Sunday, May 31, 2015

Netflix: Family Shows That Show All Sorts of Families #StreamTeam #Netflix

What family archetype are you? Are you multi culti, a blended family comedy, a drama, or family of super heroes? Are you an unconventional family headed by a same sex couple or grandparents? Here at ChiIL Mama, we embrace all family types because variety rocks and love comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. 

This month our Netflix Stream Team Theme is: Family Is What You Make It

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama next month, for more Netflix fun in Chi, IL and beyond!

Here's my family gettin' our geek on at C2E2 Comic Con in Chicago, where we were jazzed to see Netflix' original series, Daredevil has been renewed. 

We adore families that play together! Check out some of these cosplay fams, rockin' the pop culture at C2E2. Some families you choose, and some you are born into. If your family digs movies and TV shows like we do, check out Netflix. They're a big source for family fun on your schedule!

Maybe your family style changes from day to day. Even though we look like a "traditional" old school nuclear family with 2 married parents, an older boy and a younger girl, we're still a uniquely quirky modern family. My family appears geeky when we have press credentials to cover big comic cons like C2E2, Wizard World and Anime Fest. We seem sporty when we're cheering the kids on in gymnastics and ultimate frisbee where my daughter and son both placed 2nd in state respectively. We may look artsy at theatre openings and gallery shows, and urban while exploring our sweet home, Chicago. We're the traveling type when on the road, and we're a rock family when it comes to covering music festivals and shows. 

And of course our family wouldn't be complete without including all the 4 legged "children"--3 guinea pigs and 2 large dogs, not to mention the 3 tanks of fish.

Living in a large, urban metropolis, my kids have a number of classmates and friends with 2 moms. And even growing up in the suburbs of Ohio, I knew a family with a gay father who divorced his wife to be with another man. Which reminds me of Grace and Frankie, a new Netflix original comedy along those lines. Have you caught it yet? Check it out.

Brand NEW-- Grace and Frankie just premiered earlier this month.

  • Grace and Frankie, Netflix's new funny and fearless original comedy featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, is a perfect example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange and blend in unexpected ways. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 20 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change that they never expected, but they shift their perspective to get through it together with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humor.  show's premiere on May 8.

  • What is it about your modern family that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world? Explore the things that make other families unique by watching one of the titles in our list below -- whether it’s the Gilmore Girls’ dynamic mother-daughter duo or puppet brother in Crash & Bernstein. Then, ask your kids what it is that makes your family special. After all, family is what you make it.

    Here are some sweet recommendations for shows with unique family dynamics via our friends at Netflix. 

    Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama next month, for more Netflix fun in Chi, IL and beyond!

    Check out more of our favorite original C2E2 photos below:
    Family is what you make it, indeed!

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015

    OPENING: The Hypocrites All Our Tragic Brings 12 Hours of Characters to a 140 Character World

    Something incredible is happening on the Chicago theatre scene. Epic, marathon, long form shows like the 12 hour mythic behemoth, All Our Tragic, by The Hypocrites and House Theatre's 9 hour Hammer Trinity are taking the city by storm. In a generation weaned on 140 character tweets, sound bites and status updates, it's beyond exciting to see that "short attention span theatre" can be dropped at the doorstep for a full on, day long, theatre immersion. And audiences and critics alike are loving it!

    All Our Tragic production photos via The Hypocrites

    ★★★★ (out of ★★★★)
    "...a watershed moment for off-Loop theater. By whatever alchemy, it serves the greatest collection of stories ever written - adds to them, modernizes them, makes them feel fresh, forces you to see them both strange and familiar."
    Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

    ★★★★★ (out of ★★★★★)
    "surprisingly funny and totally singular experience."
    Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago

    "mind-boggling flight of the imagination, with many sequences of immense passion, intense physicality and wit."

    Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

    All Our Tragic opens June 20th, and ticket are selling fast. Don't miss it this time around! 
    We want to share the day with you.

