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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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elf on the shelfTwas the night before December 2nd, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma, well I was in my pajama’s,
climbing into my bed.

When just about asleep I said “Oh crap!” ,
I sprang from the bed and knew it would be awhile before I would nap.
Away to the kitchen I flew in a dash.
I grabbed a little Elf, looking for a place to stash.

Would he play with the Barbies or read a book,

Did he have time to make tiny pancakes and cook?

Would he sit on a shelf?

Tell me, What to do with my little Elf?images-3
This mom is out of ideas, I need one and quick,
Otherwise he won’t be able to report to St Nick.
More rapid than eagles the ideas they came,
let’s just be honest, they were of the Pinterest Fame!

“Now, sit here! now color! now, prance and sit in!
On, the fridge! On the tv! on our stuffed dog named Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now move the Elf! Now move the Elf all!!”

images-2His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when I stuck him in a bowl full of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I could go back to bed.

 

I spoke not a word, but went straight to bed,
Anxiety of 23 more days to go in my head.
And laying my finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, asleep I started to doze!

They sprang from their bed, to their siblings gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.joshy the elf 2
But I heard them exclaim, as I turned off the alarm
“The elf moved, I found him” Oh good I had done no harm

 

Now Readers, we ask, please share your ideas for that little elf

Every year I think I’ll remember but I am just kidding myself.

Let us know how creative you are or share pictures too.

Come on there are a lot of parents counting on you!

Help us get this just right!

Happy Christmas to all and let me remember to move that elf tonight!!

ymca-lifeguardYear-round lifeguards are needed at the YMCA, and the Y offers a training program that will cover your fee if you commit to work there. Learn more about this program!

springfieldymca.org/Youth-Development

It’s one of our favorite times of year here at Springfieldmoms.org. There are so many amazing opportunities in Springfield to help you celebrate the season. My family loves celebrating in many ways and our Holidaze Guide makes it easy.

holiday-traditionsI love getting ideas on how to decorate and change my decorations up every year.  Sometimes the best way to do this is to visit some of the local craft fairs.  We typically visit Little Flower’s craft fair. We enjoy some of their yummy treats and seeing their decorations. For a list of local craft and holiday fairs, click here! 

elf on the shelfEvery December 1st our elf “Winka” comes to visit.  The Elf of the Shelf is a fun holiday tradition that many local readers participate in as well. Check back soon for a creative list of fun activities to have your elf do, and check out our Elf on the Shelf idea board on Pinterest here. Or share with us some fun and mischief that your own elves have gotten into. I know that I always like hearing what other elves are up to so that I can make sure I don’t run out of my own ideas!

icing cookiesStarting the week before Thanksgiving all the way up to Christmas, I love baking with my kiddos. When I was growing up, my mom and I decorated holiday cookies every year and then we would let them sit, put varnish on them and decorate the christmas tree with them. From Oreo cheesecake balls, peanut clusters, chocolate covered pretzels, having fun snacks to share or to take to cookie exchanges, baking has become a fun family tradition. Check out some fun recipes here and a list of local cookie walks here!

We also like to make sure we take the time to create some fun hand-made gifts for grandmas and grandpas. Our HoliDaze Guide and our Crafts for the Holidaze Pinterest page can always provide some fun inspiration.

If you are like me and get to volunteer for the classroom party, you will want to use our guide to help you come up with Class party ideas!  Or perhaps, you want some ideas on what to do with your kiddos once they are out of school for break. Our page has you covered too!

nutcracker 2014

We love going to the Henson Robinson Zoo for Zoolights. We visit Santa at Zoolights as well as at a few other locations. For a list of places to visit the Big Guy in Red check out our Visits with Santa guideHoliday Lights at the Zoo

Of all of the information in the guide my favorite is the Holiday Happenings piece. This guide tells you everything that is going on in the area to help you celebrate the holidays. From caroling at the Carillion to our personal favorite, taking in a showing of The Nutcracker Ballet, this guide is your one stop shop for all that is going on.

