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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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summer toddlersRecently we asked facebook followers, what is your best advice for raising a toddler or PreK child?   We were overwhelmed with the response! There were many great tips and wonderful pieces of advice.  We all know what wonderful and magical spirits two, three, and four year olds have; but we also know how difficult they can be at times.  Below is a list of the top 15 parenting tips for toddlers from our readers. 

15. Teach them Manners.  Several of our readers talked about the importance of manners.  Learning manners and social skills help children navigate the world of friendships and relationships.

14. Let them help with tasks around the house.  While it may take a lot longer to get things done with little ones helping it will teach them responsibility.  They will take pride in small accomplishments.

13. Remember Each Child is Different.  What worked for your older children may not work for their younger siblings.  Adapt for each child's personality.

12.  Be a Role Model.  Remember they are watching every move.  They learn from you.  How you handle disappointment will be how they learn to handle it as well.  

11. Teach them to play by themselves as well as with others.  Learning to entertain themselves is a wonderful skill for them to have.  Making sure they socialize with others is also very important.  Provide opportunities for both.

10. Sometimes let the meltdowns happen.  A good cry can help children recuperate and move on.  Sometimes this goes for parents too.

9. Make Messes.  This age is full of exploration.  Let them really experience their world.  Have fun and get messy with them.

8. Have realistic expectations.  Remember they are only two, three, or four.  A great tip a reader shared was after explaining something, allow them time to comprehend what you just said.  

7.  Say "Yes" as much as you can.  We all respond better to positivity.  One reader said "Saying 'Yes' will help them deal with the times you have to say 'no'."  

6.  Daily Routines.  When children know what to expect they are able to better deal with their surroundings. Routines help children transition from one activity to another.

5.  Take Lots of Pictures.  They grow so quickly that you want to capture this moment.

4.  Live in the moment and slow down.  Don't take so many pictures that you aren't actively participating in the moment.  While you may want to capture every moment on film, it's ok to take mental pictures sometime instead. 

3.  Trust Yourself.  No one knows your kiddos as well as you.  You know what is best.  Go with your gut.

2.  Love, Love, Love!  Teach them that your love will be there no matter what.  Play with them as much as possible and give lots of hugs.

1.  Have a sense of humor.  The most common trend from our readers: Sometimes you just have to laugh.  

List compiled by Lauren Coleman a busy Springfield Mom of two daughters in this age group!







Girls on the RunGirls on the Run of Central Illinois will kick off the 2014 fall program session with 42 teams at local schools and community program sites. Registration for the 10-week program will be open through 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 27. Several new schools are partnering with Girls on the Run to offer the program for the first time this fall: 8 Points Charter School in Jacksonville, Chester East in Lincoln and Williamsville Middle School. Families can register their girls online at

More than 500 girls in third through eighth grades are estimated to participate this season in the life-skills program. The sessions will run for 10 weeks beginning September 8 at more than 35 local schools and community sites throughout central Illinois. Girls will benefit from new community locations hosting the program that are open to all girls: Southwind Park, Downtown YMCA and Kerasotes YMCA in Springfield. A full list of participating locations is included below.

The Girls on the Run program uses an experience-based curriculum which integrates running to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. The interactive curriculum is fun and challenging, covering meaningful topics such as self-awareness, building healthy relationships, and developing personal strengths while engaging in physical activities. The curriculum also includes lessons specifically devoted to a community service project completed by each team, as well as a fun, non-competitive 5k run open to the community at the end of the 10-week season. The fall 2014 5k will be held on Saturday, November 8th at 10 a.m. at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, and is open to the entire community.

To learn more about the program, how to volunteer or to register for the community 5k, visit You do not have to be a runner to get involved. Girls on the Run needs program coaches, committee members and 5k volunteers. Please call 217-726-9808 to discuss which role will best fit your skills, talents and schedule.

