Boy mom · Kids Activities

Game Night

When was the last time you sat down and played a classic childhood board game? I’d have to say it was probably about 15-20 years for me. In college and just after, I graduated to the more “adult” board games like scattergories, taboo (a favorite of the Hubby’s family), trivial pursuit, cards against humanity, cranium, apples to apples etc. and although they are fun, they get a bit competitive and crazy at times. Plus they are completely inappropriate for kids.


So when Little guy got candyland I thought, that sounds like fun. He’s going to get introduced to board games and we get to have some friendly competition. UGH! It was awful. That game is so boring but I get it. It teaches then colors and taking turns and winning and losing blah blah blah. It still was awful, but we stuck with it for a little bit and I played in agony. He loved it though and I groaned everytime he brought the game out. I have no patience and the current version is so short. You get 3 double colors in a row and you practically win the game. Only the peppermint can derail you and prolong the game for another 30 seconds. So to switch things up we tried chutes and ladders. Even worse! That game is on the opposite spectrum and takes forever. You weave and bob along each row praying you hit a ladder so you can reach the end. Then just as you are at the top and about to win and think “YES! This torture is almost over” you land on the long chute and down you go. #brutal

I dont even watch Game of Thrones but this meme was on point


I wanted something a little more enjoyable for all so we whipped out Sorry. A Classic! This game is soooo much better than the little kids games. I forgot how much fun the game is. Sliding down the slides, racing to get into your safety zone before someone takes you out, getting a Sorry card and taking out an opponent, getting a pawn home, drawing an 11 and being able to switch your pawn with another close to your home. So much fun! At first Little guy was not good…at all! He lost every game (yes we are those parents who do not let our kid win #sorrynotsorry) and he cried and he whined but he still wanted to play over and over. Slowly he started getting the hang of it and picked up on the strategy by watching me and the hubby. Now he is a legit contender. Does he still whine when he doesn’t win? Of course, he’s 4, but he gets over it quickly and his competitive streak is slowly starting to come out.


We then started introducing other games from our childhood such as Battleship, Memory, Guess Who, Yahtzee (teaching him to roll the dice early!), Monopoly Junior, and my current favorite UNO! We love this game and little guy is getting really good so it gets pretty competitive. He even got a card holder for christmas since his hands were so tiny he could not hold all the cards and we could essentially see his entire hand. With the cardholder addition we can’t see his hand and it makes the game really fun. The colors and numbers, wild cards and skip cards. It’s great for after dinner and before bed.

uno 2
Laying down a dagger +2 card and then laughing in my face


He’s getting really good at all the games we play. In fact he’s getting so good even that he’s getting a little cocky. As he gets the game of the night out he will start talking smack “I’m gonna crush you guys” or “I’m gonna beat you so bad”. Where does he get this competitive streak? I have no idea!


Its so Hard to Say Goodbye to…

“How can I say goodbye to what we had? The good times that made us laugh, outweighed the bad. I thought we’d get to see forever, but forever had blown away. It’s so hard to say goodbye to…”

-Boyz to men

Next month I am losing a great friend. This friend has been with me through thick and thin and got me through the craziness of being a new mom. This friend was always there for me when I need it and knew how to calm me down when I was in a mood.This friend has given me so much that I feel like I;m not just losing a friend but a part of myself. This friend is my local Romeoville Target.


(pause for dramatic outcries from all)

I just died a little inside

I have known about this upcoming loss since November when the news surfaced that Target was closing 2 stores in Illinois and my precious Target was one of them 

ap_090911089838_sq-3271237f28995f6530d9634ff27228cae88e3440-s900-c85.jpg (900×900)
I feel ya MJ

I immediately started the five stages of grief:

