Carving Out Some Mom Time – 3 Ideas for a Mom’s Night Out

As part of a sponsored blog campaign for Quaker Oats I was asked to share how I carve out some Mom time, which immediately got me thinking about how I’m overdue for planning a Mom’s Night Out with friends. I firmly believe that Moms need a break every now and then to relax, cut loose, and make time for the things that they enjoy most. Carving out time for myself keeps me sane and more importantly it keeps me happy. My kids know that a “Happy Mom means a Happy Home.” For me, relaxing means reading and connecting with fellow Moms. That’s why I love Mom’s Night Out! (Dads need a night out too, but they can write their own article.)

A night where I don’t have to wash dishes, cut someone’s meat, wash gym clothes, or clean up spills is heaven. A night where I can laugh at my situation, find sympathy, or get advice from fellow Moms is almost better than chocolate. I love my family greatly but the sheer fact that I can go out and talk ABOUT my family with friends makes me a healthier, happier Mom.

The biggest tip I have to carving out time for yourself is to plan your “Mom Moments.” I sound anal when I say this (and trust me, I am not the poster child for the organized Mom) but I write my Mom time activities down in my daily planner so that I don’t schedule anything over them and they’re treated as an important engagement. I’m so used to writing down my work engagements and family schedules which can quickly fill up the calendar. So, I found that I have to also write down “appointments” for when I’m going to work out at the gym, take some time to garden on the weekends, and since I work from home, I even write in my lunch time where I get to read a juicy novel while eating. I definitely plan a Mom’s Night Out every other month. This way I have no excuses for why I didn’t take some time for myself to create happy moments.

To me, happiness comes in moments, which is why I called this site Chocolate Cake Moments. Happiness just can’t be a permanent state. Life throws us too many curve balls. So planning these Mom time activities and even your family fun activities will help to create more happy Chocolate Cake Moments – where we are smiling, relaxed, and savoring life – giving us an overall sense of happiness.

Now that I’m done preaching to the choir about how important it is to take time for yourself, I say it’s time to plan a Mom’s Night Out! Here are 3 of my favorite ideas for a fabulous Mom’s Night Out.

1. Cooking Class – You’re talking, laughing, learning something, and eating great food. Sounds like a perfect night to me. If you don’t already have a favorite place for cooking classes, ask your friends what they recommend or look online. Some Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table stores have cooking classes. You can even have a private chef come to your house and teach the class in a more comfortable setting.

2. Wine Tasting – Do you have a local winery or gourmet wine shop in your area? Call and see if they will give you a tour or a mini wine tasting class. You can even plan your own wine tasting party at home. Have everyone bring their favorite bottle of wine to keep the cost down.

3. Tea Party – A Mom’s Night Out doesn’t have to be a night time activity. If your evening schedules are booked then meet your friends for brunch, lunch or an afternoon tea party. One of my favorite Holiday traditions is a Holiday Tea with friends. I look forward to it every year. But you don’t need to wait until the Holiday Season. Dust off your tea pots and host a Summer Tea Party. Here’s an article with easy ideas to plan your own tea party. Quaker Oats Chocolate Chip Cookies are an easy and tasty snack to put out for your tea party. Made with whole grain Quaker oats, Quaker® Chocolate Chip Cookies have the power of Quaker in a delicious cookie.

For more fun ideas, check out my collection of ideas for Mom’s Night Out on Pinterest.

Moms need a break every now and then to relax, cut loose, and make time for the things that they enjoy most. So, grab your friends, have some fun and rejuvenate your spirit with 3 ideas to plan your next Mom’s Night Out.

Quaker® Chocolate Chip Cookies allow me to be indulgent while still providing the power of Quaker® oats to fuel me for whatever the rest of the day might hold.

Share how you celebrate your me-time and go to Everyday Health for more fun stories.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Tags: Mom's Night Out

Moms Night Out – A Holiday Tradition

Holiday Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

Holiday Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

You know Holiday Traditions don’t always have to be about family. One of my favorite traditions is a Mom’s Night Out. For a few years now, three of us girl friends have been getting together in December to have Holiday Tea. So civilized! Chicago has some amazing places for tea – the Drake Hotel, the Peninsula Hotel, the Russian Tea Room. We meet, drink, eat and exchange some gifts. I dig the champagne, exotic teas, and the cute little sweet tray. I look forward to it every year. (While the food is better at the Peninsula, I like the Drake best for it’s traditional decor.)

Here are some other ideas for outings with your bestest Mom friends. Take some time for yourself during the Holiday Season to unwind and recharge. After all, if Mommy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

1. Shopping Spree – Kill two birds with one stone and organize an outing to get your Holiday shopping done. Head on over to that new Mall you’ve been dying to visit. Or take the train and go to the big stores downtown. It’s always more fun when you have someone helping you shop for those impossible people on your list.

2. Cookie Swaps – Do you and your friends like to bake? Get a cookie swap going this year. has all the tips on How to Host a Cookie Swap. Stand around the kitchen with some cookie dough martinis and bake up a storm. Put on some music and dance while you’re at it. (Make sure your husband takes the kids to the movies. You don’t want them to die of shame while you boogie and sing.)

3. Holiday Wine Tasting – Do you have a local winery or gourmet wine shop in your area? Call and see if they will give you a tour or a mini wine tasting class. You can tell your hubby that you are going to find the perfect wine for Holiday dinner but we all know you are going for the fun. They may even have little snacks. Bonus!

