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! 

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What a beautiful morning we had for this year's annual Kids' Costume Contest at Halloween at the Market in partnership with ham 2014 little onesDowntown Springfield Inc.! In the nine years we have been part of this fantastics event, it was the warmest weather yet! The best part was the variety of cool costumes and the pride the kids have in dressing up in whatever fits their style! From Edward Scissorhands, to Godzilla, a sweet infant peapod or the always classic Dorothy and Toto; your costumes were fantastic!  Thank you to our judges Marilyn Schaefer from Illinois National Bank, Steve Parker from Mid-West Family Broadcasting and Rachel Thomson from the Kidzeum of Health and Science.  The judges had a VERY hard job choosing the top winners in three age groups.  We also launched a new FAMILY costume category this year, and SpMoms added some special SpMoms pick winners– there were just too many awesome ones to choose just one!

All winners received an assortment of prizes including Toys R Us gift cards, Illinois State Museum Gift shop certificates compliments of Illinois National Bank, and/or Jr. Blues Hockey Tickets compliments of Springfield Moms.

Family Category:

  • Winner:  The First Thanksgivingham 2014 family
  • Sp Moms Picks:  The Adams Family, The Lion Tamer and Lion, The Lego Movie Family and the Superhero Family.

Age Group Winners:

  • 0-2 Winners:  1. Cupcake  2. Pink Horse 3. Popcorn
  • 3-6 Winners:  1. Optimus Prime 2. Lego Guy 3. Pinata
  • 7-12 Winners: 1. Godzilla 2. Fortune Teller Machine 3. Edward Scissorhands.


Facebook Like Us on Facebook and check out the gallery of additional photos from this wonderful event!


 ham 2014 familyham spidey

calyssaSo many local families have serious challenges at the forefront of their minds, and the support of their friends, family and our community carries them through.  Join the community of New Berlin in their support for Calyssa Richie a very brave 14 year-old girl with a limiting, lifelong illness requiring experimental medication and procedures.  She's been diagnosed with Fibrosing Mediastinitis.  This is a rare disorder of Histoplasmosis causing pressure on all of her airways and her blood vessels to and from her heart.  The compression has caused pulmonary hypertension, increased pressure in the chest.  She's had four heart catheterizations and two bronchoscopies as well as two trips to Mayo in Rochester MN and a trip to Boston Children's Hospital Clinic. Listen to her Dad, Bill Richie, as he speaks about his daughter's condition and the loving support of the New Berlin community.  Their theme of HOPE 4 Calyssa: H.(Hold) O.(On) P(Pain) E. (Ends) is seen on t-shirts, bracelets, even the purple socks of the New Berlin Pretzels football team!

With research and travels the Richie family has talked to the most experience cardiologists in the world. Calyssa started treatment for an experimental medication that costs $30,000 per treatment every six months.  Calyssa has not shown new mass growth with the treatment.  The benefit will help for medical treatment of an ongoing chronic condition.

**  Donations are still needed and accepted for this event! Comment here or email if you'd like to contribute.

Join the Fundraiser November 1st at Secret Recipes' Reception Center 3086 Normandy Drive, Springfield.  Dinner from 4:00-6:00pm.  Silent Auction, Live Auction at 7:00 pm.  Cash bar, door prizes, 50/50 raffle, Kid/Teen tent with DJ,photo booth and games.

Friend Hope 4 Calyssa on facebook and stay in the loop!


WSEC-200WSEC is looking for volunteers for the evenings of their upcoming on-air pledge drive. Basically, as a volunteer you will answer phones (usually 7-10 pm) and take down info from donors. This is best suited for adults and teens ages 16+. While there, WSEC always feeds volunteers a hot meal from a local restaurant.

Volunteers support Network Knowledge by providing gifts of time and talent so that safe, entertaining, and educational programming can reach central and western Illinois. Viewer-supported programming relies on volunteers to provide many skills that are required to ensure continued programming.

The link to register for volunteer nights is here:

Or you can sign up by callilng 217-483-7887.

I think we can extend this quote to the many relationships in our lives. One of things we all crave is quality TIME together.  I certainly agree with Zig Ziglar's quote below.  Take the time to slow down, eliminate distractions and focus on the interactions of who you're with at any moment in time results in powerful memories and that wonderful feeling of love!
time child

We all know that we want to limit the time our children spend in front of a screen.  However, there are times, when we are in a pinch that we need to distract or busy our kids.  Why not make the most of that time and give them something to play that is entertaining AND educational?  Our readers helped us create a list of their favorite apps.

appsPaint Sparkles DrawAn interactive coloring book.

PBS KIDS Video: Watch videos from your favorite PBS shows.  Free! 