    All Our Tragic production photos via The Hypocrites

     Day Long Epic Productions Prevail:

    Although it recently closed, we will NEVER forget The House Theatre's epic saga, The Hammer Trinity, and we are already crossing our fingers and toes for a remount. It was THAT good. We were front and center for The Hammer Trinity with the tween & teen in tow, and it was one of the coolest things we've done in the city as a family... EVER. And we get around to a lot of cool events and see a LOT of theatre. Even though we'd reviewed parts 1 and 2 in past years, seeing all 3 shows in a row was mind altering, and we can't recommend experiencing theatre in this way highly enough!

    The Hammer Trinity production photos via The House Theatre

    Long form shows of this magnitude change a person. It's nothing short of cathartic to put away all the cell phones, and electronics and be in the moment, experiencing epic story telling for hours. It was an endurance, a multi character marathon, and even the audience members felt like we'd accomplished something special and impressive by the final curtain call. We KNOW the actors did.

    Last year we were out of town on a travel feature when All Our Tragic first arrived on the Chicago scene, and by the time we were back and had an open night they were sold out. We're elated to have a second chance to catch the full on, 12 hour in a row immersion this time around. The All Our Tragic remount opens June 20th, and once again tickets are selling FAST. Don't miss this. Save your spot ASAP. Check out the full details below and we'll see you out there.

    All Our Tragic production photos via The Hypocrites

    All Our Tragic is an epic adaptation of the thirty-two surviving Greek tragedies first mounted in 2014 and returning in the Summer of 2015. This twelve-hour theatrical event features the entire canon of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, creating a modern Festival of Dionysus. These Ancient Greek festivals were designed to encourage civic conversation about contemporary topics by incorporating art, politics and food.

    Typically, audiences experience a play for two hours and then, within days, even high-quality productions dissipate from memory. In answer to this, we find ourselves turning toward making art that requests a prolonged commitment from the audience in exchange for an unforgettable experience.

    All Our Tragic features nine hours of performed material and three hours for snack and meal time, which is included in the price of admission. These breaks are as important as the performances themselves; they provide a time to discuss the freshly-witnessed plays with others, to eat some food, and to get to know some strangers.

    All Our Tragic production photos via The Hypocrites

    All Our Tragic is adapted and directed by the inimitable Sean Graney, and the 2015 remount features most of the original cast members. Save the dates and book your tickets ASAP. Previews start June 20, and they're only slated to run through August 9, 2015 at The Hypocrites home base, The Den Theatre Mainstage, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently on sale at The press opening is Sunday, June 28 at 11 am.

    Audiences will have only 16 opportunities to enjoy ALL OUR TRAGIC, presented in a single 12-hour experience with "marathon" performances on Saturdays and Sundays only. A daylong stream of meals and snacks is included in ticket prices, with multiple intermissions and meal breaks. A cash bar is also available.

    The 17-member ensemble cast of ALL OUR TRAGIC 2015 includes: Erin BarlowRyan BourqueWalter BriggsGeoff ButtonKate Carson-GronerEmily CaseyTien DomanLindsey Gavel, Danny Goodman, Maximilian Lapine, Luce Metrius, Erin Myers, Dana OmarChristine StulikZeke SulkesJohn Taflan and Lauren Vogel.

    From the most popular titles to the most rarely produced, experience the 32 surviving Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides in one breathtaking and unforgettable theatrical event. Blended with humor and set against a contemporary backdrop, ALL OUR TRAGIC builds on the success of The Hypocrites'' 2011 award-winning production of Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses. The 2014 world premiere of ALL OUR TRAGIC was showered with critical praise, hailed by Chicago critics as "... a water-shed moment for off-Loop theater," "a mind-boggling flight of the imagination," and " epic event in every sense."

    ALL OUR TRAGIC is designed to create a contemporary Festival of Dionysus, the ancient gatherings for which these tragedies were originally crafted - to bring together a daily community to bond, eat food, drink wine and discuss complicated topics of society that we have been wrestling with since the creation of civilization.

