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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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foodbank_warehouse_webCentral 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!

We asked SpringfieldMoms readers to post their favorite recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients. Wow, what a great response! We've been making our menus using these excellent suggestions. Enjoy!

Main Dishes

Crockpot Italian Chicken: 1 bag frozen boneless chicken, 1 packet dry Italian seasoning, 1 jar peppercinis (w/ juice). Shred & eat! (on bun or plain) – Sarah E.

Easy pasta: cook any kind of pasta (we like penne) in boiling water. In a separate skillet melt butter and sautéed asparagus pieces and pancetta until tender and crispy. Drain pasta, add butter, asparagus and pancetta to the pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top. Serve with tossed salad and garlic bread. – Lindsay C.

Crockpot Roast: Roast, carrots, potatoes, A1 and water all in the crock pot! – Erika B.

Chicken on the Stovetop: Chicken breasts, 1 can Coke, 1 cup ketchup. Mix coke and ketchup in a shallow pan. Heat on stovetop. Cook chicken breasts. Makes a yummy sauce! – Heather D.

Frito salad: lettuce, beans, onions, Caesar salad dressing, Fritos on top. – Jennifer L.

Chicken spaghetti. Spaghetti noodles (boiled), cook chicken (we use boneless skineless chicken breast) with canned rotel tomatoes and a block of velvetta cheese. Once done mix, with the drained noodles. Quick and yummy! – Amanda W.

Crockpot pizza.:1lb browned ground beef, pepperoni, rotini (cooked by package directions), 2 cups mozarella, 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Mix together and put in crockpot low for 4 hours. – Shannon P.

Sausage Pasta: kielbasa sausage, canned tomatoes (or rotel), pasta, cream, chicken broth. Slice and brown sausage (you can add onions or bel pepper if you'd like) in large skillet, add tomatoes and uncooked pasta, pour in a box of broth and 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream. Cook until pasta is cooked through and sauce thickens. You can also throw in some Monterey Jack cheese at the end. (But that would make it more than 5 ingredients) – Erin D.

Crockpot Chicken and Rice: 1 bag frozen chicken breasts (thawed), 1 bag baby carrots, 1 box Zatarain's dirty rice and 1 family can cream of chicken soup. Put all in crock pot and cook. – Kim W.

Crockpot chicken noodle soup: boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, butter, chicken broth and frozen egg noodles. Cook chicken, soup, butter, and broth in crockpot on low for 6 hours. Take chicken out and shred. Put chicken back in; add noodles and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir a few times while cooking. I served this over mashed potatoes yummmmmy !! Family LOVES it.. – Tom and Amy

Hamburger casserole: Hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, tater tots. Bake. – Marie Z.

Slacker Maidrite Sandwich : ground turkey.. Brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and vinegar.. All to taste. 7 minute meal tops! – Sabrina R.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches: 5-6lb pork loin; 1 bottle of Meat Smack Original BBQ sauce; 1/2 bottle of Meat Smack Raz-Chipotle sauce; 2 cups water; 1 tsp chopped Garlic. Put the roast in the crock pot. Pour remaining ingredients over top. Cook on med-high 6-8 hours.It will shred with the touch of a fork & is delish!!! – Jennifer G.

Chicken Casserole: 4-5 boneless Chicken breasts, 2 cans each cream of chicken and mushroom, 2 cans of milk, 1 cup instant rice (Optional top with chunks of butter). Mix all ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake at 350 until chicken reaches 165. – Alicia N.

Italian beef: Cook beef in crock pot over night. Shred when done. Put shredded beef, beef broth, and Italian dry salad dressing seasoning back into crock pot until ready to eat. – Mary Ann U.

Beef Stroganoff: Stew meat with cream of onion & golden mushroom (garlic) soup in the crockpot low 6 hrs, then add a block of cream cheese & cooked egg noodles. Very easy beef stroganoff that my kids LOVE. – Michelle T.

Crockpot Mac n Cheese: 12oz can of evaporated milk; 16 oz box of elbow macaroni; 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese; 8 oz cream cheese; 2 1/2 cups of milk.
Turn on low until noodles are tender. – Jen B.

Mexican Chicken: Jar of salsa & chicken breasts in crockpot. Cook all day on low. Shred chicken and add bag of frozen corn & jar of black beans 1 hour before serving. Serve in tortillas, over rice, or whatever. Can also top with usual taco toppings. – Shauana J.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos: 1.5 lbs frozen boneless/skinless chicken breast; 1 can Rotel;1 pkg taco seasoning. Put chicken in Crock Pot, pour Rotel on top, sprinkle taco seasoning on top of that. 4-6 hours on low. Shred last hour of cooking. I sometimes will add another can of Rotel and extra cumin if I want a little more spice.
So. Yummy. – Nicky B.

