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Monday, September 17, 2018

On the Go Snacking

By now you are back in session, school that is.  School has started, routines are back to normal, and the schedules are starting to fill up with after-school activities, practices, and games.


Thanks to Fresh Cravings for sending samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My schedule fills up super fast when school starts.  I am sure that is the same for all parents with school aged kids.  From packing the school lunches to running to a practice, we all have one thing in common.  We look for easy on-the-go snacks that our kids will enjoy.  But what about mom and dad?  Do you ever grab something for you?  Or are you like me, starving? 


 Who doesn't love chips and salsa?  Introducing Fresh Cravings salsa.

Made with fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and crisp, hand-picked vegetables, along with zesty peppers and spices, Fresh Cravings salsa is never cooked, which gives it a fresh authentic taste.  These snack packs come in Fresh Cravings’ most popular recipe, Restaurant Style, in Mild heat.  They include just the right amount of tortilla chips for it to be a nourishing treat without worrying about portion control.  They are sold in Walmart stores for $1.78 and can be found in the produce section.

“We continuously hear from our customers that they want healthier, more affordable snacking solutions for their families,” says Jay Whitney, President of FoodStory Brands, the company behind Fresh Cravings.  “We developed this Fresh Cravings Salsa and Tortilla Chips combo to help parents find a fun, and more nourishing snack for their kids and for themselves.”

Whether I pack them for my lunch for work or grab a snack for mommy to sit on the sidelines with while watching practice, this is the perfect grab-and-go snack.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Hot Hot Baby #SunnyMoments

Boy do we love our fun in the sun.  Did you know even on gloomy days, the sun is still harmful?  Even if it is cloudy, 80% of the sun's rays can be pass through clouds.  We have to take precautions to protect ourselves and our babies from sun damage.

 
Thanks to Aveeno for sending product samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

The sun's ultra violet rays can be most harmful between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm.  This when they are extremely damaging because they are the strongest which is why they should be avoided.  Our skin is our largest organ of the body.  Aveeno Baby's Pediatrician Dr. Andres Cotton says, "Our skin is the first barrier our bodies have to protect itself." 

Here are some things to remember:

1)  Direct sunlight is not recommended for babies less than 6 months old.

2)  Keep babies shaded by putting light colored, thin clothing that covers their arms and legs and don't forget the hats. 

3)   When children are outdoors, make sure to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or more that can protect against UVA and UVB.

4)  Always remember to apply sunscreen to nose, cheeks, tops of ears, and feet.  You can use a face stick like the Aveeno Baby Continous Protection Sensitive Skin to make application easier.  And never forget the shoulders.

5)  Apply sunscreen 10-15 minutes before fun in the sun so that product can absorb into the skin.             Reapplying every 2 hours.


Aveeno has been a preferred brand in my home.  It is the brand I trust for my daughter's sensitive skin.  It is pediatrician and dermatologist recommended for the entire family. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Houston: Fandemic Tour is Coming

A new convention experience is coming to NRG Center in Houston on September 14, 15, and 16.


This post is in collaboration with Fandemic Tour as a brand partner.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

There is one thing that all of our family members have in common is that we are all fanatics.  Young and older, we all grew up being fans.  Fandemic will have photo ops, autograph opportunities, and meet and greets.

Some of the guests we are excited to see are:


Tom Welling Best known for playing Clark Kent on the hit television series Smallville (2001).  Tom eventually moved on to modeling after spending a period of time working in the construction business.  While modeling, he met fellow celebrity and model Ashton Kutcher while they were booked for a project together.  The two eventually become good friends. Even though both Ashton and Tom were famous models, Tom decided to be an actor.  Welling also acts in other movies.  The movie with which he is probably most associated is Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), in which he starred with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, and its sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), in which he repeated his prior role.  Tom has also starred in a B-grade horror flick, The Fog (2005), together with Lost (2004)'s star, Maggie Grace.


John Schneider - His big break came when he won the role of Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) on CBS from 1979-1985.  He auditioned for the role pretending he was a genuine country boy.  He had a weeks growth of beard and held a beer can claiming he was from Snellville, Georgia.  He later became a very successful country singer and had several hit songs including "I've Been Around Enough To Know" and "Country Girls."  He has since opened Faith Works Productions in San Antonio, Texas.

You can check out the full guest list here.