  1. Denial- Not my Target. This was a typo. Now way out of the entire state of Illinois they chose my Target. That’s just crazy. I spend so much money there I alone should be keeping them in business. The article was just a misprint. I mean where is everyone going to shop? There is literally a college 5 minutes away so its not possible for this store to close. 
  2. Anger- it’s not a misprint. How could they do this to ME!!!! This is my happy place. What am I gonna do now? Go to another Target?!?! This is unacceptable and I refuse to go to Walmart–NEVER!!
  3. Bargaining- Maybe we can save the Target. I could go there everyday and spend more money and then they will see these hugh profits and decide to stay open. Maybe I could rally everyone I know to shop at my Target so keep it open.
  4. Depression- I don’t know how I’m ever going to shop again. It’s pointless without Target. I’ll forever have to do online shopping and never get to experience going into a store for one thing and coming out $100 later thinking “That escalated quickly”
  5. Acceptance- I must just move on and accept that Amazon is taking over the world. I mean Amazon will probably buy Target in the next few years anyway so it probably was going to happen eventually. I will just go to that OTHER Target close to my work or shop at

I think this it hitting me so hard because Target was where I went to feel peace and to get out of the house with the Kids. Snag a quick Latte at Starbucks and walk down the aisles and just browse.  Whatever happened to jump in my cart was bought without too much guilt cuz I was getting 5% off with my red card and possibly stacked another 5% with cartwheel.

Target was where we went as new homeowners and needed EVERYTHING! Cleaning supplies, napkins, place mats, picture frames, candles, rugs for the front door etc. I look around my house and Target is written all over it.

Target was my place to go as a new mom where I felt no judgement cuz every other person in there was a parent with kids and doing the same thing as me. Getting out of the house with the new baby or all the kids cuz you were going stir crazy!

Target was my place when I was frustrated and needed retail therapy. I could go there and try to copy an outfit I saw online for pennies or buy knock off shoes for $30 where name brand was over $100. (Target is very fashion forward!)

Now it’s just a ghost town of empty aisles and a closed down pharmacy.

If this isn’t the saddest thing you have seen all day then you have no heart.

So Goodbye Up and Up hand soap, toilet cleaner, baby wipes, laundry detergent and everything else with that fun arrow pointing to the rising cost of my final bill.

Goodbye Market Pantry frozen veggies, chicken nuggets and cookie dough I ate raw.

Goodbye Red (now Yellow) clearance tags that got my heart racing when I saw it cuz I knew I was gonna score an awesome deal.

Goodbye standing in an aisle with my phone out to scan an item to see if I could stack a 5% cartwheel offer with the buy 3 get a $5 gift card at checkout offer.

Goodbye seasonal section in the far back corner where I could always grab something to decorate my house with. Then after said “holiday” was over score amazing deals with 50% off everything back there to clear the way for the next seasonal display to be put up. (just for the record, my favorite was Back to school)

And goodbye massive carts my kids insisted on picking for our trip and sitting in for only 2 min and then I was stuck maneuvering the massive cart with no turning radius all over the store. (ok I really won’t miss that one)

I’m sure I will eventually learn to like another Target but it won’t be the same. It won’t be MY Target. It will look the same but wont have the same people or familiarity that MY Target had.

Goodbye Target Romeoville.  It was a great run. You will be greatly missed and forever hold a place in my heart. You took so much of my money and I gladly turned it over to you and actually felt better as I walked out of the store. No other store can say that!


100 miles to a Half Marathon

I want to run a half marathon by the time I’m 35.

There I said it. Now most who know me will think I’m insane because of two reasons 1. I hate running and 2. I hate running! I don’t know how this crazy ideas popped into my head. Maybe it was me being a tired mom all the time with no energy. Maybe it was me wanting to set a goal so big that I know I couldn’t ignore it. Maybe it was me just finally realizing I was no spring chicken anymore or maybe it was time to do something other than just talk about it. Whatever the reason, the goal has been set. It’s out there now and I’m going to be held accountable for it. No backing out now. I will turn 34 in April so this gives me a little over a year to train and get in shape. Yes, there will be stumbles and setbacks but I’m gonna do it. I swear…maybe.


