And it’s Friday!

I know not everyone is off on the weekends so their “Friday” may be a Monday or some other day during the week, but even if you work on the weekends you have to admit that there is something magical about Friday! So no matter if you work this weekend, or if you don’t even have a job, you work from home or if this really is your last day of work until Monday… ENJOY & let your hair down. I know I will=)

5 tips to help you save money for Christmas 2013

So it’s no point of acting like it’s not right around the corner…yep. Christmas! Santa is busy making his toys and you should be busy stacking your coins so you won’t be super stressed this Holiday Season. Even though we all know Jesus is the reason for the season, I have come up with 5 tips to help you prepare yourself as well as your wallet for Christmas 2013:

1. Pack your lunch – That’s right. No more Mickey D’s or Wendy’s or Olive Garden for lunch!(Well at least not every day). You can save a ton of money by bringing your lunch to work. If you spend $5 a day for lunch that’s $25 a week and that’s only if you spend $5 (which I doubt). If you do the math that’s $50 every two weeks. That $50 could go on that Grand Theft Auto 5 video game your son has been talking your ear off about.

2. Layaway – I have heard so many bad things about layaway, but the truth is it’s great. Get all the hot items safely put up with only a small percentage down and a schedule date for payments, to keep you on track. Perfect! This is the best way to go for those really on a tight budget and or for those that has a kid that wants all the latest and greatest toys that clear the shelves quick.

3. Black Friday – I love Black Friday! Most of the people who don’t like Black Friday has had a bad experience or didn’t plan right. That’s ok. We have all done that before. The key is to research, plan and execute. Look at what store is offering what and is it worth you being up at 5am? Plan what time you are going and go! Sadly, being late by 10 minutes can cost you so make sure you are going by yourself or with dedicated shoppers.

4. List – Hi Santa. What do you have for me? Even Santa’s got a list. People spend way too much money when they go in to the stores without a plan and no list! You buy things that grab your attention because it looks like a steal or it’s just too cute! Well that’s going to hurt you. You need a list. Who, What, What store, and price. You have to know what you are there for because if not you will walk the aisle aimlessly picking up items that will may throw your budget completely off.

5. Envelopes – After you have your list completed, put how much you are spending on each person. Then grab a few small envelopes and write the person initials with the amount you are spending (write this very small). As you get paid add to the different envelopes. Once you are saved up and ready to go shopping grab your envelopes and keep to the budget! Once you spend all the money in that envelope on that person you need to reevaluate what else you are trying to buy them and look at what you already have bought. Do they really need it? No. Then their list is complete! Time to start wrapping. But if it is on the top of their list, take the least desirable gift back and use that money to get that must have gift. The key here is to stay on BUDGET.

If we start applying these rules now I believe we will have more sanity this Holiday season!

Let us remember Christmas is about love, family and Jesus. If we can keep that in mind before the madness starts and during we might make it to 2014. LOL

Winner of the $25 Anna’s Linens Gift card is…

Let me first say thank you for all the entries and shares! You are all winners in my book, but unfortunately there can only be 1 winner of the $25 Anna’s Linens Gift Card. Thanks to for picking the winner and special thank you to Anna’s Linens for the actual gift card!

The winner is Deborah Henry! Congrats! Please email me with your mailing address ASAP.

If you didn’t win this time don’t worry. Next week we will have 2 giveaways going on so stay tuned!

Go to Boo at the Zoo and win a trip to Jamaica?

Sunday afternoon the Pyles’ had a spooky, but fun time at Brookfield Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo! What is Boo at the Zoo you may ask? When asked how to describe Boo at the Zoo two members of the Chicago Zoological Society, Nadine Mcintyre and Ken Grzeslo both had to agree that it’s a safe place for kids to wear their costume one more day, while winning prizes and getting treats and learning about science.

