Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Recent Posts

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Earn Some Extra Cash Online

Sometimes it can be tough to make extra money, especially when balancing work, kids, pets, and whatever else life throws your way on a daily basis. As expenses pile up, the opportunity to make some extra cash can be really hard to find. Some moms turn to selling used items on eBay or having a garage sale, but have you ever thought of participating in focus groups or other market research opportunities? 

The products and services you and your family use every day come to market as a result of marketing research. Companies rely on the opinions of consumers like you to test their products, evaluate TV programming, weigh in on social issues, conduct mystery shops, and participate in mock juries, to name a few. If you see a product on the store shelf or a commercial for a political candidate, chances are the final result came about based on the feedback offered in focus groups. 

In the U.S., there are 75 million mothers, all of whom influence 85% of their household purchases. With all that buying power, it stands to reason that companies turn to marketing researchers to make sure that their products are meeting your needs and expectations. What's more, Atlanta is a hub for researchers due to the cross section of demographics represented in the population.

Registering to participate in focus groups is a painless process. One of the top companies conducting opinion research is Focus Pointe Global, a national company with a location in Atlanta. They have an interactive website for their panel members found HERE, where you can register and fill out your profile. Once that is done, you will almost immediately receive an email invitation to take a screener survey to see if you qualify for a particular research study. The studies are on a wide variety of topics, including baby products, social issues, taste tests, appliances, beverages, cell phones...just about anything you can think of. Participating in a focus group or product tests is a fun and easy way to earn some extra spending money - from $75 to $100 for only a couple of hours of your time.

Focus Pointe Global also conducts webcam focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys, online communities, and a lot of other methods you can participate in marketing research. They even have an online product review program, where you are sent a product to use (and keep!) and you write an objective review on the company's website. 

Whether you are able to participate in marketing research in person at the Atlanta research facility or by going online, there are a lot of opportunities to make some extra money and have fun while doing so! Visit their site HERE to register.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

White Sox to Host a KaBoom! Playground Build {Volunteers Needed)

Next week on Thursday, August 27 from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm will be the  KaBoom! Playground Build Prep Day

What is KaBOOM?  KaBOOM! is a national non-profit committed to providing play places to communities throughout the country. This is the second KaBOOM! Playground Build hosted by the Chicago White Sox. The Primo Center for Women and Children is an organization that empowers women and children to become productive, responsible and independent members of their communities. The KaBOOM! Playground Build serves as the culmination of Sox Serve Week community outreach efforts.

Volunteers are needed to help prepare for the bigger build that takes place Saturday, August 29. There will be digging, cutting wood, sorting materials and art projects (making signs and potentially priming for side projects).

Location: Primo Center 1609 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL
Goal of 25 Volunteer Corps participants.
Click here to register by Tuesday, August 18.

Who: A total of 150 volunteers from the Chicago White Sox. **Please note - online registration is not available for volunteers under age 18. A parent or legal guardian must sign a hard copy waiver at the build site for each volunteer under age 18 on August 29th, 2015.**

When: Saturday, August 29th, 2015 at 8:00AM
Where: Primo Center for Women and Children, 1609 S. Homan Avenue​, Chicago, IL

What's Provided: Breakfast, lunch and plenty of water will be provided.  Gloves and other safety materials will be provided for the projects that need them.

What to Wear: The playground build will happen rain or shine.  Please come dressed for the weather in clothes you don't mind getting dirty or a bit of paint/stain on.  Also closed-toe shoes are required; sneakers or work boots that you don't mind getting dirty are advisable.

Build Week Schedule

Prep Day 1:  Thursday, August, 27, 2015
20 volunteers from the Chicago White Sox are needed. Breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided.
  • 8:00 AM - Volunteers arrive and register
  • 4:00 PM - All prep work completed (approximate time)
Build Day: Saturday, August 29, 2015
150 volunteers from the Chicago White Sox are needed.  Breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided.
  • 6:30 AM - Build Captains arrive
  • 8:00 AM - Volunteers arrive and register 
  • 8:30 AM - Kick-Off Ceremony
  • 2:30 PM - Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Friday, August 7, 2015

Illinois Treasurer I-Cash Program Allows IL Residents Claim Owed Money and Personal Items

Did you know that the Illinois Treasurer is currently safeguarding more than 2 billion dollars in cash and 20 million shares of stock and mutual funds which need to be returned to Illinois residents? Yes, unclaimed property is just sitting there waiting to be claimed by the owner. Illinois residents can easily claim the money that they are owed, and the average claim paid is $1,000. Most individuals will even receive a check within three weeks of submitting proof of ownership. I'm sure not one person would mind finding out they have some recovered money laying around that they can claim!

