Monday, May 13, 2019

The Ultimate Grandparenting Tool – Club Eimmie!

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
All content and graphics provided by Club Eimmie

The Ultimate Grandparenting Tool – Club Eimmie
The day you became a grandparent was a very special day. It was a time to welcome a new life into the world and marked the passing of your values to a new generation. Being a grandparent is amazing but comes with challenges.
As a grandparent, there’s a deep urge to connect with your grandkids – be a positive influence, be looked up to, love and be loved. But how do you do that when you’re not around all the time, lack deeper knowledge of their interests, and don’t want to give them senseless gifts such as gift cards?

The simple answer: Sign them up for a

subscription box!


Strengthen Your Bond, Every Month

Imagine being able to bond over something, every month. Your grandchild would be reminded of you every time they played. You’d be there for every adventure they go on, as they grow, and discover themselves. They’d tell you about all the things they did with that month’s box, expressing their gratitude while creating meaningful memories.

Influence Their Growth and Imagination

The right subscription box engages in learning and development. You give them a meaningful gift that inspires imagination through creative play while stimulating their mind with each new box – creating influential childhood memories. All of this, without seeing them every day. The ultimate grandparenting tool.

Let go of Gift Giving Pressure

We’ve all been there – unsure of what gift to get someone, resorting to trending digital products and gift cards. It’s not that we don’t care, we just haven’t a clue what to get them.
Subscription boxes take that pressure away since they’re themed around your grandchild’s interests. Because boxes come monthly, you won’t have to worry about coming up with gift ideas or them becoming bored with it. That means less stress and more special memories!

                  The Perfect Gift

Looking for the perfect gift for your grandchild? Consider signing them up for a subscription box. It’ll help you in your journey of creating meaningful memories, being your grandchild’s hero, and let you focus more on what really matters, being an amazing grandparent!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Flowers For You, Mommy!

Flowers for you, mommy....from our little hands!

Yep. One and the same! These are the busy digits that dump freshly folded laundry, put stickers on the dog, and carefully pick peas out of pot pie dinners. They're the ones that lock themselves inside the bathroom, let flies inside the house, and pinch younger brothers when no one's looking....

But Mother's Day is neigh....and all is forgiven! Little hands are also those that gather dandelion bouquets, lace their fingers through your own, and reach to hug you tightly. You employed them when they learned to count, and watch them point and poke and prod at anything delightful!

This treasure is such an easy make that you can have it picture-perfect-ready for mommy or grandma - or yourself - by Sunday! Trace hands in singles or pairs - and cut from pretty scrapbook paper. Craft punches make light work of floral accents, rubber cement fixes everything firmly and smoothly, and a fine point (05 Micron) marker is "handy" (see what I did there? 😉) for tracing captions printed from Word (sizes 24 and 22 in Comic Sans font). Don't forget kids' names and date....this gift's going to make month-of-May reappearances for years to come!

Pop your finished work into a frame (mine is 8" x 10") with or without a snappy hand cut paper mat.

Happy Mother's Day, dear readers and friends!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"Looie" Mattioli - This GRANDmom Is Boss of Pocono Raceway!

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
All content and graphics provided by Pocono Raceway

Featured Image:  Looie with her five grandchildren

Marilouise “Looie” Mattioli – This GRANDmom Is The Boss of Pocono Raceway!
How did I end up here?? How did this happen? 
After many of life’s twist and turns, Looie Mattioli is the Chairman of the Board of Pocono Raceway. As she looks back on her life she keeps asking “How the heck did I get here?"

Looie Mattioli, proud mother of three and grandmother of five, learned very early on in her career that she was unemployable. After college, she would get a great job and remain at it for a few weeks, but quickly became frustrated and disillusioned by her managers, bosses, etc. Consequently, she would go to lunch and never return – “not something I’m proud of!” Looie knew that she had to work for herself which is why see believed she was ‘unemployable.’”  “At least when I fail I have no one to blame but myself.” Slowly, learning as she went, she started one business at a time.

Looie with her father “Doc” Mattioli

Looie never desired to participate in the family businesses, having had to work in them as a kid and because she believed she had to make it on her own.

“My father was a dentist and my mother was a podiatrist in Philadelphia., When I was about 10 years old, my father started investing in businesses (that he ran in addition to his dental practice). By a quick turn of fate, he invested in Pocono Raceway  After a few years he was not happy on how things were progressing and took over the business. He had never been to a car track. No clue on how to run one, but that didn’t stop him.”
Her father (known as Doc)  and mother came from very humble beginnings (not poor, because Looie believes that is a state of mind). Doc was determined to provide for his family. No excuses. The Raceway was a tough deal but with the confidence and mentorship of the France family he preserved. Now in its 50th year…
click here

Please enjoy this amazing video of the life and times of the amazing “Doc” Mattioli and his amazing family.