Shredded Pork Sandwiches: Put pork roast in crock pot and smoother with banana peppers and the juice out the jar. Let cook 8 hrs and meat just falls apart and place on hoagie bun. Supper good sandwiches n easy. We usually serve with tortilla chips n nacho cheese. – Angela M.

Stuffed Peppers: Green peppers, rice, ground turkey, chunky salsa, mozzarella cheese. Cut top off of pepper. Remove seeds and hollow out the inside bake on a cookie sheet. Brown ground turkey & season to your liking. I prefer garlic & green onion. Then stir in tomato paste & chunky salsa. Cook rice separately. Then combine both meat & rice together. Layer meat & rice mixture & mozzarella cheese inside green pepper, top w/ cheese. Then bake on 375 for about 45 mins or until cheese on top is melted & pepper is tender. Enjoy!! – Brittney A.

Mexican Inspired Macaroni & Cheese1 pound ground meat of your choice; Velveeta Shells and Cheese; 1 jar of salsa. Make the macaroni according to instructions on box. Brown your meat. Add the salsa and stir! It's yummy and fast on nights you don't have time to cook a regular meal! – Missy O.



Best Soup Ever…beef broth…a jar of salsa…cheese tortellini. ..and parmesan cheese…20 minutes and amazing. – Aimee M.

Five can chili: one can each of: chili beans, kidney beans, pork n beans, tomato soup, diced tomatoes. Add a little water if you don't want it too thick. Heat and eat. – Becky W.


Pickle wrap dip – 8 oz cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tsp onion powder, 3/4 cup dill relish and 5 oz dried beef, finely chopped. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and onion powder. Stir in relish and beef. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve with crackers or veggies. Tastes just like pickle roll ups but much easier to make!  - Liz E.
Frito dip – medium container sour cream, jar of bacon bits, 1 lb shredded cheddar, packet of dry ranch dressing and Fritos or Ritz crackers. Mix first 4 ingredients for dip. Use either Fritos or crackers to dip in it. – Con Sue A.

Guacamole: Avocado, tomato, onion, mccormick's guacamole packet, and chips. – Rebecca S.

Tomato Tuna Dip: tuna, diced tomato, rice, mayo, diced onion (salt n pepper optional). So delicious. Can be eaten alone or dipped with saltines. best when chilled. – Amanda K.

Taco dip: mix sour cream & packet taco seasoning & spread out on a cookie sheet lined with foil (makes cleanup easy!). Pour a jar of taco sauce on top and spread over mixture. Top with taco cheese and eat with tostitoes. Easy, fast and a hit at parties! – Tammy G.



Ice cream cake – ice cream, hot fudge, and crumbled up cookies for the crust! – Keely B.

Pumpkin Bake – 1 can of pumpkin, 1 cup of water, 1 box of yellow cake,1 bag of cinnamon chips!!! Mix all together and bake like cake box says and that's it!!!! – Kammy F.

Peanut Butter cookies: brown sugar, vanilla extract, peanut butter, 1 c. sugar. – Shanon S.

Cup-Cakes= 1 box angle food cake mix, 1 box your choice cake mix, add them together in one ziploc baggie, take out two tablespoons full and couple teaspoons of water- put in microwave for two minutes== instant mini cakes for kids. – Nicole S.

Party Oreos: - The recipe is fun, pretty, and easy for your little and big ones to do! Use any color Oreos ans sprinkles for every holiday! – Holly D.

Gingerbread truffles: 8oz cream cheese, softened, one bag of gingersnaps and white chocolate chips. Put bag of gingersnaps in a food processor, mix with cream cheese. Freeze for an hour. Melt chocolate chips, dip truffles in the liquid chocolate, let harden on a plate. You're welcome. – Gina A.

Dump Cake: 1 can crushed pineapple, 1 can Cherry Pie Filling, 1 box Yellow Cake Mix, 1&1/2 sticks Butter, melted. Preheat oven to 350*. Dump Pineapple into 9×13 pan, juice & all. Spread evenly. Spoon Cherry Pie Filling over pineapple as even as possible. Sprinkle dry cake mix over Cherry & Pineapple. Drizzle Butter evenly over entire cake. Dry spots are ok…actually suggested! Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins. Remove & enjoy warm!!! P.S. This recipe works great with any fruit pie filling & also with pumpkin!!!  - Jennifer G.