GET YOU TIX NOW! ---> bit.ly/FandemicHOU 

General Admission

$40 — Friday Pass
$50 — Saturday Pass
$45 — Sunday Pass
$80 — Full Weekend Pass
$150 — Fandemic Fanatic VIP
KIDS 10 AND UNDER ARE FREE

Don't forget to the join the conversation on September 6 for your chance to win tickets.  Follow @moneysvgparent on Twitter and join the discussion using #FandemicHouston

Must be 18+ to participate and eligible to win prizes.


Grand Prize is Two VIP Tickets for all three days at Fandemic Tour Houston Sept. 14-16, 2018.  Find out more about the VIP tickets when you visit http://fandemictour.com.

Prizes include a Family Four Pack for Sunday - our family-friendly day with children's activities and a "Date Night" prize of two tickets to the Friday show.

Be sure to RSVP "going" on the event page, follow @moneysvgparent on Twitter at - https://twitter.com/MoneySvgParent

To be eligible for prizes!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Let Them Build It - Strawbees

I hate when my kids get summer colds.  Those are the worst.  The doctor recommends lots of rest which includes staying at home with dad and it disrupts my daughter's routine.  When my daughter gets sick, I try to distract her from the crummy feeling.


Thanks to Strawbees for sending sample product fore review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

When I am sick, I feel that distracting my brain helps me feel better.  It always works for me.  My daughter is the same way.  She loves to be engaged and enjoys experimenting.


My kids have always been very independent.  They love to tinker, discover, and create things all on their own.  


Strawbees Inventor Kit allows kids to be creative.  They can let their imagination run wild as they build.  The creations they make with their own hands.  It is a wonderful educational toy.  Kids do not even realize that they are actually learning while getting creative.


The toys that brings hours of fun for my future inventor.   Whether your kids get cabin fever, are looking for a challenging toy, or just love to work with their imagine; this is the perfect toy for them.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

***CLOSED***AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Digital Code Giveaway

Ok, where are my Marvel Studios fans at?  AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is going to be available on Blu-ray on Tuesday, August 14. Who is excited?



This is a sponsored giveaway. All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

If you a fan, I know you already saw this movie and cannot wait to add it to your collection. If you have not seen it, here is the synopsis:

In “Avengers: Infinity War,” members from every MCU franchise must sacrifice like never before in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. The film stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Paul Bettany as Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Peter Dinklage as Eitri, Benedict Wong as Wong, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Dave Bautista as Drax, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, with Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, with Josh Brolin as Thanos, and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord.

To celebrate the release, we are giving one reader the opportunity to win their very own digital copy of the film.

How to enter:

1)  Tell me who is your favorite character and why?  (comment below-1 entry)
2)  Tweet, don't forget to tag @independentmami. (comment below with the link to your tweet-1 entry/per day)
3)  Share on any social media channel.  (comment below with your link, 1 entry/per channel/per day)

US only.  Giveaway ends on 08/15/2018.  One winner will be randomly selected.  Sponsor will be responsible for delivery to winner.  Good luck!

Baby Got Butz

I have a sister from another mister, like they say.  A few weeks ago I got the call.  You know the call when you take a deep breath and then you scream of joy.  She's pregnant!

Disclosure-Sample product was received for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

From time to time, as every sister does, we need a little help from the other.  I love being able to give my baby sister advise.  Whether it is our weekly phone calls or a call from out of the blue, we are always here for each other.  Since I started having babies first, I have lots of stories to tell.  What things worked for us and what did not.  Every baby is different.

The one thing that remains the same is that I always want what is best.  Being a new mom can be scary whether you are young or older, mom to one or more than one.  

With so many products out there, staying in tune with what is best, may become confusing.  I try to look for products that are going to be ok for baby use, and not harm them.

Baby Butz cream-(never tested on animals)

-100% All-Natural
-No perfume
-No alcohol
-No chemicals
-Paraben Free
-Hypoallergenic

I dare you to read the label.  You will recognize the ingredients.  Majda Ficko created Baby Butz because of her son’s needs.  Every mom has had that moment when they are desperate to find their baby relief.    

Backed by doctors, the cream begins the healing process immediately and stays put, even providing overnight protection.  Just four hours after applying the cream, parents can notice visible improvement in their child’s diaper rash.

Ask your pediatrician for a sample or find it at your nearest Target.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Reading-Benji and the Giant Kite

My daughter was ready for school to be out this year.  She said she was ready for a break.  We have been doing a lot of fun things this summer but one thing that is always a constant is that we love to sit down and pop a book open.  I did the same thing when my son my little. 


