Sunday Fun Day! #RoadToRaces 

I told you guys about the Cars 3 event that was happening in certain cities. Well Sunday I drove out to Schaumburg to Woodfield Mall to let the boys have a little adventure. I’m glad we ventured out and joined in on the Cars 3 fun!

Shout out to the sponsors because they had cute activities to keep the kids busy while several photo opportunities. 

Dereon won some Cars Toothpaste from the Crest tent. 

We had some tasty smoothies at the Dole tent. 

We also got to watch some behind the scenes footage of the new Cars 3 movie while being in this huge truck that was turned into a movie theater that fit 90 people pretty comfortably I must say.

The clip we saw was so good it left us wanting more. It even grabbed Chance’s attention and if you aren’t Mickey Mouse then it’s pretty hard to do that. Expect to laugh, cry, and cheer!

The highlight of the event is definitely seeing Lightning McQueen and his other CoStars! When I tell you those cars are pretty, trust me! 


Fun times for sure! Make sure you check out Cars 3: Road To Riches June 16th. 

Cars 3 Hitting Chicago this Weekend!

Hey y’all! Spring has finally arrived in Chicago so now the events are rolling in. Looking for some family fun for this weekend? How about hanging out with CARS3?

Bring the kids out to Woodfield Mall, Parking Lot D: Friday, April 21st, 2017 12pm-6pm Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 10am-5pm Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 11am-5pm. Fans will take part in a host of activities and get a sneak peek of the movie! Life-size, character look-alikes of five-time Piston-Cup champion Lightning McQueen will be hanging out with the kiddos. Even though the movie won’t be out until June 17th you can enjoy Cars 3 fun now.

• Alamo Rent A CarSM is hosting a street art booth and will bring “Cars 3” to life with a giant coloring mural featuring Lightning McQueen and friends, along with a color pencil pack souvenir.

• Coppertone® is creating a racer pit crew that encourages visitors to take part in a tire-changing activity and photo-sharing opportunity.

• Crest® and Oral-B® celebrate the Road to the Races tour, providing fans with an opportunity to create a digital postcard with Lightning McQueen and get “Cars”-themed oral care products.

• Dole®, the leader in fresh, quality produce, invites visitors to fuel up and recharge their batteries, sample high-octane fruit and vegetable smoothies, collect “Cars 3”-inspired recipes and discover how Dole and Disney are working together to make healthy living fun and easy for families.

• Mattel presents an interactive play area, which sends Lightning McQueen and other racers down the gravity drop and launches them into action in new play sets that feature locations from the movie.

Plus fans will be able to catch a sneak peek of the movie in the Cinetransformer Mobile Movie Theater. Visitors will also be able to take photos with the life-size character cars. I’ll be bringing the boys, I hope to see you and your kiddos!

P.S.
The roster of cities includes Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles, among others—the full list is available at CARS3tour.com

The Good Food Festival is showing how eating clean can be tasty and fun!

The way to my heart is food. Not just any type of food, but good food! So when I was offered the opportunity to become a “Good Food Festival” ambassador I jumped on it. It’s a day celebrating Good Food! Discover new artisanal goods from over 150 exhibitors, learn from workshops and chefs demos, and explore our family-friendly programming!


As a mom I want the best possible food for my family and I crave learning new ways to make eating healthy fun and tasty. The Good Food Festival will have Live cooking demos as well as a kid area so the kids can experience new foods and have a little fun time. This is a win win for me! 

Here’s the major detail for the Festival The admission is FREE with registration


Big time Chefs Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken, whose delicious food much of it locally and sustainably sourcedc will conduct a chef demo on our Chefs at Play stage after a brief awards ceremony. Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurant group, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year; Rob Levitt, the award-winning head butcher at The Butcher & Larder at Local Foods; Paula Haney of Hoosier Mama Pie Company; and Aaron Lirette of Green River. And there will be an amazing demo by the Artisan Grain Collaborative on growing and milling artisan grain — and then baking the flour into delicious, locally sourced sourdough bread.

There will also be vendors, a food court to eat with your family, and tons of workshops to explore. The Good Food Festival will definitely be full of things to do for the whole family. I was able to sample some of the fun at the Media Preview and I left full and empowered. 

Special thank you to Johanna from MommaCuisine for putting together such a cool collection of Bloggers to be ambassadors. 

A few vendors came to show the media what was in store for the attendees on Saturday and I must say I was impressed! 


I tried the best crepes EVER! Basil Key lime pie that almost made me ask for seconds and pierogies made with braised beef that I’ve dreamed about since.

