a variety of “one and done” classes on a variety of topics to enrich your life no matter where your interest lies!  We highly recommend spending one hour with Greg Pierceall to learn how to make the most of your home decor inside and out!  Choose from ten different classes, just $19 and a three-hour investment of your time. Greg Pierceallis a registered landscape architect in Illinois and Indiana and a Professor Emeritus of

Purdue University Landscape Architecture. Having taught at Purdue for thirty years also taught

for the University of Illinois in Oak Brook and Urbana for three years. Greg while in Chicagoland

designed the Smart Garden and the Smart Home, Museum of Science and Industry 2007-2012 as well as a growing billboard (google “lettuce billboard”) across the street from Wrigley Field 2008. He is the author of numerous landscape and interiorscape books as well has written for many green industry publications. Greg was awarded the International Award of Distinction from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers in 2003 as well as awards from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association for Service 2004 and Man of the Year 2008.

Greg is teaching more than ten one-time class that last 3 hours and are $19 each for ages 19 & over. Choose one or many: topics range from Fall Containers and plantings, landscaping, interior décor with plants and trees and pergolas.

Trees, Pergolas, & Arbors:

In this workshop you’ll learn the ins and outs of tree placement, proper selection, and other structural options.

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Tues., 8/23/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-03 (ages 19 & over)

Landscape Design 

You’ll come away with practical inspiration from this introduction to home site planning.

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 9/8/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-04 (ages 19 & over)

Landscape Planning

Learn behind-the- scenes process that will help you lay out and plan your property’s design.

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 9/22/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Montgomery Hall, room 1144

Course Code: CEW 106-05 (ages 19 & over)

Landscape Plantings 

Solve the mysteries of trees, shrubs, and ground clovers in the class on home landscapes!

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 9/29/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-06 (ages 19 & over)

Fall Containers

Learn to make the best choice of fall annuals and accents for within your landscape.

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 10/6/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Montgomery Hall, room 1144

Course Code: CEW 106-07 (ages 19 & over)

Plants Indoors

Take care of your plants through every season- learn how to move them indoors and

maintain proper care!

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 10/13/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-08 (ages 19 & over)

Interior Decor w/ Plants

Gain design skills that will help you to design with plants, florals, and accents in your


Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 10/20/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-09 (ages 19 & over)

Fall Planting

Increase you knowledge of the advantages to fall and dormant plantings in your


Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 10/27/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-10 (ages 19 & over)

Landscape Workshop

Bring your home photos and work with an experienced instructor to develop design

ideas that suit your needs!

Instructor: Greg Pierceall

Fee: $19

Date: Thurs., 11/3/16

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Millennium Center, room 1104

Course Code: CEW 106-11 (ages 19 & over)

register nowPlease call 217-786-2432 Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.or Register Online.