Top 5 Ways to Beat out the Winter Blues

tracieOriginally published on BEST MOM WANNABE by Tracie Main; Actress, Writer, Mom. You can follow Tracie’s BEST MOM WANNABE blog by visiting

Moms, are you feeling a little blue lately? If so, you’re not alone. My dog once loved to play outside and now he wants nothing to do with it. He likes to do his business quick, get back inside and burrow under a blanket.

The weather is even too cold for dogs. It is the time of year that many people consider relocating to a warmer state, or at the least desire a trip down south. There’s only one reason for this type of thinking, the current subzero temps, and we have yet to see the worst of it. We’re stuck here until Spring, which arrives in 58 more days. So how does one survive the unbearable cold, stay hopeful and fight off the winter blues?

The only way is to gear up and fight back! Here are the TOP 5 WAYS to fight off the winter blues!

1. Stay active and keep that heart pumping. Join a health club and work out, being amongst other active people is a great motivator and mood lifter. Most health clubs have an indoor pool, which kids love and it’s a nice way to be reminded of what’s coming our way.

2. Embrace the cold! Gear up and get outside. Build a snowman, go sledding, ice-skating, take a sleigh ride or go skiing. There’s plenty of fun outdoor things to do and some of it’s free. Just make sure you bundle up. Is all of this making you feel chilly?

3. Warm-up and explore the inside of your city! Get lost in a library, go to the theater, or visit a museum. You’ll be amazed at the things you can learn!

4. Nothing feels better than being productive. Why not spring clean early and clean out the closets or organize that dreaded basement of yours. Take advantage of the not-so-nice weather outside by getting things done inside. It’s another great way to stay active and you’ll be the first to play when the weather gets nice.

5. Trick your senses into feeling warm and make yourself an island cocktail. My favorite is a Tropical Blast Smoothie consisting of pineapple and coconut. Drink-up this healthy tropical affair and get a dose of Vitamin D, while sitting in a sunny seat of your house. I’ve included the recipe below, so you can whip up this tasty treat in the comfort of your own home.

Tropical Blast Smoothie

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup milk (coconut, almond or regular)
1/2 cup yogurt (coconut flavored is a bonus)
1 Tbsp coconut flakes (optional, but tasty)
1 cup ice Blend together and enjoy a glass of the tropics!

Try to make the most of your winter and indulge in one of the Top 5 Ways to fight off the winter blues.

xo Tracie

Stressing about your New Year’s Resolution?

tracieOriginally published on BEST MOM WANNABE by Tracie Main; Actress, Writer, Mom. You can follow Tracie’s BEST MOM WANNABE blog by visiting

“The arrival of the New Year is often paired with one big and weighing question, “What is your New Year’s Resolution?”

With that in mind, have you thought about yours? What will you focus on this year? This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot this week. What is my New Year’s Resolution?

I arrived at my answer sitting on the closet room floor with my 5 year-old son, Luke- who thinks his name is cool right now, especially after seeing the new Star Wars movie. When we arrived home from the movie, he quickly ran upstairs to retrieve his Star Wars Encyclopedia; it was given to him last year as a gift for his birthday and remains one of his favorite books. He was lost in space busily flipping through the pages and filling his imagination with pictures of these far-out characters.

I joined him on the floor and read the characters’ names to him, and when we were done, I placed the book on the shelf next to an old box. It was the same box that I had packed up several years ago, but now it took on a new appearance and was covered in a layer of dust. I removed it from the shelf, dusted it off, and opened the box to reveal a treasure trove of things, from Luke’s first pacifier, a clipping from his first haircut and other memorable things.

Luke was simply fascinated with all of his history, and maybe just as much as his Star Wars Encyclopedia.

The passing of time happens.

It just does and there’s nothing we can do about it.

We can try to capture it and secure it in a box, and yet all of this is great to remember and recall, but it also brings upon a feeling of melancholy sadness. I’m not sure why this is- maybe it’s because I’m getting closer to the day that Luke will not need me as much as he does today, which makes me sad. Or maybe it’s because I realize how precious these moments truly are, because they are passing.