    Sean Graney states, "I cannot wait to experience All Our Tragic with audiences again, it remains the most personal and important work of my life. I have been working on the script since the premiere and am very pleased with the changes. Without altering the aspect we all loved, I have improved sections that left me wanting, clarified underdeveloped characters and fine-tuned the humor. I am also very eager to augment the audiences experience for the remount by providing finer vegetarian meals and comprehensive reference material. Over all, we are all working very hard to improve upon everything that can be improved, I hope it pays off. Please join us."

    The production team for ALL OUR TRAGIC includes: Tom Burch (scenic design), Alison Siple (costume design), Jared Moore (lighting design), Kevin O''Donnell (sound design), Danielle Case (props design), Ryan Bourque(violence design), Mieka van der Ploeg (wig and makeup design), Jon Beal (blood and gore design), Miranda Anderson and Justine Palmisano (co-stage managers).

    All Our Tragic production photos via The Hypocrites

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    UrbanSitter Rockin' Review And A Discount Code Too #UrbanSitter #babysitter

    Now that I'm raising two urban kids in Chicago, it's much tougher to track down sitters safely and easily than it was when I grew up as a child of the suburbs. Sitters were plentiful and easy to find in the endless subdivisions. They were older sibs of our friends, or neighbors we knew. Here at ChiIL Mama, we were asked to check out UrbanSitter for a review and feature and we jumped at the chance. 

    Annie brought a blanket since the weather was perfect to 
    picnic in the park with Sage!

    I have an 11 year old tween who is still young enough not to be left alone and old enough to feel she's outgrown a "babysitter". UrbanSitter found her a fabulous friend for a last minute, 3 hour work stint I had to attend. Sage and Annie Marie picnicked in Wicker Park, had a walking adventure to a local gourmet doughnut shop, played Uno, and took loads of creative photos together with a Polaroid Annie brought. We asked for someone artsy and creative and Annie, a recent Columbia College grad, was a great fit. They had a blast and I could get some worry free work done.

    Creative fun with our UrbanSitter, Annie. Get the picture? Annie also put in her profile that she's happy to take phone photos 
    while hanging out with kids and send them to the parents, 
    so you can enjoy their adventures.

    UrbanSitter is an ultra easy to use network that puts the friends and neighbors factor back in sitter selection, plus a whole lot more. We were able to see what ages sitters are comfortable with from newborns to tweens and teens, see video profiles, photos and descriptions, and match up our kids' interests. You can find sitters who have their own cars, are willing to drive kids around, run errands and more.

    UrbanSitter popped up sitters our friends and circles of associates have hired and we could read peer reviewsUrbanSitter taps in to your friends and parenting social circles to help you find sitters personally hired and reviewed by parents from your child’s school, afterschool activities, and your network of friends on Facebook and LinkedIn.

    There's also a dedicated team of real, easy to reach people behind the website to help along the way. We were contacted via e-mail by the Chicago General Manager, 2 people from UrbanSitter Support regarding a question about applying our complimentary code to review, and a sitter we were trying to book who was in and out of state. 

    UrbanSitter's website & app made booking a breeze. They have easy online scheduling so you can see a chosen sitter's availability, and book with a click, if your timeframe is a bit flexible. We also loved going cashless with the pay by credit card option. It was super simple to pay on line and add a tip, and not hassle with a wad of bills.

    Adventures in babysitting with UrbanSitter! 
    Safe, fun and simple to book.

    ChiIL Mama's readers can check out UrbanSitter FREE for a month!
    Here's a sweet promotional coupon code for ChiIL Mama's readers to use for a free month of UrbanSitter membership, when you create an UrbanSitter account. FORFREETRIAL.

    Finding your first babysitter or a last-minute babysitter
    We had a chance to try out UrbanSitter's boards and book at a moment's notice when I got a last minute call for a one on one Wordpress tech consultation. Sometimes urban parenting is nerve wracking, but finding a sitter shouldn't be. I managed to pick my daughter up at school, grab a quick dinner to go and drop her at the local park, while I battled traffic to my meeting with minutes to spare. In the midst of all that, I put up our times needed on the UrbanSitter boards and had 4 sitters respond within the hour. You can even offer a job to several, so you're sure to have it covered, and UrbanSitter will confirm the first responder and eliminate the back ups. 

