Free family fun at a Chicago Museum?

If you are anything like me you love going out and having a good time and it’s even better if you have your family with you. What if you could take the whole family to a Chicagoland museum for free? Pretty awesome right?  Well you can. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is now offering free entry on Thursdays (9 a.m. To 5 p.m.) for Illinois residents.

This month is your last chance to get on stage to see if you have what it takes to become a meteorologist with their functioning green screen in Weather to Climate: Our Changing World, which closes Oct. 23. As the weather cools down, it’s always summer in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven where newly emerged butterflies take their first flight every Thursday at 2 p.m. Starting November 5, get eyeball-to-eyeball with 70 exotic frogs and play on a mini zip line for the opening of Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, an immersive temporary exhibit. 

This October, there’s always something special to see on Thursdays!

· Oct. 13: Enter to win a lifetime membership and take advantage of our discounted new membership offers to kick off Chicago Museum Week 2016

· Oct. 20: WeDigBio- Birds (2-5 p.m.) and Plants (6-8 p.m.) Join us for this worldwide event where we help digitize our natural history collections

· Oct. 27: Visit 131 newborn endangered Blanding’s turtles that are living at the Nature Museum temporarily to grow in a predator-free zone

There is no excuse on why you can’t swing a family fun day at the Nature museum. 

#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.

Money Saving Back to school lunch & snack idea: DIY Uncrustables

I am not a DIY person at all. Not crafty remotely, but I always have cool ideas and love when someone else can figure out how to do it. LOL. This recipe or creation you may call it came from a friend of mine Miss Gekeetah. She knows how to make almost anything to help save money or just to learn something new and I admire her for that. Since she knew that Dereon went back to school she wanted to share with me her tricks on making lunches and snacks for cheap! So who would turn down that offer? NOT ME! So Sunday night she came over and while the VMAs played in the living room we prepared our own version of Uncrustables!

Let me first say it was a lot of fun and Dereon got a thrill out of helping making them as well. Gekeetah told us what to do and how to do it while taking pictures so this was all created by the kiddo and I (we are pretty proud can’t you tell?)

Now normally a pack of Smuckers Uncrustables cost around $4 a box which only includes 4. You can get Strawberry and Peanut butter or Grape and Peanut butter. Dereon loves these, but $4 is kind of pricey for only 4 sandwiches. When Gekeetah told me we could make 12 sandwiches for the same price or less I was all game.

Here is what you need to make around 12 Uncrustables:
Peanut Butter
Jelly or Jam (Whatever flavor you like you can even mix them up)
1 loaf of bread (white, wheat, whole grain, etc)
A Sandwich sealer (easily found a Dollar Tree or Walmart, no need to get a pricey one the $1 version is perfect)
That’s ALL you need and most of these items you already have!!!

Here is how you make your Uncrustables:
1. Lay out how many slices of bread you will be using on wax paper or a cookie sheet. (2 slices of bread per Uncrustable)
2. Spread Peanut butter on all the slices of bread
3. Place one spoonful of jelly in the center of one slice of bread per pair. (2 pieces of bread per Uncrustable both slices have peanut butter on them only one has a spoonful of jelly on top)
4. Pair the sandwiches up, but be sure not to smash the bread.
5. Center the sandwich sealer in the middle of the bread and press down. Making sure the whole sandwich is sealed and the crusts are off. You may have to keep the sealer on while cleaning the left over crust off.
6. Flash freeze your Uncrustables in the freezer for 2 hours (Place them on a plate or cookie sheet with nothing over them).
7. Take them out of the freezer and you can place all 12 in one huge Ziploc freezer bag or wrap them individually in sandwich bags.
8. Return them back to the freezer and you are done! They take about an hour and a half to thaw out so in the morning grab a Uncrustable and throw it in their lunch bag and they will be all set to go. If you want to use this as a after school snack then grab an Uncrustable in the morning and place it in the fridge and once the kiddo is home from school they can feast on their crust free PB&J!

My Summary
Prep time was less than 3 minutes and the actual making of the Uncrustables was about 20 minutes for 12 sandwiches. The flash freezing was 2 hours and while I had them flash freezing I was ironing school uniforms and tucking the kiddo in bed. After that was done I was ready to take them out the freezer to bag them individually and that took about 5 minutes and then I placed them back in the freezer and was done with his school snack for 2 whole weeks. I also added about 10 fruit juice boxes in the refrigerator for the week since he swear he is about to die from thirst every day after school. I am super excited that I was able to do his myself, save money, and be more prepared for the week so I would encourage all moms to try this out!

FYI: This is a great snack for adults too! Especially if you snack a lot at work this is a healthy snack alternative!

Also you can save the crust and make homemade bread crumbs! Another way to save a few dollars!

Do you do weekly meal prep or snack bagging for the week? Or are you just a DIY pro? I would love to know more about it.