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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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!

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.