    Here's Sage showing off her photo of our Wicker Park family brick, that includes the names of our 3 big dogs who adored Wicker dog park. UrbanSitter even lets parents know which sitters are pet friendly!

    Urban Mom: Balancing Work and Family
    Let's face it, sometimes it takes a village. Parents need help. Our extended family live far from our urban home, and can't often sit for us. And most of our friends work and have busy schedules of their own that make coordinating childcare tough to impossible. 

    At first, through UrbanSitter, we were trying to book a specific sitter, a gymnast who had worked for friends of ours. My daughter is a gymnast who has gone to state 4 times and thought they'd have fun together. The sitter in question, though, was flying in and out of town frequently to judge gymnastics meets so we couldn't get it together in time. Still, she was professional about getting back to us. And when she couldn't accept our offer by deadline, UrbanSitter's support team got back to us ASAP with other booking options, suggested sitters and an open line to communicate. We highly recommend UrbanSitter. 

    UrbanSitter's great for last minute babysitters, date night sitters, mother’s helpers, part- and full-time nannies and more. Click here to book your sitter or start your short list for the busy spring and summer months to come!

    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    SWASH and Best Buy Pair Up To Reduce Your Washing and Dry Cleaning Time #SwashatBestBuy #ad

    Sometimes laundry can seem like The Myth of Sisyphus, the Greek legend where the poor guy is doomed to endlessly roll a boulder up a mountain only to have it come back down again. Laundry can quickly become an insurmountable mountain when you're busy, especially if you have a whole family's laundry to keep up with. And no matter how much you finish, every day there's MORE.

    Disclaimer: 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. Here at ChiIL Mama, we're elated to be part of Best Buy's Blogger Network for the 3rd year now. As always all opinions are our own.

    Sadly, there's no quick fix to magically eliminate laundry completely, short of joining a nudist colony full time. However, there are ways to work smarter and not harder. 

    The SWASH™ System is the only in-home 10-minute clothing care system designed to fit your life. The SWASH System will Dewrinkle, Refresh, Restore and Preserve your clothes so you can say goodbye to excessive washing, drying, steaming, ironing, and dry-cleaning, and say hello to living life unhampered. It gets even better. Best Buy and SWASH have some seriously sweet offers this May and June to make the SWASH system even more attractive.

    1. 5/17-6/6 – Buy any Whirlpool laundry pair, get $150 off Swash clothing care system
    2. 6/7-6/20 - $75 Best Buy Gift Card when you buy a SWASH System

    The SWASH™ System Saves Three Ways
    Saves You Time- Allows garments to look their best in as little as 10 minutes.

    Saves You Money- People who dry clean at least once a month spend about $758. With the SWASH system, you can cut your dry cleaning bills by 50%.2

    Saves Your Clothes- The SWASH system is gentle and doesn't wash away dyes or cause pilling or fading, so you can actually extend the life of your clothes.

    Product Specs and Features:
    ·Intuitive Light System - A series of white, blue and orange lights count down cycle lengths and completions, and signals when an error has occurred.

    ·Adjustable Hanger - The adjustable hanger expands and contracts, making it easy to hang items, no matter the size or clothing type.

    ·Smoothing Clips - Experiment using Smoothing Clips with each item of clothing to provide the right amount of tension for maximum wrinkle release.

    ·Fits Anywhere, Easily - Its quiet operation means the SWASH system can be placed almost anywhere in your home. Place it in close proximity to your clothes, like in a walk-in closet or bedroom. It comes in two colors, shadow and linen, to match the décor of almost any space.

    ·Quick and Simple Setup - Installation is as easy as plugging the unit into a 120-volt standard wall outlet. No water, plumbing, pipes, vents, professional installation or special hookups are required.

    ·Only @BestBuy
    - Extra adjustable hanger, so you can refresh two garments at once

    - Extra pocket smoother to use on dress shirts

    Click here to order yours today, and start on the path to less laundry and wear and tear, and more wrinkle free, professional looking clothes in 10 minutes timeSo say goodbye to excessive washing, drying, ironing and dry cleaning and hello to SWASH.