There is something about eating with family and friends that makes food even tastier. My mother who always helps me at different blogging events attended the Preview and my husband who is the Head Cook at a High End hotel was off work and attended the Preview with me as well. Since he’s a true foodie it was fun to see him try the foods and speak with the other cooks in the place.



My friend Briana came from work to hang out with me and check out some of the vendors.  She’s a working mom and an excellent cook so I’m sure she learned a few new recipes and techniques at the event. As a mom I totally appreciate her arranging a sitter to come out 


My blogger boos always come out to support and we have the best convos! 


Of course my co-ambassador Natasha is my sister from another mother she keeps me laughing and in the loop of the professional blogging world. Her blog has encouraged me in more ways than one. Plus she’s an awesome cook!


My Blogalicious roomie and blogger boo Sharice from This Single Sole who is a foodie and a health enthusiast came out as well. She’s such a supportive soul and I always enjoy hanging with her.


Fashion Blogger Guru Latoya made her fashionable entrance and hung out with us foodies. She keeps me laughing and always sees the potential in my brand and blog so it’s always amazing having her around.


My natural hair blogger boo Michelle checked out the event with her bright smile and warm personality. We just connected last year at a blogger conference, but since then we’ve definitely been working together. 

Joyce who is a Christian mom of 6 (doesn’t look like she’s had one baby) has a blog about food and fitness so the Good Food Festival Media Preview was a perfect fit for her. She came out to support me and since I hadn’t seen her since I was pregnant with Chance it felt really good to just catch up while tasting good food.


Last week’s Media Preview was a success and a really cool snippet to this weekend’s Good Food Festival. I hope to see you there

Grand Lux Cafe & Sticky Buns? A tasty combo!

I love Grand Lux Cafe! When I say love thats exactly what I mean. I’ve been going to Grand Lux for my birthday for the last 10 years, I mean it… 10 years. If not for dinner then it’s for lunch, but I have to go…it’s my tradition. I know when I go the food will be good, the service will be great, and the options will be endless for dessert!


This year was no different I celebrated my birthday at the Grand Lux with my Husband. We enjoyed our lunch. I ordered the Burbon chicken and he ordered a Ruben. We tried out the loaded Mashed Potatoes Spring Rolls. The food was plentiful and so tasty. Saying we were stuffed would be an understatement, but when it was time for dessert we both found some room for a tasty treat.




The dessert menu had so many options. Cakes, cookies, pies, and puddings. One thing particular thing caught my eye the “Sticky Bun Bread Pudding”. Sticky buns are so rich and gooey and bread pudding is so buttery I felt like that combo had to be deadly and I wanted to test it out. I’m so glad I did. My husband couldn’t keep his fork out of my plate! He tried the Warm Butter Cake which tasted like heaven too. 


I liked the Sticky Bun Bread Pudding so much I wanted the recipe. Then I found out that Sticky Bun day was coming up and I thought I would share the recipe on that day to celebrate and as a gift for my wonderful readers!

Happy Sticky Bun Day!! It’s February 21st and it’s all about the buns! Here’s the secret recipe for Grand Lux Cafe’s Famous Sticky Bun Bread Pudding. Be careful when making these because they are dangerously good.


Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding Recipe:
Ingredients
1 lb. Brioche or Challah

 

8 oz.(2 Sticks) Melted Butter

1/3 Cup, packed Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup Sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

¼ tsp. Nutmeg

¼ tsp. Salt 

2 Cups Milk

2 Cups Heavy Cream

4 ea. Eggs

4 ea. Egg Yolks

½ C. Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Directions
1. Cut the bread into 1” cubes.

2. Place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl.

3. Combine the butter, sugars and spices in a mixing bowl, whisking to combine completely.

4. Pour the mixture over the bread, tossing to fully coat the bread cubes with the mixture.

5. Spread out into a 9×13 baking dish.

6. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Be sure to stir the bread cubes once or twice while toasting.

7. While the bread is toasting, make the custard.

8. Whisk all ingredients together until evenly combined.

9. Once the bread has toasted, remove the pan from the oven.

10. Pour the custard over the bread cubes.

11. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. 

12. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place into a 300° oven.

13. Bake for 20 minutes.

14. Remove foil from pan and continue to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown and the custard has set. You can test this by inserting a paring knife into the center of the pudding. If the knife comes away clean, or with very little pudding clinging to it, the pudding is ready.

15. Allow the pudding to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

16. To serve:

Top the pudding with toasted pecans and warm caramel sauce.

