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. 

Preparing for Christmas in the Fall! 

I know Fall just got here, but I’m mentally already in the Winter season preparing for Christmas. Since Dereon is 9 and pretty mature his Christmas list has slowly started to change and he started asking for less items, but now the few things he does list is pretty expensive And since Baby Chance is only 1 we will get him a few little things for him to open up on Christmas morning, but nothing too major. So to be proactive this year I told him to write his Christmas list a little earlier than the traditional November time frame. He came up with 10 things and half of them were very inexpensive so I smiled with glee, but then as the list continued I saw more tech savvy items like a Drone which isn’t cheap. I sighed. A drone? Really? The wheels in my head started to turn and I realized that I could get the Drone and the few other items he requested if I started knocking them out now. No reason in waiting until December to shop when you already know what you are getting.

I made a few calls and found out that Walmart’s Christmas layaway is in full force and that I can start shopping now and making payments to pay my total off. How awesome is that? But wait it gets better! Kmart has a layaway too and it’s active throughout the year. 

Not only is Layaway a good way to prepare early for Christmas, but here are a few other tips to get you ready for the season to be jolly.

1. Make a list of everyone you are buying a gift for and come up with a budget.

2. Stick to your budget! 

3. Look online for the items on your list. I’ve seen huge price differences from online prices and instore prices. 

4. If you shop at a certain store for your Christmas shopping then start buying gift cards for that store now. $5 here…$10 there…adds up. If you do this a few times in October alone you could have a $100 gift card balance by November to help tackle Santa’s long list.

5. Be realistic! If it’s something on your list that you can’t afford, don’t fret. For example your hubby wants a 50″ 3D TV and it’s not in your budget try to see if you can get him a pair of those virtual reality glasses & game bundle packs. Or give him some cash or a gift card on that big ticket item in a cool card. Don’t stress or go into debt for a Christmas gift because then you are missing the real reason for the season!
Happy Shopping guys! I’ll be back with more money saving tips, holiday gift guides, and giveaways for this Christmas season.

Rolling Video Games of Chicagoland!

Summer is here and in my household that means Birthday Mania! Dereon’s Birthday, Baby Chance’s Birthday, my Mom’s Birthday, my little sister Eboni’s birthday, plus a few uncles, cousins, and girl friends birthdays as well. Whew! So I can’t play around with waiting around to plan Dereon’s birthday party because our month of June is so busy! 

This year Dereon was torn on what he wanted to do for his birthday, which isn’t like him. Normally it’s pretty clear what he wants to do, but this year he was stuck between a Game Bus or Great America. I kind of didn’t like the Great America idea because the weather can be messy in the beginning of June with lots of rain and that would limit his ride time at the theme park. So I started looking at Video Game buses to check prices, availability, and options. I ran across some unprofessional companies in this process and some places didn’t even answer or return my call! I finally spoke with Rolling Video Games of Chicagoland and they made things easy as pie. My date was available and booking the party didn’t even take 5 minutes. I showed Dereon the website before I confirmed everything and he was sold! He hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.


Rolling Video Games of Chicagoland comes to you and offers you all the coolest games and gaming systems in an climate controlled decked out bus! Being able to service up to 24 people at one time is pretty impressive and they have more than five 55″ TVs. You can even play a few dancing games on the outside when the weather is nice!


The going rate for these buses can get pretty expensive, but Rolling Video Games of Chicagoland is the best priced to me. You have your own “Game coach” that comes and help keeps the party going and gives the kids (or adults) game instructions, etc. 


Customizing your event is easy, you can do as little as 2 hours or add more for those serious gamers! Game selection is up to you too. Kid friendly games like “Just Dance” is available but if the crowd is into more of the “action” games then “Halo” and “Call of Duty” is right at your finger tips. 

Up to four people can play per TV so you don’t have to worry about telling the kiddos to share. This is partying in VIP the right way with less stress. I definitely recommend Rolling Video Games of Chicagoland and I can’t wait for Dereon to play all his favorite games with his favorite friends! Check out their website or give them a call at (708)-733-5300 an let them know Keyonda sent you! 

P.S.

I’ll be posting pictures and live footage from Dereon’s Birthday Party today on my Facebook, SnapChat (arealurbanmom), Instagram, and Twitter!

Halloween Fun while giving back!

I’m all about kids giving back and being a part of building community. Halloween is coming up and there are so many events kids can attend this month. What better way to have a good wholesome time with the family, than giving back?

17-year old Destiny Watson, a Chicago-area student, recognized the need of the 5.4 million Americans who rely on food banks every week, and decided to take action.