So where does the money come from? The Illinois Treasurer secures property from government agencies, banks, insurance companies, utilities, and other companies across the country that have been unable to return it to their rightful owners in Illinois. Some common examples of recovered property include: tax refunds, inactive bank accounts, unclaimed insurance benefits, uncashed paychecks and reimbursement checks, utility refunds, stocks, and retirement accounts. There are at least 400,000 recovered properties valued at more than $1,000, and the largest claim in recent history was more than $8 million which was claimed in 2012. Since then the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program has reunited rightful owners with $366 million in cash, 4.7 million stock shares, and thousands of personal items.

Finding out if you have money waiting for you is really easy and takes no time at all. The Illinois Treasurer’s website is a free and easy way for Illinois residents to discover if they have assets waiting for them. Here is how to get started: Visit IllinoisTreasurer.gov and click on the I-Cash link in the top blue tab area. Then, enter your name in the search fields to find out if you have property to claim. If your name is in the database, then just fill out and submit the form along with proof of ownership to claim your assets. It's that simple!

I went ahead and checked myself on the site and found two claims! One was a payroll claim from when I worked at Toys R Us many, many years ago and another was a refund from my IPass!

Now all I have to do is print the filled out form from the site and mail it in with some identification and wait for my check!

Check back every six months because hundreds of thousands of new properties are added to the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program throughout each year.

This post was sponsored by the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program. While I have been compensated for my time, all thoughts and opinions are my own

Friday, July 24, 2015

Super League Gaming: First In-Theater Gaming League {Ticket Giveaway}

Gaming has just been taken to a whole new level!  Super League Gaming, is the world’s first in-theater video game league for kids.  Super League Gaming allows online gamers to meet in movie theaters to play the world’s most popular video game — Minecraft.  Meeting other kids with the same love and enthusiasm for Minecraft makes this awesome gaming experience as well as a social experience, and seriously, who wouldn't want to play video games on a huge movie theater screen.

Starting this month, Super League Gaming is hitting multiple Chicagoland movie theaters to bring together child gamers. All games will be from 4pm-5:40pm and tickets cost $20 to attend. 

Just announced today:  Super League Gaming would like to honor our Military families with 2 FREE tickets for your young gamers to play MINECRAFT INSIDE A MOVIE THEATER at AMC River East 21. 100 minutes of social gaming and creative building. Tuesday, July 28th. 4pm-540pm. To get your tickets, email SpecialEvents@SuperLeague.com, with "Military Minecraft" in the subject line. ****LIMITED FREE TICKETS AVAILABLE. MUST BRING FULLY CHARGED LAPTOP WITH MINECRAFT 1.8 or above installed.****

July 27  Chicago    Country Club Hills   AMC Country Club 16
July 27  Chicago    Evanston                   Cinemark Evanston 18
July 27  Chicago    South Barrington      iPic South Barrington
July 28  Chicago    Joliet                         Cinemark 14 
July 28  Chicago    Bollingbrook            iPic Bollingbrook
July 28  Chicago    Chicago                    AMC  River East 21
July 29  Chicago    Deerpark                  Cinemark Deer Park 16
July 29  Chicago    South Barrington     AMC  South Barrington 30 
July 29  Chicago    Lincolnshire            Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 21



Come Play Minecraft in a Movie Theater, 
Along with the Big Screen!

*Prizes to top scorers
*Gamers bring their laptops, but we also have some for use.
*Parents can sit with their gamers for free.


One of my lucky readers will win tickets to the Super League Gaming event of their choice!
All you have to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below (This is a flash giveaway so enter now!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Subway Supporting Local Charities #YouShareWeShare #Rockford

When it comes to businesses and companies that I choose to support, I always lean towards the ones that give back to their community in some way. Everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their life and frankly, the world would be a much better place if we all did our part to help each other in some way.