It was then and there, that I made my New Years Resolution to make a conscious effort to take hold of the moment and make the most if it while my kids are still small. Time is quickly passing, but we can beat time by using it wisely. This is so very important especially living life with young children. It’s not always easy, because there are often times when I’m distracted and my time is stolen away and in many cases, it’s simply because of my phone- whether I’m surfing the web or scrolling through Facebook. So, this year I’m going to put my phone aside and make a special attempt to take hold of the present. When my kids ask me to play, I’ll play, and when they ask me for ice-cream, I’ll get the cones and have some too! If you have yet to make your New Year’s Resolution, I suggest putting your phone aside too, take hold of the moment, and enjoy the gifts of the present.

May 2016 be your best year yet!”

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Summer Camp: A Golden Time For Everyone

By Scott Buckner

When you’re kid, summer is the best time of the year. Endless sun, endless sunburn, endless knees skinned by sidewalks.

When you’re a parent, though, summer is an endless dilemma: What to do with your kids all day so they stay out of your hair. For those of us who grew up on Chicago’s far southeast side a generation or two ago, the solution was day camp. This wasn’t go-away camp with a hokey native-sounding name like Camp Wegotnomore, which was where wealthy parents in other places packed their kids off to — presumably by yacht, or at least a really swanky school bus — for a huge chunk of the summer. No, city day camp was an all-day affair run by the park district in our own neighborhoods, so it was generally the equivalent of your mom sending you out with a sack lunch and locking all the doors and windows behind you until dinnertime.

IMG_0068Pioneer mom, the day before inventing summer day camp

Of course, the difference between going to day camp and just playing out in the alleys all day dressed like vagabonds was the official camp T-shirt you were expected to wear every day so someone would know who you belonged to in case you wandered off or burned something down, and “structured activities” supervised by counselors. In our neighborhood, “counselor” was simply an official way to say “local big-kid bully.” It was a stroke of hiring-strategy genius, because there’s no better way to keep a small horde of 7-year-olds in line than by taking a crew of overgrown, surly teenagers with questionable home lives and making them authority figures.

Summer day camp was a nice deal for us — mostly because more sooner than later, even the best of alleys run out of interesting things to do in them, and they don’t encourage many skill sets beyond hunting for empty soda bottles and investigating trash cans for anything unusual inside. Arts & Crafts Day (otherwise known as “whenever it rained”) developed our ability to construct a vast variety of things with glitter, popsicle sticks, and Elmer’s Glue-all. Softballs chucked at us by counselors on the ball field built quick reflexes. Swimming in thick clots of algae and seaweed encouraged a curiosity in marine biology, since you never knew what sorts of hidden surprises may have drifted in from upper Michigan or fallen off some ore ship from Czechoslovakia.

However, nothing was more memorable than The Great Lake Michigan Alewife Die-Off of 1967, a true event in Chicago history. The alewife is a slim, silvery fish best described as what you’d get by feeding a sardine too much growth hormone for too long. Virtually every single one of them in Lake Michigan decided to pick the exact same day to die all at once and drift landward belly-up until there were enough of them marinating to high heaven in the blazing July sun to carpet a walk across the water between South Chicago and Gary, Indiana, if you wanted a better way to beat holiday traffic out of town. We, of course, recognized the momentous and rare event this certainly was, and thought swimming with the fishes — dead as they were — was a rare and great gift. Best of all, when you’re a 7-year-old with a secret crush on a girl in your camp, a bloated sardine lofted her way creates its own special Hallmark moment.

Ultimately, summer day camp was a win-win for everyone: We found plenty of new and interesting things to do that weren’t as likely to result in the need for tetanus shots, and our parents got the peace and quiet they probably deserved. It was a golden time for everyone.

A Noah’s Ark Animal Workshop is the perfect summer camp activity — and an excellent alternative to anything involving popsicle sticks and glitter. To find out more on having a Workshop for your camp or organization, contact us at 866-484-6624.