When you become a runner you automatically get new shoes…right?!

As someone who hates running, I needed to start somewhere. So I decided that maybe I’ll set myself a new years resolution of running 100 miles in 2018. Now, as I think of this goal, it’s really not that hard in theory. Roughly 2 miles per week, not per day, per WEEK! Basically I need to force myself to get up off the couch and run 1 mile two days a week or 2 miles one day a week. Pretty easy if you ask me. That hard part about this resolution is that my mind will start overthinking and try to find ways of getting out of it. I can hear myself now…”i’ll just run double next week” or “I can skip one morning”,or “I really didn’t have time” and on and on. So that’s why I’m putting it out there. I want to be able to document it and need someone to get me going on that rough January morning where I don’t even want to get out of bed or that rough July morning when it’s super hot outside. Let’s be honest all mornings are rough but right now I’m feeling pretty confident. Who knows what will happen when February rolls in though…

Mile 1 of 100 #gottastartsomewhere

One thing is for sure, this is all to not only better myself but show my kids that they can set a crazy goal and work hard and achieve it. Nothing is too far out of reach (well maybe running  a full marathon is for me!)

So check back with me. I’ll post my 100 miles journey this year. I’m sure there will be 5k’s and 10k’s this year to add to my mile total and keep me going. There will be plenty of excuses as well so if you want to join, let me know. They say it takes a village and I think it will take a village to get me to my goal so hop on my running train with me. Everything is better with friends!

I will also keep the mom blog a bit more active this year. I got sidetracked after Halloween but I’ll be back at it for sure. As the kids get older the crazy adventures get even bigger. Who know what 2018 will bring. Hopefully it’s full of health, laughter and lots of fun. So cheers to the new year and trying to raise kids who will hopefully grow up to be contributing members of society!

Cheer to 2018!
Boy mom · Holidays · Uncategorized

Halloween Now and Then


Halloween is so different from when I remember it as a kid. Yes, its really the same in regards to you dress up and get candy but that’s where the similarities end. So much has changed from when I was a kid and now I don’t even know how we got away with what we did and lived to tell the tales! here are some of the big difference:

  1. Getting dresses up/Events

Halloween circa 1989 (Then): You got dressed up on Halloween. That was it. You wore your costume to school for the Halloween parade/assembly and out for the evening and then packed it away into the bin for next year. No way was my mom going to repaint our faces 2-3 times or cart around our costume to multiple events.

Halloween 2017 (Now): My kids got dresses up no less than 4 times in the past week. We first had the Halloween Fun fair, then the costume party at the library, then we had trunk or treat at their school and finally they will get dressed for the actual day of Halloween. It’s insane. Halloween is now a week of fun activities and events and I absolutely love it. They get to wear their costume multiple times or with my kids rotate through a couple of different ones. Plus, more events=more candy!

2. Costumes

Halloween circa 1989 (Then): Speaking of costumes, we had very limited choices when I was younger. I remember having a bin and inside the bin was a pumpkin costume, clown costume, witch costume and an Indian costume (definitely not PC). You got to choose one of the 4, that was it. We didn’t get to buy a new one every year. Also, the choice was very generic. Not anything specific, you were a generic witch or clown

clown pumpkin
This was before clowns were considered creepy. Mom was all about the face paint!



Halloween 2017 (Now): Kids can have any costume they want. Popular character costumes can be bought at Target or on Amazon. You want to be Princess Poppy, amazon one click and you are set. Thomas the train engine, go for a Target run and walk out with a Thomas costume and $100 worth of other stuff you didn’t even know you needed. (I love target!) My point being you can be anyone you want now-a-days and its super easy.

Last years costumes


3. Parental Supervision

Halloween circa 1989 (Then): My sister and I got dressed waved goodbye to mom and we were out the door ready to nab as much candy as possible. She never came with us because there was no reason to. She stayed home and dished out all the candy to the neighborhood kids, just like every other parent did. Our lovely next door neighbor, Ms. Austin, would bring us inside her house (yes inside!) and give us fresh homemade candy apples from her kitchen and we didn’t think twice about going in her house and scarfing them down.