Grabbing lunch is not usually what I think of when I think of helping a charity, but SUBWAY® Restaurants located in USA & Canada are joining forces with several charities to give back to their local communities. Starting now through August 31st, over than 7,800 local SUBWAY® Restaurants are participating in a campaign called “You Share. We Share.” which helps support different charities. My local Subway® is supporting the Rockford Rescue Mission in Rockford, IL. Rockford Rescue Mission is this area’s largest and longest operating assistance provider. They help the homeless, nearly homeless, addicted, and working poor with food, crisis and life recovery services. They also provide a community outreach program.

SUBWAY® is encouraging the community to share their weekends with Subway® Restaurants and their “You Share. We Share” campaign. SUBWAY® Restaurants in the Rockford area will share right back by donating a percentage of weekend sales, up to $10,000, directly to Rockford Rescue Mission. We know that most of these charities operate strictly on donations and this is a great way to support all that they do for our local residents. This is probably the easiest way to help a great cause, just go get some delicious lunch with your family or your friends and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to charity. It’s a win-win!

You can learn more about Rockford Rescue Mission by visiting their website HERE.

To find a SUBWAY® Restaurant near you, check out this store locator tool HERE

And to keep up with news and happenings, visit them on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/subway

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Awesome Deal on Medieval Times Tickets

If you have not feasted at Medieval Times yet, now is your opportunity to save BIG!  This is THE place to go when you want more than just dinner and a show, you get a whole experience!  Right now Medieval Times is launching a LIMITED Time Offer of a family Four Pack for JUST $128!

Ticket Pack includes:
Four Admission Tickets
Four Course Feast Fit for a King.. or Queen!
Two rounds of Select Beverages
Two Hour Action Packed Show
And Parking is ALWAYS FREE!

Great for ANY occasion Medieval Times is the perfect place for Birthdays! this summer thru July 31st Medieval Times is hosting Knight Training- where kids can go down into the arena and train with the knights. Large Groups can arrange to play their Team Building Game called ‘Storm The Castle’—and of course Medieval Times is always the best place for families, with something for everyone- ages 3-93!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Secure Your Family's Future by Cord Blood Banking with LifebankUSA

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents.  You plan and prepare, you want everything to be perfect when that little one arrives.  But beautiful nurseries and state of the art strollers are not the only thing that parents should be considering when it comes to a new baby.  There are other important things that should be considered when thinking of your child's, as well as your family's, future and well being.  We are so lucky to be living in a time when we are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to collect, process and preserve a baby's stem cells.  These stems cells can be stored for medical use in the future.  Choosing to bank your child’s cord blood with LifebankUSA can provide you with peace of mind and significant benefits for your baby and your family for many years to come.

If the idea of taking stem cells from your newborn sounds scary, know that it is quite the opposite. The process of collecting the cells from your baby's cord blood is easy and safe.  The whole procedure takes about five minutes and is done right after your baby's birth.  The cord blood is collected and packaged for shipment to a facility in New Jersey.  LifebankUSA now offers you the ability to bank your baby's placenta blood as well. Banking placenta blood in addition to cord blood gives you the ability to preserve significantly more of your baby’s stem cells.  These amazing little cells can be used to save the life of a close family member in the future.  When it comes to stem cells, more is better because studies show that that transplanting more cells significantly improves success and survival rates.

When you bank your placenta AND cord blood with LifebankUSA, you reserve 60-70% more CD34+ stem cells.  These are the cells that medical journals have reported as the most important for rebuilding diseased blood with healthy blood. 

Another huge leap in cord blood banking, which gives your family another layer of protection, is tissue banking.  If you need another reason to choose LifebankUSA, just know that they are the only cord blood bank processing material for FDA-approved clinical trials using stem cells from placental tissue. These stem cells are being used to treat patients with serious conditions, including Crohn’s disease and diabetic foot ulcers.  

LifebankUSA is proud to say that they achieve the the purest collection of cord blood stem cells through their unique red blood cell depletion process, resulting in over a 99% purity level.  Once the cells are collected and your collection kit arrives at LifebankUSA, until the time it gets stored at their state-of-the-art facility, their technicians process your baby’s stem cells using the latest technology in their highly-controlled and sterile lab.

What happens during the processing proceedure is the stem cells are separated and collected from the plasma.  Next, there are some tests done to determine the cell count, viability and the number of CD34+ stem cells. After processing , the specialists trasfer the cells to a transplant cartridge for preservation.  Here they cryopreserved in a vapor-phase liquid nitrogen storage tank at approximately -190°C. The taks and temperature is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you are already aware of the benefits of banking your baby's cord blood with LifebankUSA, or are already a customer, remember to refer them to your friends and family members who are expecting a child.  With their Pass it On Program, as a special thank you from LifebankUSA, you’ll receive a free year of stem cell storage for each referral who signs up and banks with them.