Sprout Games & Videos:   Play games with your favorite characters from the Sprout Channel.  Free! 

Old MacDonald Had a Farm: Full Version is $3.99.  Great educational games and songs.  

Tozzle: Toddler puzzles. $1.99.  

Hooked on Phonics:  Award winning tool to help kids learn how to read. 

Fisher-Price Imaginext Dinosaurs:  Great way for kids to learn about and interact with their favorite dinosaurs. Free!

Fisher-Price Zoo: Based on the Little People Series. $4.99

Fisher-Price Storybook Rhymes: Read and sing along with Nursery Rhymes.  Free! 

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn:   Learn animal sounds.  Free! 

Fisher-Price Let's Count:  Counting game with baby animals.  Free! 

Disney Classic Collection:  Classic Disney Stories.  Free! 

Toca Hair Salon:  Kids pick crazy hairstyles. $2.99

Toca Tailor Fairy Tales:  Design and Style your own clothes.  Free! 

WATCH Disney Jr:  Free app that allows kids to watch their favorite Disney Jr Shows.   

Jake and the Neverland Pirate School:  Join Jake and Friends for Four Pirate School adventures. $2.99
Disney Puzzle Packs:  Hundreds of Puzzles.  Free with add on purchases. 

Doc McStuffins Paint and Play:  $4.99  Paint the world of Doc McStuffins.

Ocean Animal Adventures:  $2.99 Turn your kids into Sea Life Experts!

Phone4Kidz:  A play phone for kids to pretend on.  .99


Feel free to share more!



My childhood memories of school safety and drills are much different from those of my children. School Safety for us meant: Don't ever get in a car with a stranger on your four-block walk home from school. Respect the crossing guard, and look both ways before you cross the street. If a tornado drill goes off, be sure to crouch down in the hallway and protect your neck with your hands."  

It was fairly simple. And feeling safe at school was routine … every day.

backpackToday's headline of a bomb threat at Sandy Hook brought back terrible memories of learning about this tragedy two years ago. We assume our children will return from school, maybe with a skinned knee from recess, but we don't ever imagine they won't ever come back at all. 

When today's children hear a warning bell or a loud sound at school, their instinct is to assume that an intruder is in the building. Most schools provide Hard Lock Down Drills to review a safety plan in the case of an emergency or an intruder.  When my daughter returns home from school on those days, she explains where she goes in her classroom and that she would pull her desk in front of herself for "extra protection." She says this very matter of fact.  It's simply the life experience she is used to. It's her "normal," but it's my terrifying.

I can't shield them from these news stories. They are everywhere. I simply need to be prepared to provide a response when they ask the tough questions, like "Why do people want to hurt kids?"  I don't have good answers for myself or for them.  But what I do have is an enormous hug and the assurance that I love them.

How do you handle these hard questions at home?

Enjoy this article from Parent University a publication of Memorial Health System

mini-recipesHealthy Recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole. Enjoy!


Summer has come and gone with its abundance of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Fear not, fall is here with a unique array of fresh produce in fall colors such as oranges, yellows, browns, greens, reds, and whites. These foods go along with the falling leaves, harvests, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

“Some people do not eat as much produce once all the fresh summer bounty is over, but I encourage everyone to continue their streak of healthy eating by including the fall fruits and vegetables of the season. Instead of berries in your cereal, why not add crisp apples to your oatmeal,” says Christina Rollins, Registered Dietitian for Memorial Medical Center and Spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

You can find the freshest produce at farmer’s markets that continue into the fall or at your local grocery/produce store. Fall produce has the nutrition power to keep you going strong after a fun summer of eating. Some of the seasonal foods are not as popular but with the correct preparation, they will become your new favorites. Give them time and some TLC. Check out the tips that Rollins recommends below:

Fabulous Fall Foods to include this season:brussels sprouts

1) Celery root (also called celeriac). This is celery’s green cousin with a tough outer layer. It tastes like a cross between a strong celery and parsley. Choose one that is small and firm with minimum rootlets and knobs. It can be eaten raw or cooked after peeling. Mix with mashed potatoes or puree it into a smooth and creamy side dish. It contains small amounts of vitamin B, calcium, and iron.

2) Brussels sprouts. They are the hot new and exciting vegetable now, popping up at a lot of restaurants. They are part of the cabbage family. Buy small bright green sprouts with compact heads. They are high in vitamins A and C, and a fair source of iron. They are delicious roasted.