Halloween 2017 (Now): I watch my kids like a hawk. I’m there with them at every house and there is no way in hell they are stepping foot inside a house. You stand back, give the standard “Trick or Treat” and promptly leave once you get the goods. No lingering or stalling (unless it’s an adorable old lady who yells to her husband to come see “the cute little boys from down the street”) Also, there is nobody home to distribute the candy and we leave a bowl on the front porch fully expecting it to be completely empty when we get home cuz some kid decided to be a jackass and dump the entire bowl into his candy bag (come on…you all know THAT one kid)

4. Trick or treat hours

Halloween circa 1989 (Then): Speaking of candy, I feel like I had so much candy I could barely drag my bag home. There was no set “hours” where we were allowed to be out and we started when we got home and stayed out till we were exhausted. Sometimes we made a pit stop at home to unload and then hit all the houses again to get more and more candy. That’s what it was all about. It was always so cold your costume was irrelevant and the candy was the main focus. My parents also didn’t really care that the bag under my bed was full to the brim and I would eat it whenever I wanted and sneak pieces in my lunch at school.

Halloween 2017 (Now): It’s so freaking cold I don’t want to be out for much longer then I need to be so we make one pass around the neighborhood and then we quit. Even if we wanted to stay out longer we can’t because there are set trick or treat hours in every town. The kids get minimal candy (but they got plenty from all the other Halloween excursions) and then we end up throwing away the crappy stuff and then limiting them to one per night for about a week. Then we end up throwing away the rest when we are so tempted to eat it ourselves (but honestly I’m totally stealing some of their candy!)

The differences from now and then are pretty big but the biggest one for me is the fact that I really honestly enjoy Halloween with my kids and look forward to it every year. When I was a kid, I enjoyed it but it was just a day to get candy. Now I enjoy all the parties and events and love getting them all dressed up and see the happiness on their faces. Plus, as an adult you can go liquor treating!

Boy mom · Kids Activities · Little Guy · Monster · Sports

I’ve become a Soccer Mom

Its official…I’m a soccer mom. The days of running around and shuttling my kids to practices, games, lessons and meetings has begun. Being a soccer mom also means I’ve been promoted to chauffeur, bag lady, hydration specialist, drive thru regular and #1 fan. As any parent who has or had younger children knows, I’m only at the beginning. I know once we add in a fall sport another one follows in the spring (probably T-ball) and then he’s adding swim lessons, CCD, music lessons and any clubs he decides to join. Then to top it off we add Monster into the rotation of events in a couple years. I can see the huge family calendar of events on the fridge already.

bag lady
I’ve become a bag lady and yes, they all serve a purpose


I love that Little Guy wants to get involved in activities though and I’m willing to spend the gas money shuttling him and his brother around because it teaches him teamwork, sportsmanship, having a positive attitude, coping with losing, falling down and getting back up, and most importantly…it wears him out!

I swear he’s like the energizer bunny these days. He keeps going and going and going. He never stops. He’s four so I know he’s got a lot of energy but he’s always moving. Does he sit down and color ever? Nope. Does he practice his writing or cutting? Nope. Does his sit and read books? Nope. He never sits down. He’s on the go at all times. And then Monster is tagging along behind him trying to do everything he’s doing. It’s exhausting just watching the two of them! I love getting outside and going for walks or the park, playing soccer or pitching him balls in the backyard. But there are times I want to sit in the backyard and enjoy an adult beverage while they play by themselves peacefully. That may have been a pipe dream I had while wearing a yellow dress at a wedding though…

He keeps going and going and going and going and going and going…


Anyway, I was getting very nervous a few months ago when we were getting to the point of him only napping 50% of the time. When he didn’t nap he still went to his room to “rest” quietly but after an hour or so we’d let him come downstairs. I was considering taking away his nap (I must have not been thinking clearly) since he wasn’t napping much anymore.