About 25 years ago her father started with, what she references as, the “Italian” guilt…saying “before I die it would be nice if people in the business knew I had another daughter! So, I would drive the 2 hours from my “real life” (couldn’t take the “guilt” thing) to do special projects for him. The more I learned from these projects and the business, the more ticked off I became about things that were not being done right. It’s not that I knew anything about a racetrack but having a few of my own businesses under my belt, many of the moving parts are the same with just a different product or service.

As a grandmother, my mission is to transmit the spirit, strength and fortitude of her parents to their great grandchildren.

“And slowly but surely, he sucked me into the business. It took me a few years to realize he played me like a fiddle.

Knowing the passion and struggle of starting your own business, her goal was to support her father in his mission, to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish, to build on his legacy continuing what he saw for his grandchildren and now great grandchildren. “Doc called me his AA – Agitator and Aggravator to do his bidding.” Now in the third generation and working towards the fourth, the children and grandchildren had been tasked with “making chickens” meaning developing other business endeavors to add to his legacy versus sucking the life out of this one. And she proudly states that they have risen to the task. “Family businesses are very tough haul. There is always someone who is not happy with me, daily.”

“Doc” and wife Rose Mattioli

As a grandmother, my mission is to transmit the spirit, strength and fortitude of her parents to their great grandchildren. To preserve; that you only fail if you don’t try again; that no one’s opinion of you counts except the one in the mirror. “I’m blunt with them; they know if they ask me something, my response is going to be unfiltered. They may not like the answer but there’s no sugar-coating life especially considering four of them are girls.”

Looie with her five grandkids at the Raceway – Mackenzie, Madison, Payton, Kennedy and baby Frankie

“Family businesses are very tough haul. There is always someone who is not happy with me, daily.”

“My maternal great-grandmother died when my grandmother was 10 and my grandmother, Louise, raised seven children. Through the years, when things seemed overwhelming, I would look in that mirror and tell myself to suck it up because your Nana really had it tough. I realized she shared the same strengths of my parents and a strong spirituality that I wanted to duplicate.”

L-R Looie’s son, Nick and his wife, Brandy, Looie, her daughter Ashley, husband Frankie, grandchildren, Payton, Kennedy and baby Frankie

Looie’s son, Brandon (2nd from right) and his beautiful family

Pocono Raceway has been a family affair for fans. “We understand that it is important for families to build memories with their children and grandchildren that will last forever.

The Raceway has incorporated special programs and offers for them. This year they implemented four kids free with a paying adult. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for families considering that one can purchase a ticket for $45 and bring up to four kids. Can’t get better than that!”

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hand Print Hatchling

"Cheep Cheep!" you say?

On any other occasion, I might take umbrage at such dismissal, but today, this assessment of my craftiness is an apt one! A teaspoon of yellow paint, a tear drop of orange, a plop of fluffy feathering....and we have a hand print hatchling! Cheap!

Grandson Channing loaned his cute 'n chubby two year old digits for our welcome-to-spring offering. He's the perfect non-squirmy age for this procedure, eagerly climbing into my lap, instinctively knowing what to do. He's shown significant artistic progress over the past year and I am so proud of him! - no more sibling paintbrush poking, stealthy play dough snacking, paint water sipping, or trail of glitter-sprinkled family pets in his wake. We've even caught him replacing caps on markers!

Our project is a burst of pretty pastel springtime. Make yours with a careful study of the picture. Showcase your effort with self-cut scrapbook paper matting, and an inexpensive frame (mine is 8" square). Don't forget to date your work. Best of all, since it's too late to "hand out" your gift at Easter, be an "early bird" for Mother's Day! What better time to make mommy smile at the memory of that moment her little chick hatched, chirping and hopping straight into her happy heart!

See a previous post here that features a hand print bunny face by Channing's cousin, Kaylee.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Mister Yellow Bunny

"There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid."
-Margery Williams
-The Velveteen Rabbit

For many years, while she was still alive, early chirps of spring and the promise of Easter prompted mother to retell the story of my year-old self and the yellow plastic bunny. Family friend and walking-distance neighbor, Mrs. Gedvila, had stopped to visit and gifted him to me. I cooed and gurgled appropriately in my high chair with my new toy until the second that dear lady closed the door to leave. Then, "BAM!" Mister Yellow Bunny forcibly met the ground, cleanly snapping an ear from his little plastic head.

I think the homicidal horror of what she witnessed caused mother to decide that MYB and I be separated for a space of time. He was eased from my grasp and tucked away, out of mind and memory, for his own safety. That was in 1949.