Serve with either vanilla ice cream or crème anglaise.

Once you try this recipe I’m sure others will be asking for it or just begging you to make it again. Thank me later! 

The Highlights of the 2017 Chicago Auto Show

Last Friday I was invited to preview the Chicago Auto Show by SheBuysCars.com. I was super excited to see all the cool things that was in store for the car lovers in Chicago!


The Auto Show brought the heat this year! New colors, features, technology, and environmental friendly options were just a few of the things I noticed when gazing the whole expo floor.


Hyundai really stole the show when they introduced their 2018 Elantra GT. It’s the hatchback that has your back! The Elantra has lots of cargo space, safety features, Bluetooth capabilities, sunroof, and a beautiful dashboard. As a mom certain things are important to me like gas mileage, safety, and storage space. It seems like Hyundai really had me in mind when making this hatchback. 


Remote start has enhanced in this ride with heated seats, rear defrost, and side mirrors…a plus for those Chicago winters. Hyundai’s “Blue link” connects your Hyundai car to your “cloud” devices like your Amazon Echo. Safety perks include blind-spot monitors, auto emergency braking, lane keeper assistance and rear cross-traffic alerts. Smart car and it’s a beauty too! 


The Auto Show showcased so many cars. Some brands I had never heard of and some concepts were so new it was hard to wrap your head around the fact that it’s 2017 and cars are becoming smarter. I think this year’s Auto Show is a must attend. You will get your steps in walking that expo floor, but you will definitely be impressed. 

Easy Cake Mix Christmas Cookies

It’s almost Christmas and the excitement is in the air. As I write this my husband is putting our Christmas lights in the front windows, Christmas music is blaring from Pandora, and Chance is staring at the miniature Santa we have in the dining room. I can’t wait to see Dereon’s face when he comes in from school to see that Christmas is in full effect in the Pyles’ home officially.

Tonight I plan on watching a good Holiday movie while eating some cookies and milk with the family. Last night I made 3 patches of some Cake Mix Christmas Cookies! If you know me then you know I’m not a baker, but my Blogger Boo Natasha from Houseful Of Nicholes had a wonderful idea to do a Cookie Blog hop titled #HousefulOfCookies it’s like 25 days of cookie recipes! This is my second year being a part of the fun. You can check out the cookies I made last year here.


This year I wanted something that wouldn’t break the break and wouldn’t give me a headache either. These cookies are easy, cheap, kid friendly and tasty! I’m all for easy and cheap. Lol. Being a mom of 2 makes you look at your budget a little differently. Who doesn’t want to do a Christmas themed project with the kids for only a few bucks while creating priceless memories. This was the perfect thing to do!


Dereon helped add the ingredients and lick the spoon afterwards to confirm the cookie dough was actually tasty. Dennis helped whip up the batter with the mixer and Chance was sleep thank heavens! Lol. Overall it was fun and once the Cookies came out we decided to make these a staple in our home. 

Make a batch and let me know your thoughts. Also the Cookie Blog Hop has just started so check out the hashtag #HousefulOfCookies to see what other bloggers are baking! 


Cake Mix Christmas Cookies

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Makes 3 batches 

Ingredients:

1 box of Vanilla Cake Mix

1 stick of Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature

3 Eggs

2 tsp of Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp of Confetti Sprinkles

The Instructions 

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a mixing bowl add the cake mix, butter, eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well with a hand mixer. Add your Christmas colored sprinkles and gently fold those in.

3) Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto your cookie sheet which you should spray with a nonstick spray.

4) Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. 

5) Let them cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy with a cup of cold milk!

What to tell your kid about the 2016 Election 


I voted. Instagramed my voting sticker. Facebooked a few inspiring posts to get my peers to participate in the election as well. I smiled so big when I picked my 9 year old son up from school and told him that I “rocked the vote!” He was upset I went without him, but I told him he can stay up just a little later that evening to watch the election numbers come in. That worked for him and we darted home to sit in front of the TV to watch Hilary Clinton take the position of the new Commander in Chief!

As the hours rolled by the coverage on CNN began to bother me. My 9 year old had to color in the color of which party won which state for his homework and I began seeing red (literally). He began asking “what’s going on mom?” All I could do was sit in silence because I was thinking the same thing. How was Donald Trump really taking the lead from a woman that has committed most of her adult life to public service and had experience in the White House. How could we have gone from 8 amazing years with President Obama to electing a racist ? How could this bully and womanizer be anybody’s choice for President?