Enter soccer and BOOM! 3-hour nap later and we are back in business!

connor soccer
My little soccer star!


Practices are once a week and games are on Saturday Mornings. After the game we walk over to play at park or splash in the splash pad and by the time we get home and eat lunch he is walking upstairs by himself and climbing into bed. Its glorious! He gets to get his energy out and play with kids his own age and ability.

reed splash park
Reed’s manning the button at the splash park.


So I’m ok with being a “soccer mom” or any activity mom for that matter. It keeps my kids having fun and meeting other kids. It also keeps me sane when I get that 2-hour window of peace on Saturday and Sunday.

reed back yard nose
Reed was supposed to be picking weeds in the garden…At least I got to enjoy my drink 🙂
Boy mom · Little Guy

Holy Plumbing Problem Batman

Little guy has been part of the fully potty trained club for about a year now. I gotta tell you, it’s pretty freakin fantastic. We don’t even have to ask him if he has to go anymore. He just stops what he’s doing and does his thing. He’s gotten so good we don’t even have to wipe his ass anymore.

wipe ass
enough said


With this, the hubby and I have become fairly confident and have slacked in our monitoring of him. No longer do I have to check on him or repeatedly ask him if he has to go to the bathroom. We had pretty good confidence in him until the events of last Sunday.

It was a fairly normal Sunday evening. Hubby and I were hanging around with the kids and it was actually pretty relaxing, until Connor informed he was going to use the bathroom. “Alright, let me know if you need anything” I replied and continued to sit and drink my glass of wine.

About 2 minutes later, I hear a flush and then another one. I’m thinking it must have been a good one if he had to double flush then he comes out of the bathroom with no underwear or pants on. Here is the conversation we had:

LG: “Mommy, where are my Batman undies”

ME: “Seriously? They are probably in the bathroom silly”

LG: (Goes and checks the bathroom) “They are not in here”

Me: What do you mean? How could they have just disappeared?”

LG: “I don’t know; I can’t find them”

I begrudgingly got up and went to the bathroom to find his underwear which I was sure was behind the door or lying in the middle of the floor since he has a habit or asking where things are at when they are staring right at him. When I get in there, Little guy was actually telling the truth, they were nowhere to be found.

Me: “Where did you put them? They couldn’t have gone far, you went straight into the bathroom and them right out.”

LG: (just shrugs)

After looking in the hall, behind the door and under the sink I notice a liquid on the floor around the toilet.

ME: “did you pee and miss the toilet again and try to use your undies to wipe it up and hide them?”

LG: “No” (starting the look pretty guilty)

And then I did what any women who knows zilch about plumbing would do…flushed the toilet a few more times to see if it was leaking or if it really was pee. When no additional leaks were seen I remained puzzled but then then the pieces came together for me: 1. Underwear lost 2. Water around the floor of the toilet…

Me: “Did you flush your undies down the toilet?”

LG: “I don’t know” (starting to cry)

Hubby: “Seriously?!?! This is bad” (as he comes rushing in the bathroom)

And that’s when the Sh*t hit the fan. (pun intended) The next 5 minutes are chaos. Little guy is balling at this point at the loss of his beloved Batman underwear and fearful at the consequences of the situation. Monster is trying to sneak a peek into the tiny powder room to get a look at the scene of the crime and Hubby is freaking out. He’s already starting to google plumber’s on his phone and getting his tools ready to dive in. He’s usually the calm and rational one but somehow I was the one who remained calm and collected.

