the peanuts gang

Chicago Ambassador for #SoFabUOTR & Introducing “Fab” Fridays!

This post is a part of a paid ambassador program with Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias

Happy Friday!

I’m delighted to share that I’ve been selected as the Ambassador for the upcoming SoFabU On the Road conference headed to Chicago this summer! On July 11th, bloggers and influencers will come together at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront Hotel to experience hands-on, interactive sessions to implement what you’re learning!

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The sessions are paired with a fun city-specific adventure where attendees will get to put their newly learned skills to the test! Events are open to all bloggers and influencers. Early bird pricing is available now through June 12, 2015. This one day conference will enhance your social media savvy and connect with you some of the most creative minds I’ve ever met!

As a member of the Social Fabric Community since 2012, I have learned an abundance of information, built a community of online and “in real life” friends, and grown professionally and individually in the world of social media and media relations. I have had the opportunity to work with major brands such as Mars, MARVEL, Disney, American Greetings, Kraft and more!   In the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring all things Social Fabric on “Fab” Fridays here on the blog.

If you’re planning to attend this year’s #SoFabUOTR in Chicago, I can’t wait to meet and connect with you! Learn a bit more about me over on their blog and I would love to learn more about you before we meet in person on July 11th.

Relief! Thank Goodness for SNICKERS® #WhenImHungry #cbias #ad

Have an awesome Friday and stay fabulous!

Samantha

Army Wives and other #Netflix “Families”

I was asked to be part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and share posts each month based on my experience. We are longtime Netflix users and cannot wait to share our experiences with you! All opinions are of course are own!

If you haven’t learned by now, I’m a huge fan of Netflix and the ability to stream and stream and stream and stream. After falling in love with Friends, Friday Night Lights and even starting Scandal and Parenthood on Netflix, I found myself looking for a new series once again. One episode into Army Wives and I was hooked!

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The life and times of Denise, Claudia Joy, Pamela, Roxy and Roland had me captured from the word GO and I was bummed to hear that the show has since been canceled. Thankfully, Netflix has all seven seasons available for streaming and I dare you not to fall in love with this Army “family.” Inspired by the beautiful stories of soldiers, their families and sacrifice, I decided to adopt a soldier through Adopt a U.S. Soldier – a non-profit organization that connects families with deployed troops.

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If you’ve already seen Army Wives or are looking to connect with another family on Netflix, check out the new Netflix original Grace and Frankie. Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, this Netflix original premiered on May 8th follows the unusual “family” of two wives and their law partner husbands.

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You’ll love finding more about their crazy lives and how twists and turns still manage to keep them connected and bring them even closer than ever before! See more of our Netflix picks below.

What’s in your queue right now? 

October || November || FRIENDS || Stream Team Finds || Lifetime on Netflix || Kimmy Schmidt || Friday Night “Liars”

Samantha

How Verizon Simplifies Home, Life & Family #VZWBuzz

November || December || January|| February || March || April || May: Mother’s Day

As a Verizon #MoreChicago Lifestyle Blogger I’m a member of a pretty cool
team of influencers. I have received a Motorola Droid Turbo (with a line
of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did
I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with all things technological, so with the opportunity to try new gadgets, I’m all in! We recently received the Gizmopal by LG designed to keep you connected with your child, ages 4 and up.

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll be reviewing all of our favorite features and sharing a bit more about how it works. The set-up was ridiculously simple by just connecting to an app on my Droid Turbo and voila! Charlie had me at his wrist and fingertips. The boys have only used the watch around the house at this point, but I already have three voicemails from them. Don’t worry, we are working on the proper usage of this little gadget and all Charlie can say is, “Thank you SO much for the bracelet phone!” Excited to share even more with you!