The following schools or community site locations are participating in the spring season:

Girls on the Run (3rd-5th grade)TEAM

  • 8 Points Charter School, Jacksonville – Tuesdays & Thursdays (4:15-5:30)
  • Auburn Middle School – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:30-4:45)
  • Ball Charter School – GOTR, Springfield – Mondays & Wednesdays (3:45-5:00)
  • Bluffs Community School – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Brown County Elementary – Mondays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Butler Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:30-4:45)
  • Chester East Lincoln – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Christ the King – Tuesdays & Thursdays (4:15-5:30)
  • Eisenhower Elementary – GOTR, Jacksonville – Mondays & Wednesdays (2:45-4:00)
  • Graham Elementary – Mondays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Hope Academy – Tuesdays & Thursdays (4:00-5:15)
  • Iles Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Jane Addams Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:45-5:00)
  • Kellar Primary School, Peoria – Mondays & Wednesdays (3:30-4:45)
  • Lindsay Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (5:00-6:15)
  • Maroa-Forsyth Grade School – Tuesday & Thursday (3:05-4:30)
  • New Berlin Elementary – Days depend on team placement (3:30-4:45)
  • North Jacksonville Elementary School – Mondays & Wednesdays (2:30-4:00)
  • Our Saviour, Jacksonville – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • PORTA Central, Petersburg – Tuesdays & Thursdays (4:00-5:15)
  • Rochester – Tuesdays & Thursdays (5:00-6:15)
  • Sandburg Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (5:30-6:45)
  • South Elementary School, Jacksonville – Mondays & Wednesdays (3:30-4:45)
  • Southwind Park – Tuesdays & Thursdays (5:00-6:15) *Community Site, open to all
  • Springfield Christian School – Mondays & Wednesdays (3:45-5:00)
  • Tri-City Elementary – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • YMCA – Downtown Springfield – Mondays & Wednesdays (4:30-5:45) *Community Site, open to all
  • YMCA – Kerasotes Springfield – Tuesdays & Thursdays (4:30-5:45) *Community Site, open to all
  • Williamsville Middle School – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:30-4:45) 5th grade ONLY

Girls on Track (6th-8th grade)

  • Eisenhower Elementary – GOT, Jacksonville – Mondays & Wednesdays (2:45-4:00)
  • Franklin Middle School, Springfield – Tuesdays & Thursdays (2:30- 4:00)
  • Grant Middle School – Mondays & Thursdays (2:30-4:00)
  • Lincoln Magnet School – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:45-4:00)
  • Morrisonville Junior High School – Mondays & Wednesdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Taylorville Junior High – Tuesdays & Thursdays (3:15-4:30)
  • Washington Middle School – days TBD (2:45-4:00)

Michele Miller, assistant professor in the Psychology department at The University of Illinois at Springfield, is conducting a research study examining early social emotional development and school readiness in children ages 30 to 42 months. Your child is invited to participate in the study.summer toddler Your involvement would be easy, convenient, and compensated with a $20 gift card to Target.
If you agree to participate,you will be mailed a few questionnaires to complete at your convenience. Questions pertain to basic demographic information, ranking items of importance for school readiness, rating the child's current readiness for formal schooling, and the child's social emotional development. Additionally, you and your child will be invited to the lab on campus at a time that is convenient for you so the child can participate in an approximately 1 hour long, fun, play-based assessment of their current cognitive skills. You may bring the completed questionnaire forms to this visit or mail them back in a provided postage paid envelope.
If you have questions, if you would like to see a more detailed description of the project, and/or if you would like to participate, email Professor Miller at or phone 217-206-8058.

UIS Research Project Flyer

rotator-getsocialOne of the best ways to share tips and advice or your to share with our community of readers is to post a comment on our website, emails us or share comments on facebook or twitter!  We host a lot of sponsor contests online too giving away a slew of fun prizes to say  "thanks" for taking the time to share your ideas, your photos and your input to continue to provide the area's best online resource for parenting and so much more.

Get SOCIAL and stay connected with us to win.

blanket summer summer fun superhero summer toddlerCongrats to the following readers who won in August!