Salads and Sides:

Toddler Tropical Salad: 1 can mandarin oranges, 1 can pears, 1 can pineapples, 1 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt, marshmallows. Mix, chill, serve.  - Jodi T.

Roasted cauliflower: chopped cauliflower, Olive oil, salt pepper, shake in a bag and pour onto foiled cookie sheet, bake at 425 for about 25 minutes. – Kelly H.


Pumpkin pie dip: One can of pumpkin, One box French vanilla pudding, One tub of cool whip. Mix ingredients together. Mix in pumpkin spice to taste and serve with Nilla wafers. – Carrie T.


Morning Oat-cakes: 5 eggs, 2 cups oats (may need to add more if mix is runny ), 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 sliced banana. Mix well. Coat omelet pan ( I use butter), pour in. Cook on medium heat. Cut into quarters as gets solid to flip. – Kris T.




DSI-Logo-header-fireworksSince our founding ten years ago, has been a sponsor of Downtown Springfield, Inc.'s (DSI) Halloween at the Market. We've supported all of their family friendly events, including Taste of Downtown Springfield, the Old Capitol Farmers Market, Blues and BBQ, and the Holiday Walks.

You may have heard that DSI is having financial problems. DSI programs such as the Old Capitol Farmers Market, the Downtown Holiday Walks, Business Advocacy, Upper Story Tours, Office Space Open Houses, ongoing beautification and greening efforts, and so many more DSI activities in support of historic Springfield simply will no longer exist if we are forced to close their doors.
This situation is the result of many things: limited revenue sources, the absence of public funding or assistance from the municipality, dependency on event revenue that is reliant on good weather, and the increased cost of developing and implementing the organization's programming and projects. As a result, DSI, like any small business, faces difficult decisions, cuts and, perhaps, an end to the organization. DSI is using this opportunity to reevaluate funding sources, expenditures, events and how they do business. This fall, they are taking the time to educate the residents of Springfield about DSI's mission, projects, upcoming initiatives, accomplishments, our members, volunteers and so much more.

Make plans now to attend DSI's Summer Sendoff! September 18 at Stonegate Farm.  

More information here. 

Memorial Health SystemGoing back to school is an exciting time of year for most children. Some, however, experience anxiety and feel stressed as soon as they hear those dreaded words, “back to school.”

Anxious children are often overly tense and may need a lot of encouragement. Anxiety presents itself in children in many different ways. Memorial's Live Well online magazine outlines common types of anxiety and what parents should do if they notice their child showing signs of back-to-school anxiety.

Read more here, including tips from Cynthia Mester, PhD, director at The Children's Center at Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois:

Livewell Banner 300x97

Going to School

We asked SpringfieldMoms readers for their recommendations for books for adults. We got SO MANY great suggestions!

Here are the top 10:

1. The Husband's Secret by Liane MoriartyE Reader

2. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — a favorite of adults AND kids!

5. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

6. The Dinner by Herman Koch

7. The Girls by Lori Lansens

8, Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

9. The Art Of Racing in The Rain by Garth Stein

10. Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss


Other recommendations:

Apaches by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Color me Butterfly by L.Y. Marlow
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron
Missing You by Harlan Coben

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Joyland by Stephen King



Earlierkids-on-computer1 this year, I attended a technology workshop on Digital Safety at my daughter's elementary school. With our kids of all ages using technology in every way, shape and form it seems:  apps, social media, text and email; it's hard to stay on top of everything. Speakers included John Milhiser, the Sangamon County State's Attorney, and Christine Feller, an Internet Safety Specialist, working for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office/High Tech Crimes Bureau. We have a digital culture in our household, but there are boundaries. We have dedicated home spaces with (and without) digital media, we set guidelines and standards (no screen time till homework is done- no phones after bedtime), we certainly want to be aware to watch out for risky behaviors, and we want to encourage ongoing critical thinking.

Take some time to review the workshop materials, and share your best tips here!

Creating a Digital Culture

Digital Safety Information

Encouraging Ongoing Critical Thinking


breast cancer fundraisingNothing warms our hearts more than kids doing good for others!  Share your stories of how your kids (big and little) are giving back to others.  Meet Brock and Carson (friends from Chatham), they raised $362 selling lemonade and cookies for 4 hours.  Their moms requested permission to set up a booth at the County Market.  All of the proceeds will go to help fight cancer. They are participating in the Breast Cancer walk on Oct 18th at the fairgrounds. Their families are very proud of them, and so are we! Brock and Carson, you're each going to receive some free kids meal coupons at Chili's in the mail.  Thanks for all you're doing to help others.  Here's a list of Volunteer Opportunities.  Email us your kid's stories today!

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)