Sample product was received for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Just because it is summer does not mean we stop learning.  We got to practice our reading skills.  Books are also good for teaching kids life lessons through the stories.    

BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE, Bestselling Author Alan C. Fox Focuses On Perseverence, Dreams, and Letting Go

For Benji that one thing is an enormous orange kite.  In BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE (Clavis Publishing; August 2018), bestselling author Alan C. Fox tells the enchanting story of a young boy who learns that possessing something is not quite as meaningful as letting it go.

Alan Fox explains that like all of his books, “BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE is based on a real-life incident.  This one happened when I was a child. I decided to tell the story, because I wanted to share the sense of achievement I felt by working hard to obtain something I really loved.  But once I saw the kite flying at the beach, I wanted to let it go.  My dream had been accomplished.  It was time move on to another, new experience.  You must always keep going to fulfill your dreams and aspirations.”

Add this book to your summer reading list today.  For more information, go visit Alan’s website: alancfox.com.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Summer Picks-Noblo Umbrella Buddy

How is your summer going?  What is your summer bucket list consist of?  Are you planning on heading to the beach for some fun in the fun?  The beach is one of the first things on our list.


Thanks to Noblo for sending us a sample for us to review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Every year we love to head to the beach.  Obviously you have a beach check list of items you need right?  An umbrella is necessary when you have kids.  Though we love all the sun, we need a little shade from the exposure.  One of my biggest fears is having an umbrella flyaway.  We have had broken umbrellas and even injuries.  One big umbrella fail.  So this year we wanted to be prepared.

NOBLO UMBRELLA BUDDY-unique, eco-friendly nylon bag fills up with beach sand, then attaches to your beach umbrella.

It is easy to use. It kept our umbrella safely anchored where we placed it.  We actually had to move our set up a couple of times because the tide kept creeping up on us.  We had no problem moving the umbrella with the Noblo umbrella buddy.  After a full day of fun in the sun, we emptied the sand.  I folded the Noblo down to a small square that was small enough to fit in my hand.

I love to re-purpose items, this can double as a bag to put things in while walking to and from the beach!

Another thing I like about this product is that it was invented by an amazing mom. Moms find problems and always find great solutions. Why did I not think of this one?

This product is made in the USA, comes in your choice of blue or red, and is priced right at $20.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Teen Titans Advanced Movie Screening

Get the kiddos out of the house and take them to an advance movie screening.
SYNOPSIS: It seems to the Teens that all the major super heroes out there are starring in their own movies—everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line!

 

RELEASE DATE: July 27, 2018

RATING: PG

SCREENING DETAILS

Tuesday, July 24 @ 7:30 PM

Print your passes:

LINK: http://www.wbtickets.com/TTGTTMINDMAMI

Advanced movie screening passes do not guarantee seats.  First come, first serve.

Eight Grade Advance Screening Passes

Who wants to go to a advance movie screening?

Written and Directed by Bo Burnham

Starring Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, and Jake Ryan

Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school — the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year — before she begins high school.


Check out www.EighthGradeYearbook.com and share your memories!

RATED R

EIGHTH GRADE Houston Screening

Thursday, July 19 @ 7:00 PM

Print your passes:

http://screenings.a24films.com/eighth-grade/promo/independent-mami/city/houston/

Advanced movie screening passes do not guarantee a seat.  First come, first serve.

Monday, July 2, 2018

DIY Popsicles

Summer is a perfect time to DIY with the kids.  Their little hands love to be hands on.  Some projects can vary depending on their age.  I love mixing food and fun with DIY. 


Thanks to Zipzicle for sending samples for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

My daughter loves to get in the kitchen.  She is always asking to help.  She grabs her step stool and get right in there.  I love that she wants to learn.  Today's lesson is how to make DIY popsicles.


Our first step was to gather our fresh ingredients.  In the summer, we love to make cucumber water and agua de pepino.  Both make refreshing drinks.  It also happens to be one of my daughter's favorite.  Did you know by definition that a cucumber is considered a fruit?

Ingredients-

1 cucumber
2 cups of water
2 limes
sugar

Wash your cucumber.  Cut cucumber into smaller pieces.  I usually cut them into 8 long pieces.   Throw the cucumber in the blender.  I do half of the cucumber with 1 cup of water at a time.  My blender is not that big.  Blend all cucumber pieces and water.  Place the juice in a pitcher.  Cut lime in half and squeeze lime juice into the pitcher.  Add sugar to your liking.  I added to sugar and kept tasting.  I only add enough to give it a small sweet taste.  Mix all ingredients.