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Smartphones and their technology seem to be taking our lives by storm! The Gizmopal is just one example of how Verizon is working to offer options and devices that keep our family and home safer. Check out these other ways that smartphone technology can revolutionize your life and simplify things for your home and family:

Morning Routine Made Easy with Smarthome Lights

How Nest Learning Thermostat Works in Your Home

How to Sleep Better and Wake Up Alert

How to Monitor Your Pet and Keep It Safe

What are some ways that technology has simplified areas of your life? 

Samantha

Whatever “Floats” Your Boat: Build Your Own Dr Pepper® Cherry Creation #ShareFunshine

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareFunshine #CollectiveBias

With the school countdown in full swing and the promise of summer around the corner, our crew is getting pretty excited about basking in the sunshine! Plans for summer barbecues and tons of time in the great outdoors means quality time with delicious sweet eats like an ice cold Dr. Pepper® Cherry soda or an ice cream treat like SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars!  In celebration of the school year ending and a summer full of colorful, sweet fun, I put together a Soda Float and Ice Cream Sundae Bar in our backyard!

Whatever Floats Your Boat #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

The Soda Float and Ice Cream Sundae Bar was simple to put together and contained sweet elements to match a variety of flavor preferences.  M&M’s® (chocolate and peanut varieties), Skittles® and Lifesavers® Hard Candy are just a few of the possible toppings. You’ll be surprised at the creations people make!

Colorful Summer Tablescape #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Perfect Ice Cream and Float Toppins #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Make your Summer Sweets table even sweeter when you enter the Share a Little Funshine Sweepstakes!

Share a Little Funshine Sweepstakes

I love the colors that adding M&M’s®, Skittles® and Lifesavers® add to a summertime table. By serving in mason jars, different types of glassware and even patterned cupcake liners, the overall presentation is pleasing to the eye and makes the dessert building even more fun!

Mini Cupcake Liners at Serving Bowls #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Skittles & Lifesavers in #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

One of my favorite elements of creating a Soda Float and Ice Cream Sundae Bar is versatility! Guests can put together whatever desserts they would like. In our case, we featured Homemade Brownie Sundaes with a Dr Pepper® Cherry Marshmallow Topping and Dr. Pepper Cherry Soda Floats! First up? Brownie Sundaes!

Summertime Fun - with Sweet Treats #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

The Dr Pepper® Cherry Marshmallow Topping is simple to put together.

Dr Pepper® Cherry Marshmallow Sauce #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

You need 1/2 can of Dr Pepper® Cherry soda, 15 regular sized marshmallows, 1/4 c. water and 1/4 c. sugar.

Marshmallow Topping Ingredients #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

The first step is creating a simple syrup. Low boil the water and sugar until sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to thicken. Then, add the marshmallows, stirring so that it does not burn and incorporates well. Add Dr Pepper® Cherry and continue stirring together until blended. Pour into a serving jar. Drizzle over your brownie sundae for an extra special “pop”!

Candy Brownie Sundaes #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Next, the soda floats are even simpler to make! Offer Dr Pepper® Cherry to your guests either in cans or 2-liter bottles. I prefer the cans, then guests can continue to add to their floats as the ice cream melts, but either will do!

Dr Pepper® Cherry Ice Cream Floats #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Place one large scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a glass jar (for presentation and the chilled factor). Pour soda – being careful not to spill! Top with a scoop of ice cream. Serve with a striped straw and enjoy the full taste of summer!

Soda Floats #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

Want to create your own sweet summer tablescape? Head to Walmart and pick up all of your summer essentials! You can find Dr Pepper® Cherry in the soda aisle.

Dr. Pepper Cherry at Walmart #ShareFunshine #cbias #ad

You can find the M&M’s®, Skittles® and Lifesavers® in the candy aisle. Download the Blippar app from your Apple or Android store to scan your packages and receive exclusive content. Shopping soon? Click here to receive instant savings on M&M’s®, SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars, Dr Pepper® Cherry and more summer sweet eats!

What are your favorite ways to have a sweet summer?