Let us know how you celebrate the holidays around the area and what aspects of the guide you find most useful!  Happy Holiday season from all of us here at Springfieldmoms.org

 

 

 

 

 

Your children have so much to learn from their elders. Elders have so much to pass on. But often it’s awkward for either side to start a conversation about aging, wisdom and hard-won life lessons.teen and grandma online

The Legacy Project, a group devoted to cross-generational social innovation, offers the perfect catalyst – a Listen to a Life Essay Contest that runs until March 24, 2017. The contest is open to youth aged 8 to 18 years. Entrants interview an older person (50 years or older). The subject may not be their parent, but can be a grandparent, and older friend, a neighbor, a fellow parishioner etc. Then the student writes a 300-word essay (maximum) based on the interview. According to the Legacy Project, “the judges are looking for an evocative, creative story that captures the essence of a person’s life, or a critical moment or experience.”

Winners will receive gift cards and timepieces.

You can submit entries online or by fax or mail.  Only receipt of online entries can be acknowledged.

Full details on this contest are available at: http://www.tcpnow.com/contests/ltal.html.

brianna-mae-vlachThe CMN Radiothon is a special time when you get to know numerous Central Illinois families that have benefitted from the  wonderful care at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Meet Brianna Mae Vlach

Brianna May Vlach was born in September 2001 at HSHS St. John’s Hospital six weeks before her due date. She was immediately admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. John’s. Extensive testing revealed Brianna was a very sick little girl.

When she left the NICU two months later to go home, she required oxygen and was fed through a tube in her stomach. It wasn’t until Brianna was six months old that she was diagnosed with a rare syndrome called Marshall Smith. Her life expectancy was 18 months.

“When we learned Brianna had very serious medical problems we were overwhelmed,” her mother, Judy, said. “There were no signs during my pregnancy that there were any problems. It was all a surprise.” Brianna has surpassed expectations.

“She is more alert and knowledgeable than expected,” Judy said. “Despite everything Brianna has gone through, she is a very happy child. She is always in a great mood and often makes those around her smile.”

Judy and Don Vlach are very thankful for the care Brianna has received at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. “Everyone works together to provide the best care for Brianna, who recently turned 15. Their knowledge and compassion are one of the things we love the most,” Judy said.

radiothon_spfld-moms_300x100To donate to the Radiothon and help a child in need.  Donate online here!

 

img_5072Lincoln Land Community College offers culinary courses for Parents and kids ages 8-18.  These classes focus on a particular theme and let the kids and parents, both learn some new cooking skills.  For my daughter’s 8th birthday we wanted to give a more experiential gift and this was right up he alley.  We took the sushi course which allowed us to learn how to make California Rolls as well as come fun dessert rolls.  Chef Nina took the time to really make sure we understood each step.  At the end of the class we were able to take plenty of our food home to share.  It was really a fun way to spend the morning.  For information and registration click here!  Spring Classes are $39.  Classes do fill up so register quickly!img_5079

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause.” — Abraham Lincoln.Military_family

Veterans Day is not just a day off from school and work. It’s a great day to remember and honor America’s veterans, men and women, for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.There are several local celebrations this year suitable for sharing with your families.

November 11 events:

  • Free admission for veterans and active duty at ALPLM.
  • Veterans Day Flag Raising at UIS at 9 a.m. in front of the Public Affairs Center.
  • Veterans Day Tribute at Camp Butler National Cemetery at 9 a.m. Former Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Tony Libri will speak. This will be done in time to drive to Springfield for the parade.
  • Veterans Day Parade in downtown Springfield at 10:20 a.m., beginning at the corner of 10th Street & Capitol Avenue. The parade continues west on Capitol Avenue to the state Capitol, where a ceremony will be held in the rotunda.
  • Veterans Day Services in Chatham – 11 am at Veterans Memorial Square, followed by free hot dogs and chili at Chatham VFW Post 4753.
  • 21st Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Lincoln Land Community College’s A. Lincoln Commons – reception at 1 p.m. followed by the ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Want to learn more?

Read the VA’s history of Veteran’s Day here.

See videos, pictures, speeches, and more information on Veterans Day on the History.com’s website here.American Flag

From the National Education Association, here are children’s books (K-5) that feature Veterans Day.