Brookfield Zoo has thrown this festival for kids of all ages since the 70’s and it’s getting bigger and bigger. Just this past Saturday they counted over 12,000 people that came out to enjoy the fun Fall activities including a Halloween costume parade, a corn maze, arts and crafts, and giveaways. Now the giveaways weren’t only for the kids. For the third year in a row, Brookfield Zoo teamed up with the Jamaica Tourist Board and raffled off an ALL inclusive trip for two to Jamaica with airfare! That’s right airfare! So many parents stopped by the booth to sign up for their chance to win this amazing raffle (including myself).

I had a chance to speak with Glen Bucknor, Jamaica Tourist Board Senior District Manager, Midwest USA and he explained to me that parents should really consider taking a family trip to Jamaica because of the guaranteed weather there while poor Chicagoans suffer through our cold brutal winter months, also because it’s more affordable than people think. He also mentioned several all inclusive hotels and resorts that focus on families and kids which I thought was pretty cool. I was completely sold. I want to visit Jamaica soon, Very soon! Read up a little more about planning a trip tp Jamaica here.

Now if you missed last weekend don’t start boo hooing (tricky word play LOL) Boo at the Zoo has one more weekend for the 2013 Fall season. Next weekend Saturday October 26th and Sunday October 27th from 11am to 4pm. Read more here.

Overall The kids enjoyed the corn maze and the steel drums playing in the background. I loved going to the different booths of the companies that helped sponsored Boo at the Zoo. Oh and I loved seeing all the different costumes. From simple to very detailed. Now, how can I forget the animals?! Dereon wanted to see the wolves and my baby sister wanted to see the kangaroos. So many choices! Afterwards My husband and I talked and laughed while the kids played at the playground inside the Zoo while my teen sister stared at her social media apps. LOL. It was a great Sunday and the weather was excellent. A Family day success=)

Bloggers VIP event at Anna’s Linens + GIVEAWAY!

Last month I had the honor to attend Anna’s linens Bloggers VIP event at their Chatham Village store on 87th Street. It was a delight to see the behind the scenes of a home decorating store and pick up a few tips to prepare for the Fall season.

They had tasty snacks, a raffle, how to class, and a cute gift bag for all the attendees. We went through different departments of the store and got to view all their new products as well as the best selling items.

The store manager was amazing she knew her stuff and was very excited to have bloggers checking the place out. Later in the evening we were escorted upstairs to their inventory location and meeting area and was given a organizing class by a personal stylist. They showed us cute and frugal ways to organize jewelry, clothes, and bulky items.

We were given a 20% off coupon to use for our shopping that night. I grabbed Dereon some new sheets and a cool Batman comforter.

I’m now a huge Anna’s linen fan not only do they have the latest styles for less they also have great customer service.

Here is the comforter set I fell in love with while shopping:

I want you to give you a chance to experience Annna’s Linens as well so here is your chance to win a $25 gift card!!

Three simple rules:

!. Like A Real Urban Mom on Facebook (I will check so make sure you like the page LOL)

2. Share this giveaway via any Social Media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc)

3. Comment below on what you would buy if you won the gift card and include the link to where you shared the giveaway.

Contest ends Monday Oct. 21st 2013 at 11:59 PM Cent. time. Enter today!!

Kidz Bop in Chicago!

Dereon is a huge fan of Kidz Bop and I am too. LOL. I love the whole thought behind it. Its age appropriate and just super cute. The kiddo plays it in his room and feels like a big kid while I can be safe with knowing he won’t hear anything that’s too much for him to handle as a 6 year old.

It’s one thing to listen to the music, but another thing to see it in person that is what I am ecstatic about Kidz Bop Kids coming here to Chicago to perform at the House of Blues Chicago on Saturday, October 26, 2013!

The KIDZ BOP Kids are the face and voice of KIDZ BOP – the #1 kids’ music brand in the U.S. For three consecutive years, the KIDZ BOP Kids have been named Billboard Magazine’s “#1 Kids’ Artists.”

Friday, 10/25 7:00pm Tip Off The KIDZ BOP Kids will sing the National Anthem at the Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets game at the Untied Center!