Samantha

Put Me In Coach! {Baseball 2015}

The boys had their first games this past week – Coach Pitch (Charlie) and Tball – and they loved it! Jack’s team played a full two innings and Charlie’s was canceled a bit early because of a rain-out, but he DID get to bat!

Jack smashed the ball! (But quickly forgot where he was headed!) After prancercising to first base, he jetted off for second, circled around and the pitcher reminded him to head to first! It was comical and got quite the laughs.

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He had a blast even in the slight chill. He looks so small!

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Snack time! His favorite part of the game!

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Charlie and Ethan (cousin) had a blast at their first game and unfortunately, the pitcher couldn’t seem to find the strike zone! (hehe) They had so much fun until the downpour started and then the game was canceled! But they both did an awesome job and had a blast!

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Hey batter, batter! Gotta love a little guy in a baseball uniform.

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Charlie in his first year!

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Charlie in 2015 – he’s getting so big now!!

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What summer sports are your kids participating in?

Samantha

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Kimmer’s Ice Cream! + a Giveaway! #KimmersKares

I received a sundae of my choice and will be sharing a bit about my trip and tour today! All opinions expressed are my own.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine exploring the newest Wheaton hot spot, Kimmer’s Ice Cream Shoppe! With the original location in St. Charles, I was interested to check out this ice cream deliciousness in all of its pink and black glory.

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We had an opportunity to meet the mind behind the ice cream – Kimberly Elam – and she showed us the ice cream making ropes! Her story is a unique one and definitely inspiring!

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And she really captures the essence of this sign we found inside!

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Kimmer’s is also home of the Sparkle Cone and I sort of wanted to smuggle a few of these home for the boys…

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Overall, I loved the attention to detail and how simplified the look was, but also very kitsch. The color scheme is adorable and definitely spacious enough to accommodate summer lines.

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Hello! They welcomed the blogger ice cream makers and trusted us with the secret ingredients…

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all of which were located in this secret recipe box! Love the quality (and local) ingredients that are used to build some of the most popular flavors!

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We started mixing up a new batch of White Chocolate Salty Oatmeal and the soft version of our finished product was OUT OF THIS WORLD – even for this TRUE chocolate-loving gal.

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In go the special cookies from a local company!

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When it came time to make our selection, I was impressed at the variety of flavors offered – gourmet ice cream that is made fresh daily and hand-packed! Choose from a variety of ice cream deliciousness – shakes, sundaes, malts, smoothies, ice cream cakes or pies, ice cream sandwiches and pints or quarts of your favorite flavors!

Kimmer’s had me at hello when I realized they have the same obsession for peanut butter that I do… (at LEAST five different flavors incorporating it!) I settled for the traditional Chocolate Peanut Butter and The Parent Trap in a chocolate waffle bowl. Peanut butter sauce and hot fudge made for a delicious afternoon treat!

#KimmersKares - All the Peanut Butters EVER

Kimmer’s had some of the best ice cream I have ever had and I consider myself a self-proclaimed expert. From the little touches to the quality ingredients to beautiful decor, Kimmer’s knocks ice cream making (and serving) out of the park – adding a bit more sparkle to your day!  Head to Wheaton or St. Charles to try some for yourself or at a few local grocers for select flavors.

You can also follow Kimmer’s on social media:

Facebook || Twitter

{GIVEAWAY}

Want to try Kimmer’s for yourself? Simply comment below with your favorite ice cream flavor below and you will be entered to win a $25 gift card to Kimmer’s in Wheaton, Illinois! A beautiful summer stop! Ends May 30, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. CST!

Samantha

Bubbles, Baths & Babies!

We received some select Paddy’s products to clean our kiddos up. All opinions expressed are our own!

Summer filled with mud and sweat is right around the corner and with two little boys, dirt is their middle name. We spend lots of time washing hands, cleaning faces and taking baths, so the products we use need to also be safe! Enter Paddy’s Bathroom! Their site itself easily draws you in with the fun pictures, animations and games for the kids! Certified organic with natural ingredients and addictive smells, these bath products will have your kids itching to get clean!