  
Now you are ready to fill the Zipzicle ice pop molds.  Make sure to continue to mix your juice so that you can an even blend of juice when filling each pouch.  I recommend using a pitcher with a small spout enough to be able to fit around the opening of the pouch.


My daughter loved being the taste-tester.  She was able to push buttons and make the blender go wild.  She also enjoyed mixing and pouring.  But what she enjoyed most was the final product.  It is the perfect way to stay cool this summer.


For more information, go to zipzicles.com.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Summer Tips for Feeling Fresh with Caress

I am a sponsored blog partner with Mirum.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Oh boy, it is gonna be a hot one.  This summer has already started to shows its true colors.  With temperatures roaring into the 100s, it is impossible to get anywhere feeling fresh.


But do not let the heat stop you from enjoying summer, instead beat the heat with these tips:

1)  Hydration-Lack of water can cause fatigue to your mind and body.  Water cools your body off and cleanses it from toxins.  Stay hydrated by drinking water all throughout your day and not waiting until your body is thirsty.

2)  Clothes-Access your day.  Will be outside or indoors?  Can you wear sleeveless or short sleeve?  Can you wear shorts, skirts, or dresses?  Wear loose fitting clothing when possible.  I sweat easily, so I like to carry a spare shirt.


You can feel "out-of-the-shower-fresh" any time of day with NEW Caress® Botanical Body Sprays.

Caress Pink Peony Botanical Body Spray - Top note: White Orchid, Heart note: Pink Peony, Base Note: Tonka Beans

Caress Sweet Violet Botanical Body Spray: Top note: Tangerine, Heart Note: Sweet Violet, Base Note: Musk

Caress Mediterranean Lotus Botanical Body Spray: Top note: Bergamot, Heart note: Mediterranean Lotus, Base note: Amber

A body spray for every side of summer you will be in, leaving you feeling fresh any time of day.


3)  Mood-Don't let heat ruin your mood, instead jam to the Caress-inspired Pandora playlists.  Your state of mind can make or break your day, embrace each note as it hits you.  Smell good and feel even better.  So pick up Caress at H-E-B and get down with the freshness.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years Under The Big Top - UniverSoul Circus

UniverSoul Circus is back in Houston from now until June 24th.  They are celebrating their 25th year Anniversary.
Thanks to UniverSoul Circus for inviting my family and providing complimentary tickets for us to come join the celebration.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

There is a giant party under the UniverSoul Circus big top.  I love the music and all the performers.




It is a circus that not only has been bringing joy to our communities but also has helped it.  UniverSoul Cares has several initiatives:

-free show for homeless families

-help bring awareness and register potential donors of bone marrow

-recognizing and awarding humanitarian leaders

-helping stock food banks

For more information, go to universoulcircus.com/cares

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Hat for Every Dad - Tenth Street Hats

Father's Day is right around the corner.  Did you do your shopping already or are you still looking for the perfect gift for the dads in your life?
Thanks to Tenth Street Hats for sending sample product for review.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Do your guys love to wear hats?  Head wear to guys is like accessory for ladies.  There are several types of hats.  Most of my guys love to wear ball caps.  Looking for the perfect hat for my guy could be easy to do because Tenth Street Hats has such a wide variety to choose from. 


Tenth Street Hats have the perfect hat for every dad this Father’s Day, including:

All-American Dad: A high quality, American-made Biltmore Collection includes classic, colonial styles in materials ranging from luxurious fur to breathable straw. 

BBQ King: For all the dads in the backyards this 4th of July and every BBQ this summer, the Sun Protection hats with UPF50+ will keep them protected while their grilling (so they don’t roast too). 
 
Cool Dad: From the fedoras to their bold prints, the Staff Picks are perfect for cool dads who aren’t afraid to make a statement and accessorize.

Whether they’re cool, reserved, or a culinary king, they've got dads covered.  Tenth Street Hats is the perfect gift this Father’s Day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

***CLOSED***Giveaway-Peter Pan

Summer is a time for exploring.  What do you have planned for your kiddos?  For us, it is the perfect time to let our kids unwind, let loose, and be free.