Traci Ondrey, Sharon Tuxhorn, Danielle Watson-Watts each won two tickets to Shrek: The Musical at The Muni.

Patrick Trees, Amanda Buxton, Jenni Bulusko, Marie Zirkelbach, Nancy Stanton Bitner each won two tickets to Sesame Street Live!  Redeem by emailing us your mailing address ASAP.  Contact the PCCC ticket office to redeem your vouchers for one of the fours shows August 30 or 31st

Several others won pre-season tickets to the Jr Blues…we appreciate everyone’s comments and entries.





Satur-Play! is an engaging hands-on enhancement program for the Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum at the Illinois State Museum. This exciting new program features science and art activities that children and families can participate in while visiting the Play Museum. A different theme and activity is offered each week on Saturdays, with the exception of Super Saturdays. Registration is not required. For more information, call the Education Section at (217) 782-5955.

We interviewed ISM Educator Kara Fedje to learn more.

Kara, tell us about the Museum’s new weekly program “SaturPlay!"6658a_kara_cmyk

SaturPlay! is a hands-on enhancement for the Illinois State Museum's Play Museum. The idea behind the program is to get children (and their parents) excited about art and science.  Volunteers engage visitors by helping them explore concepts and then putting it to the test! SaturPlay! is appropriate for young learners ages 3-10 and is free to the public!     

It seems like today kids (and their parents) are overscheduled and over committed.  How is “SaturPlay!” different?

SaturPlay! is great because visitors can drop in the museum from 11AM-3PM any Saturday and make an art project or do a science experiment on their own time. They don't have to participate or stay long, but some do!  Satur-Play! gives children and their families a chance to play informally in the Play Museum, while others participate in an activity.   

Tell us about one of your favorite projects.

One of my favorite things we've done so far for SaturPlay! was to work with cabbage juice.  Naturally, it is a purple pH indicator solution.  This means the cabbage juice will turn colors when you add either an acid  (like vinegar) or a base (like baking soda). The children had a small amount of pulverized water/cabbage "juice" in a baby food jar and changed the pH level by adding simple foods from the kitchen. The cabbage juice turns color and everyone thinks a special magic trick just occurred. It's super fun!  

saturplay childWhat drives you?

Well, the nature of a museum is to provide "Edu-tainment." In other words, children are entertained and educated to learn a little something while in the museum. Some people believe you need to be in school to learn; however, museums are an excellent source for learning.  I am driven to explore and nurture the concept of informal learning in an semi-unstructured environment like the Illinois State Museum. Plus, I love seeing the happy faces of young visitors when they feel they are successful at Satur-Play!

In January, Kara Fedje of Bettendorf, Iowa began work as the Illinois State Museum’s new Mary Ann MacLean Educator. Kara comes to us from the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa. She holds a BA in studio art from Augustana College and a MA in museum studies from Western Illinois University. Kara was the ISM’s 2004 Monticello Intern. Kara’s enthusiasm for the museum education is contagious, and we are pleased to welcome her to the Illinois State Museum. 

Try experiments and projects at home by visiting the Satur-Play! blog:

PlayMuseumISM_200x120 copy

jrblues_moms_smallTickets are now available for all Jr. Blues preseason games. Tickets are $5 at the door day of game. However, fans can get FREE tickets by visiting Gilly's Oasis (Nelson Center Concession Stand) or the Jr. Blues at one of the many community events the Jr. Blues will participate this month. This year’s preseason ticket is sponsored by Mel-O-Cream and has a coupon attached for a buy-one-get-one for free donut.