    Disclaimer: 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. Here at ChiIL Mama, we're elated to be part of Best Buy's Blogger Network for the 3rd year now. As always all opinions are our own.



    TODAY'S THE DAY! Watch NBC tonight as the biggest stars come together to have fun, raise money, and change lives on Red Nose Day! Here at ChiIL Mama we're happy to HELP OUT and spread the word. Our whole family is rockin' the Red Nose look today, to raise awareness and funds to help 12 charity organizations that lift children and young people out of poverty, in the U.S. and throughout the world.

    ChiIL Mama's 12yo Sage loves to help others! #RedNose

    ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Children rockin' the #RedNose Day look 
    for charity! 

    Puttin' the FUN in FUNdraising! ChiIL Mama digs clowning around for a great cause.

    Noses sold out? No worries. Download the app & make a virtual #RedNose selfie! Then donate tonight during the show.

    On May 21, the UK’s biggest charity event will land in the US for the first time with a great night of comedy, music, and fundraising to help 12 charity organizations lift children and young people out of poverty, in the U.S. and throughout the world.

    Stars in the TV special include: Julia Roberts, Coldplay, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Paul Rudd, Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Leslie Mann, January Jones and MORE. 

    Reese Witherspoon, Neil Patrick Harris, Sienna Miller, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde and Eddie Redmayne Also Join the Fun Along with Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Leslie Mann, January Jones, Simon Cowell, Naomi Campbell, Anna Camp, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Yvette Nicole Brown, Retta, Natalie Morales, Danny Pudi and Rob Huebel

    Plus, Cast Members from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the Netflix Original Series “Orange is the New Black” Scheduled to Appear in Fun-Raising Special

    Hollywood’s biggest stars continue to line up to have fun, raise money and change lives on “Red Nose Day,” a three-hour live entertainment event airing Thursday, May 21 (8-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.  Featuring great comedy, videos produced by Funny Or Die, incredible music performances and Hollywood’s favorite stars, the benefit event will help 12 charity organizations lift children and young people out of poverty, in the U.S. and throughout the world.

    Julia Roberts, Coldplay, Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Moore, Jodie Foster, Reese Witherspoon and Neil Patrick Harris will appear, along with Sienna Miller, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde, Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Leslie Mann, January Jones and Simon Cowell.  Also slated to appear are Naomi Campbell, Anna Camp, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Yvette Nicole Brown, Retta, Natalie Morales, Danny Pudi and Rob Huebel. 

    The star-studded event for charity will also feature “Game of Thrones” cast members Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Iwan Rheon, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Mark Addy, John Bradley, Rose Leslie, Alfie Allen and Charlotte Hope.  “Orange is the New Black” cast Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley, Yael Stone, Selenis Leyva, Lea DeLaria, Adrienne C. Moore and Jackie Cruz will also be part of the fun-raising special.

    An enormously popular annual event in the U.K. that has raised more than $1 billion over the last 30 years, ‘Red Nose Day’ is coming to America for the first time ever on May 21.  It’s a great night of comedy, music and more, all for a good cause.

    People from all walks of life are encouraged to have fun and raise money through buying red noses (sold exclusively at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores nationwide), organizing fundraising events and watching and donating during the television special. For more information, please go to The star-studded event will feature sketch comedy, parodies, videos produced by Funny Or Die, live musical performances and short appeals films that shed light on those in need.

    Previously announced stars include Will Ferrell, Jack Black, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Michelle Rodriguez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Smith, John Legend and “Voice” coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams, along with Matt Lauer, Carson Daly, Bill and Melinda Gates, Nick Offerman, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine, Jeff Goldblum, Billy Eichner, Martin Short, Laura Linney, Anna Kendrick, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, John Michael Higgins and Stephen Merchant.

    Richard Curtis is an executive producer for the NBC telecast (a Universal Television production), along with Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions. Henrietta Conrad and Lily Sobhani will also serve as executive producers, as will Mike Farah, Anna Wenger and Joe Farrell from Funny or Die. Hamilton is set to direct.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    OPENING: RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, at Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe) May 20-24, 2015

    “The next best thing to seeing The Beatles!” The Denver Post

    ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

    Featuring New Songs and High Definition Imagery for the 2015 Tour!