When your family welcomes the addition of a new baby, consider something more valuable than the newest and greatest baby monitor, consider cord blood banking with LifebankUSA and feel at ease that your family's medical future is protected.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Awesome Discount on a HUGE 17ft. Trampoline!

Skywalker Trampolines 17 ft. Oval Trampoline with Safety Enclosure is only $398.83 on Amazon, regular price is $719.99. We just bought one of these and it is huge.  Keep in mind that only the BLUE one is available at this price.  Select 17ft. under size then the color blue for the clearance price.

Keep in mind that Amazon prices change frequently and without notice so if you are in the market for one of these babies I would act fast!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chicagoland Summer of Fun: Medieval Times #Chicago #MedievalSummer

This summer has been a busy one for us, but we have not gone on any lavish family vacations.  This year we opted to not travel anywhere but still enjoy every second of our summer break, after all, Chicagoland has so much to offer.

If you are looking for a place that will give you a feast as well as an action packed show, look no further than Medieval Times in Schaumburg.  This is one of our favorite places to take the kids, the show is action packed and the food is delicious!

Our little man celebrated his birthday in style this year as an honorary king at Medieval Times.  If you are heading there for a show, make sure you get there early because you do not want to miss the King and his men walk through and make some very important announcements.  You can also walk over to the stable area and look at the beautiful horses that are part of the show.  Once your section is called to be seated its not long before the action begins.  The kids love waving their little flags and cheering on their knight.  During the feast the king and princess announce names of people and groups that are celebrating and Maddox had his birthday announced when we went, he felt really special.

Dinner is served in real Medieval fashion, without utensils!  The "Dragon Blood" soup is my favorite part.  The portions are big, just like a feast should be, and you get soup, the main course as well as desert.

The show itself is an amazing display of horsemanship, falconry, jousting, sword fighting and much more.  I can't imagine how much these knights have to practice to make it look so good.  Our knight was doing great and ended up winning the tournament, so of course little man was screaming with excitement.  That is another great part of dining at this castle, you can be loud and cheer the whole time and no one will shush you, they will actually encourage it.

Since we were celebrating Maddox's birthday, there had to be some cake!  Medieval Times offers a Celebration package which includes birthday (or other special day) announcements, cake, a souvenir photo, VIP seating and much more.

Check out this awesome deal that Medieval Times has going on right now, if you have ever wanted to go, this is your chance!

Disclosure:  I received complementary tickets to Medieval Times, all opinions are my own. #medievalsummer

Sunday, June 21, 2015

3DRobotics Solo Drone Now Available at Best Buy

I'm always amazed at how quickly technology changes and improves.  It seems like everyday there is a new gadget out that literally blows you away and you just have to have it.  There is a new tech gadget that I am dying to try out, it's called the 3DRobotics Solo Drone.

The 3DR Solo Drone works with your GoPro Camera and it is pretty amazing.  Solo is a smart drone that's designed for easy flying, and built to capture stunning video and photography. With features like push-button flight, Solo makes it easy for anyone to get off the ground quickly. It can also define its own flight, freeing users to focus on getting the shot. With computer-assisted Smart Shots and the GoPro frame, you can capture professional-style aerial photos and video in Full HD quality.

I bought my husband a GoPro for last Christmas and I think that this little Drone is what he will be wishing for this year. Solo arrived in over 400 Best Buy stores on June 8, just in time for Father’s Day. It’s the first-ever drone powered by two integrated Linux computers, making capturing the perfect shot easy for anyone. And because, seriously, how cool would it be to have your own little drone to fly around and capture all your fun memories.

If you think the Solo Drone is only for adventure seekers, think about how cool it would be to capture your son's home run at the game from up above!  The Solo retails for $999 and is available for purchase at Best Buy.

Special Offer!  Right now you can get a FREE Solo Smart Battery (Reg. Price: $149.99) when you purchase the 3DR Solo Drone (Sku: 5354101). Valid 6/7-7/11 at Best Buy. Offer valid with purchase of the 3DR Solo Drone SKU: 5351035

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free #AD #SoloatBestBuy