  • Ansary, Mir Tamim. Veterans Day, 2nd Edition (Holiday Histories). Heinemann, 2001. Also in Spanish.
  • Ashabranner , Brent. Always to Remember: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Scholastic, 1992.
  • Ashabranner, Brent. Remembering Korea: Korean War. 21st Century, 2001.
  • Ashabranner, Brent. Their Names To Live By. 21st Century, 1998.
  • Brill, Marlene Targ. Veterans Day (On My Own, Holidays). First Avenue Editions, 2005. (also in Spanish)
  • Bunting, Eve. The Wall. Clarion Books, 1992.
  • Cotton, Jacqueline S. Veterans Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays). Children’s Press, 2002.
  • De Capua, Sarah. The Vietnam Memorial (Cornerstones of Freedom). Children’s Press, 2003.
  • Ferry, Joseph. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (American Symbols & Their Meanings). Mason Crest Publishers, 2002.
  • Henry, Heather French. Pepper’s Purple Heart: A Veterans Day Story. Cubbie Blue Publishing, 2003.
  • Landau, Elaine. Veterans Day: Remembering Our War Heroes (Finding Out About Holidays). Enslow Elementary, 2002.
  • Nelson, Robin. Veterans Day (First Step Nonfiction). Lerner Publications, 2005.
  • Peter, James S. The Saga of Black Navy Veterans of World War II. International Scholars Press, 1996.
  • Rosinsky, Natalie. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (We the People). Compass Point Books, 2006.
  • Sevastiades, Patra McSharry. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Library of American Landmarks). PowerKids Press, 1994.
  • Schuch, Mari C. Veterans Day (Pebble Books). Capstone Press, 2003.
  • Worsley, Arlene. Veterans Day (American Holidays). Weigl Publishers, 2006.

holidazeguide-gheader-fam rotatorThe holiday season is jam-packed with fun family activities to enjoy all month long.  Make SpringfieldMoms your go-to for Santa visits, arts and crafts fairs, holiday happenings and more!

Keep checking back for more events!  We are updating all the time.

It’s been fun getting to know the non-credit community education offerings at Lincoln Land Community College. From landscaping, graphic design and home organizational tips to the enormous suite of cooking and baking classes, there is something for everyone to learn!  Cooking classes are a great way to learn new skills in just a few hours.  I just completed the Soups & Stews course and can now prepare bisque, jambalaya and several new soups for my family.  It’s a small time commitment and the best part you get to taste test everything you make (and take home leftovers!).  Curious what a culinary classroom looks like….?

Join us in the professional kitchens at the Culinary Institute at LLCC.

 

Access their full list of classes here.  Register online anytime or call 217-786-2292 to register today!

Arizona_Tile_Kitchen_RemodelThe thought of remodeling your kitchen can be overwhelming to many of us. There are so many decisions to make, so much money to spend and lots of options to prioritize.   What do I want the flooring to be, do I want stained or painted cabinets, what wall paint color do I like best, should I get granite or quartz countertops? And the list goes on and on and on. . . . .

Here are a few suggestions from the design team at Arizona Tile to make the process a little easier!

  1. Do your Research & Make a Plan: Attend a FREE Kitchen Forum presented by The Arizona Tile Company, Distinctive Designs and Dick van Dyke Appliances. The forums are 4 hours long, free to attend and cover a large variety topics to inspire and educate you! Upcoming forums are: November 12, January 28, March 18 and April 29.  Call The Arizona Tile Company at 793-6922 to register for this free kitchen remodeling forum. Event post here.
  1. ARizona_Kitchen_Tile_FlooringKeep an Inspiration Folder: Start collecting photos of kitchens, cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting, backsplashes and flooring you like. Check out websites like Houzz and Pinterest. After doing this for awhile, a common theme usually emerges, and you’ll know exactly what it is you like! Bring these favorite photos with you when you start your selection process.
  1. Develop a Budget: Make sure to include all of the expenses and deciding what your “max“ is. And remember that sometimes a kitchen remodel project expands to include other areas such as the laundry room, garage entry or eat-in kitchen so be sure to includes those costs as well.
  1. Allocate resources to meet your timeline: Select a general contractor if necessary. Be sure to get references, conduct interviews, discuss time frames and decide who you think you’d best like to work with on your project.
  1. Get rolling! Start making final selections drawing on the expertise of various professionals, from certified kitchen designers to floor experts, lighting specialists and countertop gurus. This is the fun part so enjoy!

AZTile_330_bannerRemodeling your kitchen can be one of the best investments you make in your home so take your time and do it right!