    Experience an all new show when the internationally-acclaimed Beatles concert, RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles, returns to Chicago to play the Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe) May 20-24, 2015.

    As “the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!” (Associated Press), RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles' discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. In addition to the updated sets that include brand new LED, High-Definition screens and multimedia content, new songs have also been included with the launch of the 2015 Tour. Together longer than The Beatles, RAIN has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance that’s as infectious as it is transporting. From the early hits to later classics (“I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” “Hey Jude” and more), this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!

    “On their feet, with arms raised high above their heads, all in the audience were swaying and singing along in blissed-out, nostalgia-powered unison! 
    -- Chicago Sun-Times

    “The enraptured audience relives the soundtrack of its life!”
    -- Chicago Tribune

    Like The Beatles, the onstage members of RAIN are not only supreme musicians, but electrifying performers in their own right.

    Become a fan of RAIN on Facebook, follow RAIN on Twitter @raintribute, Instagram: @RainTribute and YouTube:

    Wednesday at 7:30 PM
    Thursday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM
    Friday at 7:30 PM
    Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM
    Sunday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM


    Individual tickets for RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles at the Bank of America Theatre range from $35-$75.  A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at For more information, visit

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    ChiILin' With The March of Dimes MoD Squad #imbornto #MoDSquad #TBT #ThrowbackThursday #ad

    Born to Blog

    Everyone's born to do something amazing. What's your super power?

    #TBT Bonnie age 1 
    #imbornto be curious & creative

    Disclosure: It's our pleasure to partner up with The Motherhood and March of Dimes.We have been compensated for sharing this campaign with our readers. As always, all opinions are our own. 

    Back when I was born, in the late 60's, blogging didn't exist. Heck, we didn't even have microwaves, Blu-ray players (or even VCRs). Computers were astronomical and ginormous, and cell phones were science fiction. I LOVE to see the TBT/ Throwback Thursday posts my friends and family put on Facebook and Twitter weekly, so we can time travel like Dr. Who's Tardis. Speaking of Dr. Who, the iconic and still running BBC show predated me, but Facebook and Twitter were decades from development. My daughter recently asked me if cars and telephones had been invented yet, in my childhood. Yes... Yes, they had. I'm not quite THAT old.

    #TBT Bonnie age 5 #imbornto be a big sister, always growing, teaching and learning too

    Back then I wanted to grow up to be a deep sea diver. And in elementary school when I did a report on wanting to be a reporter or a news anchor, I was told girls couldn't do that! Ditto for drumming. Thankfully my own son and daughter (now 14 & 12) live in more enlightened times-- My daughter's playing drums on stage at Girls Rock Camp for the 2nd year this summer. Still, a startling number of kids in the US are born prematurely, and need extra care, support and funds to reach their dreams and grow up healthy.

    #TBT Bonnie now & at ages 1, 2, 3. I can't wait to see what my kids are born to do! Maybe it hasn't been invented yet.

    Some of my dreams have morphed and changed over the years. I'm all good not drumming and diving. And I adore writing and using my influence for social good, instead of reporting the nightly news. ChiIL Mama's elated to be chosen as one of just 39 mom bloggers nationwide, representing the 39 weeks of a full term pregnancy. Together we're the Mod Squad, and we're spreading the word about The March of Dimes and how you can help! Check back with us early and often from April through June and follow along on the #imbornto hashtag. 

    ChiILin' with ChiIL Mama 
    Click here to check out our photo filled feature on ChiIL Mama's "I'm Born To" Pajama Party in the Park in Chi, IL.

    Our friend, Sandia, lovin' her 
    March of Dimes pups 

    ChiIL Mama's seriously stoked to be a part of this three-month social media program with a team of 39 “MoDSquad” mom bloggers and a team of dad bloggers, too. The I'm Born To campaign is designed to raise awareness of March of Dimes’ important work and programs that improve the lives of babies and families everywhere. These guys are the pros on preemies and they have over 75 years of staying power.