This post is in collaboration with Disney and Movies Anywhere.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

Let your kids imagination soar past "the second star to the right and straight on till morning" as Peter Pan makes it debut into the Walt Disney Signature Collection.

All it takes is faith, trust, and a dash of pixie dust, and this timeless classic will launch you on epic adventures in Never Land as it sparkles with legendary animation and extraordinary songs!

Wanna win your own digital copy?  Enter below:


This is a US only giveaway.  Three (3) winners will be randomly selected and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Good Luck.

***CLOSED***Giveaway-A Wrinkle In Time

School's out, school's out, one and all, school is out for the summer.  Now what will your kids be doing?

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Movies Anywhere and Disney.  All opinions posted are my based on my personal experience.

Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, is now available everywhere on Digital HD, Movies Anywhere, Blu-ray™, 4K Ultra HD™, DVD and On-Demand.

The stunning story of an ordinary girl’s extraordinary adventure through time and space offers exhilarating entertainment and positive messages for the whole family—encouraging self-confidence, inclusion and pushing imagination to the next level.

The Heart-felt, Inspirational Story of the Timeless Classic starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and breakout star Storm Reid ­­take viewers on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery, then behind the scenes through exciting extras!

Thanks to our sponsor, in celebration of this movie coming home, we would like to give (3) lucky winners a digital download code.

How to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a US only giveaway.  Three (3) winners will be selected randomly and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  Good Luck.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Chicago Navy Pier

We traveled to Chicago to go see my son graduate but he ended up leaving us there.  So what do we do?  I decided to take the family back to another Chicago landmark, Navy Pier.  


My daughter was wishing to see snow.  When we left our hotel in Great Lakes, it was snowing.  She was so upset because we did not let her play in the snow.  I told her there would be snow in Chicago too.  It was in the forecast.  He headed towards the Willis Tower but due to the clouds, there was no visibility.  So we headed to Navy Pier earlier than scheduled.  The windy city sure did test us.  Luckily for us, Navy Pier has an indoor area that has food, shopping, and entertainment.

Here were some of our favorite indoor attractions:

Amazing Chicago - funhouse maze with tunnels, mirrors, and glow in the dark fun.


Crystal Gardens - botanical garden with cool, shooting water fountains.


Chicago Children's Museum - three-floors of fun that we just had to check out.  Do you know the story of the great Chicago fire?


We could not visit the pier without actually seeing the pier.  It was a cold 32 degrees outside.  





And my daughter actually got her wish to see it snow...  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#DEADPOOL2 Sip and Paint Workshop

Were you the kid in the corner with a comic book or several just minded your own?  I never really liked reading until I was introduced to comic books.  Something about those characters and story lines caught my interest.  When you become a fan, you kinda become a fan for life.  The kid can grow up, but there is always that inner child.


This post is in collaboration with my brand Partnership with Allied Integrated Marketing.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I, along with several local influencers, were invited to The Rustic Brush-West U.  If you have never been, it is a social crafting experience.  A DIYers hangout spot, lol.  You pick your project and then you get hands on.  For this project, we use the Deadpool 2 movie that is coming out on May 18th as inspiration.  We have two different templates to choose from:


Well got started creating our art work.  Building our canvas.  Then we get to paint and we can use what ever colors we want to.  Each person had a really cool vision of what they each wanted to do.  That is what is so much fun from creating this type of art with your own hands.  I actually used the above flash dance pose as my inspiration to my piece.  

Check out the pieces everyone created:



Don't forget to check out Deadpool 2, it comes out on May 18.  Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Exploring Past Chicago Millennium Park

I have been to Chicago before.  My first time in this beautiful city, I looked up at all the skyscrapers and wished my family could one day see all of this.  Little did I know that one day, I would revisit with them. 


Of course, our first stop had to be to Millennium Park to check out the Cloud Gate sculpture.  But when you are traveling with a six year old, sculptures are not on their things to do.  This great idea soon turned into a bad idea.  Until we decided to explore Millennium Park a little.  There are many visitors mostly tourist in this park.  It can be overwhelming.  If you walk east towards the Grant Park lawn, over the BP pedestrian bridge, you will find the Maggie Daley Park.




We went to visit the bean and ended up finding the most whimsical park ever with slides, rock climbing, towers, and so much more.  I have learned that sometimes you just got to go with it.  This trip was not about sightseeing in Chicago but I am glad that we were able to actually venture out a little and discover this gem in downtown Chicago.  One pit stop turned into a day of fun.