To help ease the tension I volunteered to take the boys to Menards and get some supplies to find the undies and also give my hubby time to chill out. So off we went, Little Guy still a blubbery mess and very concerned about his Batman undies and Reed enjoying a trip to the store at 6:30 pm on a Sunday. Imagine the look on the 20-year-old Menards guy face when I asked what I needed to get out a pair of kid’s underwear from our toilet/plumbing. Luckily he got over his shock pretty quick and sold me a few items to help us out. $100 dollars in supplies later we got home to find the toilet was off and Hubby was all ready to go fishing.

toliet snap
My snap story was on point


After snaking the drain 50 feet and coming up empty twice, we concluded the underwear were long gone and now property of the sanitary district. With no blockage of the pipes, we reinstalled the toilet and hoped for the best. After a few tester flushes with no back-up we rejoiced! To be safe we called a plumber and he assured us that if we were having no problems with back-up then they were flushed all the way through and we were in the clear. Success!

Afterwards we had a long talk to Little Guy about how you do not put anything in the toilet or if something accidently falls into the toilet (which is our best guess as to what happened and he got scared and didn’t want to reach in the retrieve them) you come let an adult know right away.

In the end, everything turned out ok and we had a nice “teachable” moment with our kids but I learned a lesson as well…I always have to stay on my toes and never get complacent.  The Sunday evening that started so calm and blissful ended up commotion and chaos, but that’s life with kids…right?

guest blog

Workouts are my “ME” time

Let’s face it, as moms, we don’t get much (if any) me time. We are on the go from the second we wake up to the second our heads hit the pillow. Being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend is exhausting. We can’t take a shower without someone needing some snacks as soon as the shampoo hits our hair.  Sometimes going to work or sending the kids to school is the only time life makes sense. For me, working out is more for my mental health (sanity) than my physical health. The benefits on my body from working out is just a bonus. Carving out 15-30 minutes of “me time” makes me a better mom and wife. I have more patience with my kids and I just have a more positive attitude all around.

If you’re ready to carve out 15-30 minutes of me time, then let’s make it count. Since moms work best with lists, here are 5 things to remember:

  1. Set workout goals.  Run from one tree to the next or sprint for three driveways. Maybe your goal is to do 5 push-ups or 1 pull-up. Practice and make it happen!

push up

  1. Push yourself. You’ve only got 15-30 minutes. Make every minute count! Don’t just walk at a regular pace, jog for a few driveways or set your bike to interval training. There’s no better feeling than being out of breath and sweaty. You’re a role model after all–show ‘em how tough you are!
  2. Accountability: Find a workout partner or friend who you can check in with. Everything is easier with a workout buddy. Don’t have one nearby? Ask a friend to do the same workouts as you and check in nightly with them. Not only will you get into better shape, but you’ll forge a tighter bond with your bestie.
Liz and John
husbands make the best workout partner!


  1. Working out equals hungry (or as I like to call it, hangry). Don’t use working out as an excuse to eat whatever you want. Use it to motivate you to eat better.


  1. Make time! Can’t find time? Set your alarm! You’ll feel better all day long. I promise.


  1. M.O.M.: We are moms: Masters Of Multitasking. Kill two birds with one stone: Listen to a podcast, watch your favorite show or listen to YOUR music (not the KidzBop station on Pandora, unless you’re into that kind of thing).

workout Liz



Here’s a few workouts you can do at home:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes:

5 push-ups
10 Squats
15 sit-ups


8 rounds of any body weight movement
Choose 3 or 4 movements
:20 seconds work
:10 seconds rest

For example:
Jumping jacks

Interval workout:

Warm-up for 5 minutes (Brisk walk, light jog, etc)

Run for 1 minute
Walk for 1 minute
Repeat intervals for 15 minutes. Push yourself on the run part!

Substitute biking, elliptical, etc for the run.

If one minute is too long, do what you can handle. :30 seconds on with 1-minute rest. :45 seconds on with 1-minute rest.

When it starts becoming easier, increase your run time!

Pinterest is also your best friend when it comes to workout ideas.

Remember, we are super mom’s. But in order to stay super, we need to take a little time for our own minds and bodies. And please remember that other moms need some positivity in their lives.  Be kind and let that other mom at the mall know that she’s doing a great job.  Love and positivity are contagious.  Spread it!

Until the next hot minute,

Lizkarales fam