Another hour passed by and my 9 year old son began to fall asleep. I told him to pray and go lay down and that things would be better in the morning, but now that the numbers are in and I see that Trump has won. Things won’t be better in the morning. What do I tell my son when he wakes up in the morning looking for information on who the next President will be? 

I’m clueless on what to tell my black boy living on the West Side of Chicago with a set of “working class” parents. I can’t lie and say Hilary won. I can’t lie and tell him that everything will be okay because I don’t know if that’s true…since Donald has became the President elect our stock market has already began to drop. Trump has already showed us his temper so war with another country is almost a given.

Black America is on pins and needles to see how “Making America great again” is going to work for us as a whole because it doesn’t seem like we were included in the plan. Parents are battling with the same thoughts I have. How do you explain to your child that sometimes life doesn’t seem fair and you’ve got to just roll with the punches? We as a people have to be honest and upfront with ourselves and our children. We don’t know what the future may hold, but we know who holds the future. Keep praying and trusting God and taking life one day at a time because there is no way we can change America’s vote. But we can change how we view America and our communities. The next 4 years won’t be easy but if our Ancestors made it so can we.
Be strong. 

The best place to go in Chicago for last minute Halloween costumes!

Can you believe how close Halloween is? It’s right around the corner and so many of my friends are complaining that they still don’t have their costumes yet. All I had to say was Fantasy costumes

Chicago’s largest costume megastore, will be open 24 hours/day until Halloween for last minute Halloween shopping! Fantasy Costumes offers customers a city block long store with over 1,000,000 selections including costumes, accessories, makeup and more. Fantasy Costumes carries 2016’s most popular costumes.


The family and I headed over to find some costumes with all the the cute bells and whistles and we lucked up when we stopped at Fantasy Costumes! Wall to wall full of costumes, accessories, and wigs to complete any and every look you could think of. From babies to adults Fantasy Costumes has you covered.


For my plus size girls they have you in mind and to my big and tall men you aren’t forgotten about either. Shopping for costumes can be hard, but I think the hardest part for us was picking from the millions of costumes right in front of us. If you are still searching for the perfect costume check them out! I will say since my husband birthday is on Halloween we celebrate a little more than most, but it’s always pure fun. Can’t wait to show you our costumes! 

This is No Trick – IHOP Offers Free Scary Face Pancakes This Halloween

If you follow my Snapchat then you already know I’m addicted to IHOP! It’s super kid friendly and the prices aren’t overwhelming which is important to me as a mom. Chance is eating his own “Kid’s Meals” now and Dereon is eating from the adult menu so when a place boasts about “Free” anything I’m interested.

Well good news for other moms, dads, and grandparents like me. This Halloween, IHOP Restaurants will transform into the “International Haunted House of Pancakes” with their frighteningly delicious Scary Face Pancakes! Little ones will get to enjoy this customizable treat for FREE for kids 12 and under from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday, October 31st! 

Children can let their imaginations run wild by decorating their own Scary Face Pancake at IHOP! Scary Face Pancakes come with a world-famous Buttermilk Pancake topped with whipped cream, a strawberry nose and served with a side of OREO® cookies and candy corn so your kids can let their silliness shine through with their monster creations. 

The kiddos will enjoy being creative and eating what they made while mom and dad can rest knowing this family date night won’t break the bank!

Ferrara Candy Company is sharing goodness: Boo! At the Zoo

Kids love candy and if it’s gummy or sour they love it even more! This past weekend my family and I headed out to Brookfield Zoo to explore “Boo! At the Zoo”. We were greeted by super friendly and fun candy booths full of treats for the zoo goers. The kids faces instantly lit up when they received a treat. This was going on at 5 different spots around the zoo. 


We were able to have a VIP animal encounter with a cool Zoo keeper and a pretty cool wild cat. Ferrara Candy Company invited more than 100 kids out to experience this one on one time and boy did they enjoy themselves. When it was time for questions even the adults chimed in. 


Ferrara Candy Company is definitely sharing goodness with the community by sponsoring 400 plus neighbors with complimentary admission and transportation to Boo! at the Zoo. They sent buses to gather kids from their schools to enjoy the fun at the zoo! They are also donating more than 10,000 lbs. of candy and providing more than 300 volunteers to make this Halloween super special and spooktacular for the community. I know for a fact they donated tons of candy because I grabbed a few pieces of candy myself. Lol.

It really warms my heart to see a company five back and really do it where the community can definitely benefit from it. Just seeing the kids in their costumes smiling ear to ear with their candy just made my day.