Saturday, 10/26 12pm doors open Concert starts at 1 pm House of Blues Chicago!

There is currently a Groupon deal going on now for only $13 for a ticket to see the Kidz Bop Kids live!

Take the kids and enjoy the music just as much them=)

#BMOA Community Night at UniverSoul Circus Chicago

The UniverSoul Circus is a BIG thing in my family. We try to take the kids every year. The music is upbeat and recent, the entertainment is unbelievable, and it’s just down right FUN! Crazy thing is the adults are normally more excited than the kids to attend because we know we won’t be bored while at the show.

When the BMOA (Black McDonald’s Operators Association of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana) invited us to attend their “Community Night” at the circus at Washington Park and we happily accepted. As you may or may not know, the BMOA is organization that is highly invested in the Chicagoland African American community by supporting educational and family-friendly experiences inside and out of the restaurants. One of the programs they support annually is the UniverSoul Circus. This year the BMOA has sponsored a free community day at the Circus, a free CPS Field Day for elementary students and a series of mini-circus events at select McDonald’s locations.

Here are some of the pictures from that great night!

The BMOA is always out and about doing things in the community and I love supporting those that support us! We had a great time and I want to encourage you to check out the UniverSoul Circus while it’s still here in Chicago! The circus is moving to Union Park October 10 until October 20 get your tickets ASAP and when you get a moment read up on the BMOA.

I received tickets for this event, but the thoughts and views expressed are my own.

Chicago “downtown” Popcorn without going downtown!

One great thing about living in Chicago is the tasty Garrett Downtown popcorn that I ALWAYS seem to have a taste for. I like the Chicago mix because it has the famous caramel and cheesy cheddar all mixed together. I prefer the caramel but it’s too sweet to eat by itself so a little cheese makes it perfect!

When I was contacted by G.H Cretors to try their all natural popped corn I jumped at the chance. My kiddo is a fan of popcorn like me too so I knew he would enjoy being a taste tester, but he didn’t know it would be a healthy alternative to his regular snacks (sneaky mom move I know. LOL). As Fall approaches and Halloween rolls around popcorn is a great options to eat as a snack alone, with the kiddos, or whole family.

G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix is fabulous! Just as good as the downtown popcorn without having to go downtown to snag a bag. I opened up a bag while watching Scandal last week and I had to remind myself to share with the hubby, good thing he loves the cheese flavor as well so I was able to keep him at bay with his own bag of cheese while I devoured the Chicago Mix.

Grab you a bag of G.H. Cretors Popped Corn and let me know how much you love it! Full size bags for parties are available at select natural food and mainstream grocery stores across the country, while single serve bags for trick-or-treaters can be purchased here. Like their Facebook page and enter the Halloween promotion and a scary face contest for opportunities to win popcorn.

I was given a few bags of G.H Cretors Popped Corn for a review but all thoughts are my own.

A Celebratio​n of Black World Cinema: Special Screening of Fruitvale Station at ICE Lawndale

ICE Theaters is closing out its run of Fruitvale Station with a special screening on Wednesday, October 2, 7PM as part of its monthly independent film program, A Celebration of Black World Cinema. The screening will be followed by a post-film discussion featuring 4 guest speakers, including Bishop Tavis Grant, National Field Director of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Caleb Muhammad, Student Minister of the Nation of Islam, Author and Jessica LaShawn, Juvenile Justice Engagement Specialist. Admission is only $6! Bring your family, friends, and the youth.

Where? ICE Theaters Lawndale 10 3330 W. Roosevelt Rd Chicago, IL 60624
When? Wednesday October 2nd 2013 @ 7PM
What? Private Screen and Post movie discussion of Fruitvale Station for only $6
Why? Because if you don’t see then you don’t know. Lets open our eyes and make a change.

I would love to see all my Chicagoland readers and supporters at this event =)

Email me if you have any questions.