The tickets are good for entry to any one of the following preseason games:

Saturday August 30th vs St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3HL) at 7:05 pm

Sunday August 31st vs. Peoria Mustangs (NA3HL) at 5:05 pmjr-blues-sig-logo

Friday September 5th vs. Lindenwood University at 7:05 pm

Friday September 12th vs. University of Illinois at 7:05 pm


Here are some of the upcoming events the Jr. Blues will be part and handing out FREE Tickets:

8.17.14 Illinois State Fair

8.23.14 Blues and BBQ Festival

8.23.14 Color Dash 5K at Kerasota YMCA

Make sure to keep track of the Jr. Blues on Twitter, Liking us on Facebook, and visiting

ymca general 2014 sidebar

Don't miss this colorful and popular family event!  Register Today to Save!

25% of the proceeds raised will go directly to the Springfield YMCA Strong Kids Scholarship Fund.

  • $40 Individual 
  • $35 Team Member (min 4, max 16) 
  • $85 Family* 
  • *For 3, $15 ea. additional (Up to 6) 

ALL PRICES Increase the Day of 
5 & Under Are Free 
*A ticket (receipt) is required for entry into the event*

DATE: 08/23/2014

The Springfield YMCA is committed to and focused on nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. At the Y, no child is turned away from our programs or services for an inability to pay. Our Strong Kids Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to children in need so they may find a safe, adult supervised second home at the Y, learn and get active in our sport leagues, create in our art and humanities programs and make friend and memories at summer camp. We raise funds for our kids, so we may invest in their health and well-being. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause, and our community is stronger when our kids are healthy and happy!  SPONSORS:

BFBL- CENTRAL IL- BIG+BRIGHTNow finding local farm-fresh food is easier than ever with the debut of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website. The website contains an interactive map and online directory of nearly 140 farms, restaurants, retailers, markets, and other businesses where consumers can purchase local food throughout central Illinois.

The website can be found at:
The Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois Chapter, a campaign of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, was created in 2006 with the intent of strengthening the local food movement, increasing consumer access to nutritious local food, and supporting local farmers with a commitment to raising products in a sustainable, environmentally, and morally conscientious manner. The campaign is responsible for organizing such events as the Local Flavors Farm-to-Table Series.
“We believe it’s very important for people to know their farmer, to know how their food is grown, and to have a connection with their food.  This website gives us a platform for bringing the pictures, faces, and stories of Central Illinois farmers to life and gives people a chance to make those connections,” says Molly Gleason, Outreach Coordinator for Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
On the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website, you'll find:

  • An interactive map and directory
  • Featured farmer stories
  • News blog
  • Calendar of upcoming events
  • Recipes
  • Seasonal buying guide, and
  • E-newsletters

The Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois chapter is part of a national network of Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters. It is organized and operated by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a statewide non-profit organization that promotes local food and farm systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just through policy development, advocacy and education.

The Springfield Jr. Blues are currently looking for billet families for the 2014-2015 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 22nd 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  2014-2015 full schedule here


Open Now Through September 1

The Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln is now accepting proposals for three grant cycles: Community Grants Program, Access to Recreation Program and the Central Illinois Micro-Grant Program. The deadline for all three cycles is September 1, 2014.

The Community Grants Program is the local unrestricted grantmaking program at the Community Foundation. The program accepts funding requests for any charitable focus in Cass, Christian, Logan, Macoupin, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, and/or Sangamon County, Illinois. Multiple grant awards of up to $2,500 will be made from the Community Grants Program. Applicants will be notified of the funding decision by early November.

The Access to Recreation Program was originally established at the Foundation through a challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This fund supports accessible recreation programs that provide people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in outdoor or indoor recreation activities without barriers. Multiple grant awards totaling $7,000 may be available, and requests should not exceed $3,000. Funds must be used for programs and services primarily assisting residents of Sangamon County, Illinois.

The Community Foundation will offer the second round of Central Illinois Micro-Grants for 2014 in three Illinois counties: Sangamon, Montgomery and Christian. Micro-grants are awards of up to $1,500 for attendance by nonprofit staff and board members at trainings and professional development programs of their own choosing.

Applications for all three programs can be accessed through the Community Foundation’s web site –

Through philanthropic services, strategic grantmaking and community leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln “connects people who care with causes that matter.”