On October 17, Destiny is bringing her community together to fight hunger in the Chicago area with a Halloween event at Apollo Park.  The “We Scare Hunger Trail” event will feature family friendly activities and a scary trail walk.  Destiny and her youth group, are asking local families to bring three or more non-perishable food items as the price of admission, with all proceeds going to Respond Now in Chicago Heights.

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Please share this event with others and take your little ones as well. Seems like it will be a blast!

Marvel Universe Live Chicago! Limited time Promo code!

So marvel is coming to Chicago and it’s a big deal like a real big deal! I know my son is over the moon to see his fave super hero LIVE and in ACTION. Thanks to The Chicagoland Mom Squad I can share a special promo code with you that can save you LOTS of money on your tickets. But it’s only for the next 72 hours!! So hurry and grab your tickets and share this post with your friends and family so they can score this great deal too!

Use code MSQUAD for the next 72 HOURS when visiting www.ticketmaster.com and buy $12.00 tickets to Marvel Universe LIVE! playing United Center September 10 – 13

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Grab your tickets because this deal won’t last long!! Thanks again to The Chicagoland Mom Squad! Like them on Facebook to stay up to date on all the future events they have the hook up on.

Deals for your gamer at GameStop!

If you have a gamer kid (or husband) then of course GameStop is on your Christmas shopping list. GameStop has a great sale going on this weekend!

Dereon wants games for his Xbox and Wii U, while the husband wants games similar to Halo and Nba2k15. I won’t be going crazy this Christmas running to a million stores to get video games for various consoles at decent prices. I’ve decided to head to GameStop and gather everything at one place for a great price. I like the fact that GameStop has different payment options like Layaway until Dec 14th, trade in credits from your old games and consoles, and their new PowerUp credit program. Lets not forget you can save tons by buying pre-owned items.

Here you can find all of the deals and even shop online.

Look at some of the offers:

        (Friday and Saturday only) Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Bundle:$329.99 (save $70) – includes digital copies of Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag

·         PlayStation 4 Limited Edition Bundle: $399 (save $100) – includes Grand Theft Auto V and a digital copy of The Last of Us Remastered

·         Super Mario 3D World Bundle for WiiU: $299.99 – includes the 32GB WiiU Deluxe Set, Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land video games

·         Save $30 off popular PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles, such as The Evil Within, Sleeping Dogs andMiddle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

·         Free HTC Desire 510 4G LTE Smartphone with purchase of Cricket Wireless no contract service(after $75 mail-in rebate)

·         $50 off ASUS 16GB Memo Pad HD 7 ($99.99) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 ($149.99)

These deals won’t last long so check it out online or in store! Let me know how it goes.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post however all my reviews, thoughts, and posts are honest and my own opinion.

HGTV reveals SANTA HQ!

It’s that time again. Yes, Christmas time! I know it feels like you just went “trick or treating” with the kiddos, but it’s time to put the scary masks away and get ready to head to Santa’s Headquarters! Thanks to HGTV, 10 Macerich malls across the country will host Santa’s HQ for kids of all ages. Forget the traditional visit with Santa at the mall and step into a hands on 21st century winter wonderland with an authentic holiday experience.

When you enter the magical structure, families can enjoy the wonder of Santa’s Workshop and Observatory by using innovative technology to customize their individual experience. Another cool thing is you can download the “ELF-RAY” Vision app or use a provided tablet to explore in the enchanting world of Santa HQ to see the night sky, the secret inner-workings of clocks and gears and to meet a playful pair of elves! Can you imagine your kids eyes when they see this? And what about the smile on their face when they realize they can touch it too? Priceless!

Can you please tell me where can kids take a Selfie with a ELFIE? Or even star in their own holiday video? Where can one go to test out the ‘Naughty o’ Nice Meter? Only one place I know and it’s Santa’s HQ, because when you are there anything is possible.

After the exploring you and the kiddo(s) can continue the adventure with a custom photo, followed by the ultimate moment with Santa inside his modernized sleigh! I think my favorite aspect of this is that you can totally plan a head and reserve your time in advance via the Santa HQ website. I know me personally I set a whole day centered around our trip to visit Santa. I keep in mind the long lines, the bathroom breaks, lunch, and even some Christmas shopping so to have the option of having a set time for you adventure is pretty amazing to me.

So now that you are sold on this adventure here are the important details! Santa HG will be available for a little more than six weeks Nov. 4th to Christmas eve, Dec 24th 2014. Santa HQ will be featured at 10 Macerich properties including Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Conn., opening on Nov. 4; Deptford Mall in Deptford Township, N.J., opening on Nov. 5; Vintage Faire in Modesto, Calif., opening on Nov. 5; Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, Calif., opening Nov. 7; FlatIron Crossing in Broomfield, Colo., opening Nov. 7; Washington Square in Portland, Ore., opening Nov. 7; Lakewood Center in Lakewood, Calif., opening Nov. 7; Tysons Corner Center near Washington, D.C., opening Nov. 14.; Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, Ariz., opening on Nov. 7; and Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Ariz., opening Nov. 14.