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Withstood Jack’s sniff test (it’s even my favorite hand soap to use now!)

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It’s easy for him to squeeze, foams up so he can see how much he puts on and the boys use it all the time! It’s definitely one of our favorites from the line. Plus, even the big kid in our house uses it, so that’s a double bonus. This is on our must-buy list from Target.

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The shampoo and body wash were delicious and smelled like fresh fruits, not chemicals! The packaging for the shampoo was fun and the boys loved playing with the packaging – felt a bit like gak.

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Here’s some more info about Paddy’s and their fabulous hygienic line for kids – perfect for kids ages 6+ months.

Paddy's Bathroom Line

Not only can your little ones benefit from the new Paddy’s Bathroom line, but a donation from every sale goes towards our Drop Buy Drop program, helping kids in Rwanda get access to clean, safe water! Visit paddysbathroom.com for more information and to download the super fun Bubble Barber app. You can find them at Target from $6.99 – $8.99.

Which product would you be most interested in trying first?

Samantha

Birthday Party Giveaway {EIEIOdesigns}

Happy Wednesday!

When it comes to planning birthdays, who doesn’t love coming up with a great theme?! While I’ve always managed to come up with a theme to celebrate the boys, sometimes the decorations can be a bit more challenging. Make things a little easier when you check out EIEIOdesigns adorable banner creations that can be using on a highchair, over a tablescape or even just to decorate a room.

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Here are some of her great designs so far:

The Wizard of Oz

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Cowgirl or Cowboy

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Pretty in Pink & Gold

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I Mustache You a Question

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Sail Away – Nautical Theme

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Designs from EIEIOdesigns can be customized to suit your needs and party theme! You can see designs she offers in her Etsy shop and on her Facebook page (including upcoming sales!) I can’t wait until January rolls around and I have an excuse to snag one of these (that or I’ll find a reason to party before then – I always do!)

{GIVEAWAY TIME}

Planning a party later this year that could use a personalized touch?

Head over and like the EIEIOdesigns Facebook page and then comment below with what theme you’d love to see made into a banner (either for the party you’re planning or would love to plan!)

Winner will receive a $20 shop credit to choose a banner of their choice! Ends Sunday, May 25, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST.

Samantha

Let’s Go for a Picnic #WhatsInYourSandwich

We received a complimentary picnic kit from Applegate with lots of great sandwich fixins! All opinions (and sandwich creations) are entirely our own!

Two of my favorite things about summer? Picnics and sandwiches! Lucky for me, Applegate sent me a delicious picnic kit to make sure we were all set for the warmer weather ahead!

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A wrap-up blanket is perfect for laying on the grass, setting up camp and for ease of storage in your trunk. This adorable blanket is the perfect addition to our picnic planning.

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Next up? High quality ingredients, like Sir Kensington’s Spicy Brown Mustard and Mayonnaise – more refined because it’s less refined. This mustard works well on wraps, sandwiches and croissants! I highly recommend it for a little oomph on your sandwich!

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All-natural and antibiotic free lunch meats and cheeses means you can build your sandwich without worry about what the ingredients are! Lunchtime has never been so natural.

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Here are some of our favorite go-to family creations (all made with ingredients I can feel proud of!)

Daddy: Uncured Genoa Salami, Provolone cheese, Cheddar cheese, lettuce on whole grain bread

Mommy: Black Forest Ham, Turkey, Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise on a pretzel roll

Charlie: Provolone and Cheddar Cheese as a grilled cheese sandwich

Jackson: Cheddar Cheese as a grilled cheese sandwich

What’s in your favorite kind of Sandwich?

Find even more delicious, natural eats from Applegate on social media:

Facebook || Twitter

Samantha

Happy Mother’s Day {2015}

Mothers Day 2009 - 2015

Samantha