3) Pumpkin. In the group of orange produce (carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams) are abundant in the fall. Pumpkin is a member of the gourd family which includes watermelon and squash. It has a mild, sweet flavor and the seeds are nutty. Choose ones that do not have any blemishes, are smaller (will be more tender) and heavy for their size. It can be prepared in any way suitable for winter squash. It is a good source of vitamin A.

kale4) Kale. Another trendy vegetable these days. It is in the cabbage family, comes in many different colors and varieties, and is packed with good for you vitamins. Choose richly colored, small bunches without any limp or yellowing leaves. The center stalk should be removed before using. Kale can be prepared in place of spinach (sautéed) and makes a nice addition to salads. It is a cruciferous vegetable with a lot of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium, and iron.cauliflower

5) Cauliflower. Also in the cruciferous vegetable group. Choose a firm cauliflower with compact florets and the leaves should be crisp and green. Separate the head into florets and wash. It can be eaten raw or cooked – boiled, baked, and sautéed. Barbara likes it roasted with a squeeze of lemon juice (will prevent discoloration) and some garlic. It is high in vitamin C and a fair source of iron.

6) Jerusalem artichokes. They are longer and less round than the artichokes we see on salad bars, sometimes called sunchokes at restaurants. The white flesh is nutty, sweet, and crunchy. Choose ones that are firm and fresh looking. They can be peeled or washed well since the skin is very thin and nutritious. Eat them raw in salads, boiled, or steamed as a side dish. Roast them with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and a drizzle of olive oil. They are a good source of iron.

7) Apples. There are so many different types of apples, many names that some have never heard of. Honey crisp became popular a couple of years ago, but what about green ginger? The list goes on. Good eaten raw or baked by itself or for a dessert. They have antioxidant (flavonoid quercetin) and anti-inflammatory properties, which may prevent some cancers and protect the arteries of the heart. Apples contain fiber and vitamins A and C

8) Pears. There are many different varieties of pears and they come in different shapes, from round to bell-shaped and in colors from green to yellow to red. Ripe pears are juicy and can range in flavor from spicy to sweet to almost tart depending on the variety. Choose ones that are fragrant without any blemishes. They are full of fiber and have a slower release of sugar into the blood. They also contain vitamin A and C.pear

9) Cranberries. You can find them in 12-ounce plastic bags. Discard any discolored or shriveled berries. Besides traditional cranberry sauce, they also make good chutneys, pies, cobblers, and other desserts. They are very tart so are best when combined with other fruits such as apples or dried apricots. Fresh cranberries are high in vitamin C. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.



Article submitted by: Christina Rollins, MS RD LDN CNSC, Clinical Dietitian III, Memorial Medical Center, Spokesperson, Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,  217-788-4684

We asked our readers if they would share their must have, go to items.  From toys to gear here is a list of items to help you make it through the day (or night).  Let us know if you have any must have items. 228426_1717834111234_4107296_n


Our Readers recommend:

  • The Chicco Travel Systems:  The easy to move car seat, cup holders, and height are the key selling features for this item.  

Double Strollers

Our readers recommend:

  • The City Select: For adjustability and size, this was a popular item.  
  • The Double Bob: For working out, the Bob, was designed to get you back to working out.  

 Baby Gear

Our Readers recommend:

 Monitors: Our Readers recommend:



Foodbank ImageCentral Illinois Foodbank is teaming up with Walmart and Feeding America in the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. 2014 campaign. This year Walmart is providing $3 million in funding to the Feeding America network. 50 food banks from across the county will be selected to receive a $60,000 funding award to support their general hunger-relief initiatives.

Central Illinois Foodbank is just one of two participating food banks in the state of Illinois that will be vying for the $60,000 award, which will be determined in an online voting campaign. The voting will take place on beginning Monday, September 15th and running through Sunday, October 5th. Voters are allowed to place one vote per day during the 21-day contest. “Residents in Central Illinois have always been so supportive of the Foodbank. When this opportunity came up, we didn’t hesitate in putting ourselves in the running for the $60,000.” said Central Illinois Foodbank executive, director Pam Molitoris.

Three of the Foodbank’s partners will also directly benefit from the award. Quincy Catholic Charities, Northeast Community Fund in Decatur and St. Martin Deporres in Springfield will all receiving a $5,000 credit at the Foodbank should they land in the top 50. All 135 agencies in Central Illinois Foodbank’s 21-county region will benefit, the Foodbank plans on purchasing fresh produce with the remaining $45,000.

March_of_DimesWhat a better way to enjoy wonderful food, the company of good friends or a date night to benefit the mission of the March of Dimes.  So many of our reader families are connected to this wonderful organization doing so much good strong, healthy babies.  The Signature Chefs Auction is a great time!  Delicious food, a great span of silent and live auction items, and most of all, hearing the inspiring stories of the featured families.

Thursday, October 09, 2014 at 5:30pm.
President Abraham Lincoln Hotel by DoubleTree 
701 E. Adams St., Springfield, IL 62701 

March of DimesRegister online here!