"And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and....carried out to the end of the garden."

Ten years ago the time came for me, as it does for us all, to clear out and clean my childhood home, the prelude to one last, loving good bye. Boxes, boxes, everywhere. Corners and closets of dust. Smiles through tears at days long past of good times together. I slipped the cover, bound by shoe lace ties, from a tired old box, and recognized him immediately. MYB. Nestled comfortably in brittle cotton batting, I'd like to say he blinked in the sun and asked, "Where have you been all these years?" But he did not. He let me do all the talking, listening to the rambling tale of how far I've come since the day we met, coupled with a heartfelt promise to never hurt him again.

My foray into stacks named "Easter" yielded other treasures from the past. A pair of egg-clutching rabbits, for starters. I suspect those, too, were candy toting gifts from doting neighbors. A third bunny, I'm guessing, had long since hopped the coop, since we were sisters three. The middle of us, Mary, inscribed her name in careful grade school script on the tag attached to one of a pair of 50s style baskets I also found. These would have greeted us, packed to the brim, at Easter dawn while mom and dad smiled and crooned and took adorable pictures of us in our jammies, cheeks crammed full of oozing chocolate and tangy jelly bean juice.

Following the home-again promenade from morning Mass, to grandmother's house we'd go. And there, in vivid pastel splendor - one white, one pink, one yellow - awaited bunnies so soft, so plush, and so sweet that we vigorously loved off not only their ears, but their fuzzy tails, pokey whiskers, and button-y bright eyeballs as well. I have my own to prove it!

"(The Boy) loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey....and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy."

Thank you, mom, for saving all these things for us. It's my turn now, to relate the tales of MYB and his mini plastic and straw stuffed cousins. Indulgent nods from family acknowledge the quaintness of my past. But I'm the only one who goes back home again with each seasonal un-boxing, settling comfortably into memories of youth to share the journey of "becoming real" with vintage, deeply cherished one-eared companions.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

The Velveteen Rabbit (children's fiction, public domain) was published by English-American author Margery Williams in 1922.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Everything You Want To Know About CBD

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated.
All content and graphics provided by cbdMD.


“CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment.”

by Danielle Crary

By now, you’ve most likely heard someone speaking about CBD. With all the buzz on CBD, it can be confusing if you haven’t dived into the research on what it is and why it is being used. So what exactly is CBD?

click here
CBD has been a viable alternative for synthetic medications for decades. Now popular in the mainstream – due to numerous scientific studies and the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill – CBD has the potential to help alleviate a multitude of everyday ailments, including stress, anxiety, inflammation, and sleeplessness. With powerful properties that have proven to reduce anxiety and pain, CBD users are seeking new ways to ease their tension without the laundry list of harsh side effects common with traditional pharmaceuticals.

To learn more about CBD, we met with cbdMD, a leading CBD company out of North Carolina that is committed to the highest standards of CBD souring, extraction, and production. Their comprehensive line of CBD oil products come from certified non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free hemp that’s grown right here in the U.S.A – and all their products are 100% THC-free.


CBD works synergistically with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for managing homeostasis – the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize itself from the outside environment. ECS functions include, regulating body temperature, maintaining blood sugar levels, inflammation responses, stabilizing CO2 levels, and more.

The interaction with receptor cells gives CBD the ability to promote beneficial effects on the human body. Working to mimic the look and functions of cells found in your body, CBD promotes recovery and/ or positive effects. Although CBD works in similar fashion to common medications, our CBD is extracted naturally from plants, instead of produced synthetically in a lab.

CBD helps promote a sense of balance throughout the body. For example, the vanilloid receptors
regulate both pain and inflammation. When activated, these receptors help you experience less pain
and inflammation. CBD has demonstrated the ability to promote both.

CBD has also demonstrated the ability to help stimulate the growth of the hippocampus – the part of the brain that shrinks when someone is experiencing anxiousness or depression. Once CBD is introduced, the hippocampus cells grow and increase in size to better contribute to the alleviation of anxiety and stress. CBD has demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of bacteria, while also showing properties that pacify the symptoms associated with pain, anxiety, and stress. It has also shown positive effects on maintaining a healthy nervous system, while also promoting a better, more restful night’s sleep.


click here
Not only is CBD a best practice in pain management for humans, CBD has also demonstrated the ability to improve your pet’s health and reduce their anxiety levels. With on-going research, the list of
its benefits continues to grow, giving more and more hope to patients suffering from a multitude of symptoms.


Not all CBD is created equal and not everyone will react the same to a new CBD regimen.

“CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with harsh pharmaceuticals. ”

Taking CBD is similar to starting a diet; you can’t expect to lose all the weight after one healthy meal - it takes time. CBD benefits are cumulative, so be patient and consistent to ensure that the potency has time to build up in your system. Daily use is suggested and dosage will vary for each individual. A good rule of thumb is to start with a smaller does and adjust accordingly. Visit to discover which dosage best suits your needs. CBD is also non-habit forming, so you won’t feel the addictiveness associated with other synthetic medications.

click here
cbdMD offers customers plenty of ways to enjoy their daily dose of CBD:

• Sublingual tinctures, capsules, and
gummies (edibles)
• Powerful topicals that were designed
for recovery, pain/inflammation, and
• Full line of human-grade pet products
for your furry friends
• Vape oils for immediate bioavailability

This spring, cbdMD will be launching cbdPM and CBD Transdermal Patches. cbdPM is our all-natural sleep aid combing the beneficial properties of CBD and the relaxing features of Melatonin. The cbdMD Transdermal Patches will allow you to target the area of inflammation for a direct absorption of the CBD and its beneficial molecules, essentials oils, terpenes, and aminos acids.

 Whatever method you choose, stick with it and embrace the CBD difference.

cbdMD is offering an exclusive GRAND discount – just enter discount code GRAND20 at checkout and receive 20% off your purchase. As always, FREE SHIPPING ON ALL US ORDERS complete with a 30-day, moneyback guarantee!

cbdMD click here
Danielle Crary, CAPM, is the Public Relations Manager at cbdMD.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: "Chicago Treasure"

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
            in exchange for my honest review. Opinions and photographs are my own.

Larry Broutman has done it again!

Months ago, I reviewed his pictorial volume, "Chicago Unleashed," sharing a rollicking journey through vibrant streets, each one punctuated with wildlife casually romping and rolling along "as if they owned the place!" You loved it! 

And you're going to love this one, too! 

Back on the road again, camera in hand, Broutman enlists a talented duo (Green and Rabias), specialists in illustration, text, and digital effects. Their collective mission is to showcase the true treasure of Chicago: its beautiful children! But what warms the heart beyond the technical skill exhibited between covers of Chicago Treasure is the commitment to inclusion. You see, many of the featured children are visually impaired. They attend the Judy and Ray McCaskey Preschool Program at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, learning alongside classmates without visual disabilities. And, once again, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living will share author profits from the sale of Broutman's book. 

Anxious for a tour? So am I! Let's Go! 

Chicago Treasure comes to you in three parts: "Just Imagine!", "Now Showing!", and "Sightings!" - each one a playful paradise of color, charm, and fun adaptation.

"Just Imagine!" pictures children in story book settings whimsically described in front page news items from the "Chicago Pretender." 😉 That's how we learn that the young prince who rescued Rapunzel transported her back to his home base in Chicago on horseback - an impressive 7,000+ kilometer journey!

Sweet Snow White is here, too. She's finally awake, happily married to her handsome prince, and enjoying the company of her forest friends. Her wicked nemesis, the poison-apple-bearing queen is nowhere to be seen! Good riddance!

I have a few personal favorites from this section - the largest in the book....

Oh, to be Hermione Granger if only for a moment! She's just one part of the fantasy world that draws from nursery rhymes, folk tales, and even pop culture, like Disney's Toy Story!

And imagine being this lucky little dude! "The ride of a lifetime"? Indeed!

"Now Showing!" follows with a stroll through the galleries of the Chicago Art Institute. Children populate the parks, avenues, and living spaces of French and American masterworks so unobtrusively that a blink of the eye might mean missing them! What fun it is to carefully inspect each scene in search of modern day additions! I choose Wood's American Gothic stoic young visitor.... 

and Rockwell's puzzled observer as my personal favorites! 
Our journey concludes with "Sightings!" You'll enjoy views of familiar Chicago landmarks, each one, again, digitally visited by beautiful children occasionally accompanied by such randomness as a cheetah trio, koala family, or firmly leashed tiger! 

Photos of The Chicago River Walk, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and State Street Bridge brought back fond memories of my own visits to that magical city!

I look forward to sharing this 168 page treasury with each of my grandchildren. It's truly one to return to over and over again, uncovering new dimensions every time. Together we'll recall fairy tales and recite nursery rhymes. We'll talk about visual impairment and other disabilities and how they are overcome with wheelchairs and guide dogs and competency in Braille. We'll identify famous art work and compare and contrast moods and methods in works by Rockwell and Hopper and more. I will describe the hustling bustle of Chicago, promising that, one day, each of my grandchildren will experience the allure of this remarkable city the way I have - in person, and again and again through the pages of this delightful volume! 

PURCHASE Chicago Treasure here:

Everything Goes Media - use code CTBLOG15 for a 15% discount on total order!

and at Chicagoland book stores and gift shops