    In our first few weeks we attended a virtual briefing, rocked a Twitter Party, and partied it up in person with our Chi, IL friends and loads of awesome goodies from businesses that have partnered with March of Dimes. 

    ChiIL Mama had a blast finding out how our friends complete I'm born to... and giving away lots of adorable goodies from March Of Dimes' partners ALEX AND ANIKmartMud Pie, & Bon-Ton!! All are donating a percentage of their proceeds from sales to March of Dimes. 

    Help Out

    Father’s Day, Graduation Season and Wedding Season are great excuses to shop it up and help out. March of Dimes has partnered with businesses that want to help babies. Want to help out? There's lots you can do to help from the comforts of home. 

    Mud Pie – will donate $2 to the #imbornto campaign for every Bella Bar, Mom Bar and Mommy and Me jewelry item purchased for Mother’s Day. In addition, Mud Pie will donate 10¢ from each baby headband or sock purchase to the March of Dimes throughout the year.

    Bon-Ton (and sister stores) – This May, with any $75 fragrance purchase for Mom (or yourself), you can receive a fragrance atomizer for just $1, filled with your choice of fragrance. 100% of the atomizer purchase will benefit the March of Dimes. Starting April 30 when you donate $3, you’ll receive a $10-off coupon for your purchase of $25 or more. Or shop online, donate $3 and receive 25% off!

    Martha Stewart – Join the #THX2U movement and share your appreciation of Mom with the world. Upload a baby picture of your child, grandchild, or yourself using the hashtag #THX2U, and $10 of the Emeril/MSLO/Meredith donation will be recognized for each uploaded photo in support of the imbornto campaign.

    eBay – Visit eBay’s Charity Shop for Mother’s Day gifts where proceeds from your purchase support the March of Dimes. Also, from May 4 – 11 you will be able to make a donation to the March of Dimes at checkout when making purchases on eBay.

    A&E Jewelers – will donate 20% of the price of each twinkling Swarovski encrusted sterling silver March of Dimes Enchanted “Healthy Beginnings” Necklace available in three stone options.

    Alex and Ani – will donate 20% of the purchase price* from each Special Delivery Charm Bangle sold, with a minimum donation of $25,000, between March 2015 and December 2015, to the March of Dimes.

    Kmart – Now through June 20, 2015 Kmart, the #1 March of Dimes fundraiser for more than 30 years, will donate $1 from the in-store or online purchase of each puppy figurine to the March of Dimes (minimum donation of $30,000). Kmart and the March of Dimes are proud to work together for stronger, healthier babies.

    We already know many people who have walked for March of Dimes and donated time and/or money over the years. Now you can do your part by shopping at one or more of these merchants, donating, or taking part in partner promotions to support the cause. Visit to learn more about special offers from all of their partners.

    #imbornto be a videographer, photographer, interviewer, and agent of change.

    I'm born to be a daughter and a mother, and leave the world a better place through my words, influence & actions. My parents were born in 1938 (Just like March of Dimes). Think of the monumental changes, inventions, advancements and innovations that have occurred in their lifetimes!

    What are you & your kids born to do? Only time will tell.

    About March of Dimes
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded The March of Dimes in 1938 to combat polio and they succeeded. In the decades to follow, they never stopped protecting the health of America’s children. March of Dimes-funded research has saved millions of babies from death or disability. New research offers hope for treatments and preventions for serious problems, like birth defects and premature birth.

    Today, the March of Dimes is inspired by all babies – those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. These babies are the millions of reasons behind our urgent mission and why the March of Dimes:
    supports all important research into the causes and preventions for premature birth and birth defects
    fights for health insurance for all pregnant women and children
    pushes for expanded newborn screening that could save lives and prevent disabilities
    reaches out to women with healthy pregnancy information and services
    provides comfort and information to families with a newborn in intensive care

    Disclosure: Once again, it's our pleasure to partner up with The Motherhood and March of Dimes. We have been compensated for sharing this campaign with our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.