Don’t miss the chance for your kid to have an amazing visit with Santa with the help of cutting-edge technology. For more information on Santa HQ please visit their website.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!! As you spend time with your family and friends don’t forget that Jesus died so that we could live.

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Let’s stop cheating ourselves. Let’s look outside of the box because the possibilities are endless. He took that beating for us to live our lives abundantly. He wants us to do great things and to touch others lives.

Our kids should know the real meaning of Easter and not just the easter bunny, baskets full of candy, and nice clothes for church. Explain that Jesus died for our sins and that he rose with all power in his hands.

I pray this Sunday is a start of an awesome season in your life and those in your family:) HAPPY EASTER! Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Blessings,
K

Some cool and fun things to do with the kids this Spring Break!

Yes! it’s Dereon’s Spring Break, he is excited and so am I. A whole week break from uniforms, early wake ups, and strict bed times. Last year for Spring Break we took a family road trip to Alabama to see our down south family. We stopped and visited all the states we drove through and had a great time. This year unfortunately our Spring break days are all different. My baby sister DeeDee took her Spring Break two weeks ago and my teenager sister is on Spring Break with Dereon. Plus my parents requested a whole different week off for their vacation time, so this year we are playing it local. Chicago is a big enough City to get lost in. Although I was born and raised here there are so many places I haven’t been and so I try to explore them with Dereon and the hubz. It makes great family memories, which is one of my goals. Even if every year we don’t go to some distant place I want Dereon to enjoy learning and being with his family.

Anyways enough of my rambling here are some cool ideas that I have for the kiddo this Spring Break. I split them into categories because I want to do two activities in each category during the week and then have a rest and recover day!

1. Active: We have to stay active. Although we will sleep in some days (YAY!) I want us to still get up and out. Skating, Bowling, and Miniature golf are classics and family friendly. If you are in Chicago like me here are some locations you can visit:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Skating Rink & Bowling Alley

Waveland Bowl

Putting Edge Mini Golf

2. Exploring/Learning: Just because the kiddos are out of school, doesn’t mean they should stop learning. So of course museums are on the list of things to explore. Here are some great Chicago museums to check out:

The Children’s Museum

The Field Museum

MSI Chicago (Museum of Science and Industry)

3. Foodie: While we are out and about we normally stop to get something to eat. Sometimes the restaurant can be the experience. You can zone out different areas and try their cuisine. For example in Chicago we have a neighborhood called “Chinatown” it is full of restaurants, shops, and even museums all based on the Chinese. You can stay a whole day there and explore, eat, and be active. Here are some Chicago places that are fun to visit:

Rainforest Café

Chicago Chinatown

Ed Debevic’s

4. Artsy: I love going out and hitting up the CTA for a day of fun with the kiddo, but there is nothing like a day full of arts and crafts. You don’t always have to spend money to have a good time. You can explore science at home by making a volcano together. You can be chefs for the day and make cookies from scratch. You can even be active by doing some Spring cleaning or going for an “I Spy” walk in your neighborhood. There is always something to do! Never fall into that “I am Bored” trap find something to do. Here are some crafty things to do at home with the kiddos:

How to make volcano

How to make Chocolate Chip cookie

Fun ways to get active with the kids

Most importantly have fun spending time together=)

The Tooth Fairy stopped by this weekend

Yup, you read that right. The Tooth Fairy visited our home this weekend. Dereon lost two teeth Saturday. His two bottom teeth have been loose for a few months now, but within the last week he’s been complaining of a toothaches.

Saturday afternoon Dereon started wriggling the teeth and I told him it would soon be time that he would be “snag a tooth”. Lol. To help speed up the process I told him to snack on a apple. And that REALLY helped. But the teeth were still there just… hanging. My mom was going to pull them out with tweezers (I know that sounds weird,  but I trust my mom. Heehee.) However when Dereon noticed those silver things he freaked out. Super dad came to the rescue and pulled them out with a quick twist. Within 60 seconds Dereon was missing two teeth:)

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I kissed the hubby because with his help Dereon was so relived. He said he felt free! Of course I giggled, what 6 year old you know says they feel “free”?  Anywho we placed the two teeth in a ziploc bag and placed it under Dereon’s pillow. Before he headed to bed later that night he asked a million questions, “would the Tooth Fairy wake him up?” Or “would she forget about him?” I reassured him that everything would be fine and that he would be happy when he wakes up. Since he fell asleep on the couch a few minutes later I was able to hide the cash under his pillow and move the teeth. He scored $1 per tooth. The next morning he was ecstatic and my job as fairy was done…for now.

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