4. Nutcracker Ballet – I love the Nutcracker Ballet. We are lucky in Chicago to have the Joffrey Ballet perform the Nutcracker every year. I’ve seen numerous versions and noboby does it better than Joffrey. I fortunately have a husband who doesn’t mind going to the ballet with me. However, many of my friends don’t. So, this is the perfect excuse to get together with the girls and get your sugar plum fairy fix.

5. Cooking Class – Another option for a fun evening out with the gals is a cooking class. If you don’t already have a favorite place for cooking classes, ask your friends what they recommend or look online. Some Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table stores have Holiday themed cooking classes. You can even have a private chef come to your house and teach the class in a more comfortable setting. Learn how to make killer Holiday desserts or New Years Eve party appetizers.

What do you like to do on your Mom’s Night Out?

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Tags: Friday Night Fun · Holiday Traditions · Mom's Night Out

Chicago Moms! Watch Sex in the City 2 for Charity

Alison at told me about a great Moms Night Out Event coming up on June 3rd in Chicago. Cosmos, hors d’eovres, swag bags, and a private showing of the new Sex in the City 2 Movie! And, it benefits the Neighborhood Parents Network. What more could you ask for? There are only a few seats left but grab your Momfriends and plan for a fun night out in the City.

Here are the details:
Join the Sassy Moms Give Back NPN Fundraising Reception hosted at Old Town Social on June 3rd.

Mingle with fellow Sassy Moms and raise awareness for Neighborhood Parents Network while enjoying Absolut Cosmos and gourmet hors d’ oeuvres provided by Old Town Social prior to a private showing of the new Sex and the City 2 movie!

Who will be there? Sassy Moms in Chicago – NPN Members and Non-Members (expectant moms, moms of babies, toddlers and school aged children are welcome!)

Where? Old Town Social and AMC River East 21

When? June 3rd. Reception at Old Town Social – (5:00 – 7:00 PM)
Sex and the City 2 at AMC River East 21 (7:30 pm*) *Movie time is subject to change.

What will it cost? Reception & Movie: $60 per person (roundtrip private transportation will be provided from Old Town Social to AMC River East on 322 East Illinois Street, Chicago IL 60611.)

What will I get? A night out with the girls, cosmos, passed hors d’ oeuvres, swag bag, (1) ticket and entrance to a private theater just for Sassy Moms, private roundtrip transportation to theater and access to fabulous prizes!

Why should I go? Neighborhood Parents Network needs our help raising awareness and funds for their new website launching this fall. The website will be totally revamped, user-friendly and have fabulous new features members have been requesting for years!

Space is limited, reserve your spot today! Click here to register If the event is sold out when you register, please contact Alison Ray at to be added to the waitlist.

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Tags: Cool Finds · Mom's Night Out

Mom’s Night Out at Nacional 27

I just had a blast at a recent Girls Night Out event in Chicago that I think Moms need to walk…, no, run to sign up for. A good friend of mine organizes a Girls Night Out event every quarter for an ecclectic and fascinating group of professional women. (Everyone needs a friend who actually plans and organizes some fun. If you don’t have one, go out and get yourself one.) We have tried some very fun activities in town like the Chicago Chocolate Tours, Pops for Champagne Happy Hour, and the Sex in the City movie. But, last week’s outing was spectacular.

nacional 27 logo

We went to Nacional 27 in Chicago for one of their mixology workshops. Adam Seger, the restaurant’s Chief Mixologist, conducts a workshop on how to mix some very spectacular, exotic cocktails. He uses all kinds of fresh herbs and fruits in the cocktails, so I think I learned more about organic produce that I did about alcohol, which is not a bad thing.

Last Thursday, the workshop theme was peaches. We made the most fabulous Peach Bellini with Ginger syrup and fresh lemon thyme that they grow in little pots on the bar.
Nacional 27 bar
He used Red Indian Peaches, which I had never heard of, and the smell was outstanding. As one guest said “They should make a candle that smells like this.” (I’m sure they do, I’m just not on THAT mailing list, yet.”)

The second drink was a Peach Caipirinha, which is a knock off from the infamous Brazilian drink. When I lived in Argentina, we visited Brazil several times and I’ve had my share of caipirinhas. This my friend, is no caipirinha. (If you have never had one, they are stronger than Everclear,but with a lovely hint of lime. Don’t have more than one!!!!! Seriously, it’s not pretty.)

This Peach Caipirinha was outstanding. Way better than the “real” thing. They didn’t even use cachaca, the Brazilian sugar cane alcohol, so the kick wasn’t all that strong either. We had fun muddling limes, two kinds of peaches and some fresh herbs in the glass. Adam then added some sweetner and rum. He toppped it off with fresh lavender which smelled heavenly.

During this educational workshop, servers bring around some wonderful appetizers to keep you from getting too smashed and to entice you to stay for dinner. It worked on us!

Afterwards, they had salsa dancing lessons so a few of us tried to shake our Anglo thangs on the dance floor. Our dance instructor was lovely and very, very patient. We had a blast.

Here’s the best part. The mixology class with 2 fabouslously exotic drinks, appetizers and salsa dancing lessons was only $20 a person! We stayed for dinner and had even more fun. Moms, get this on your calendars. Grab your girlfriends, get a sitter, and plan a fun night out in Chicago. Although there was no chocolate involved, this was definitely a Chocolate Cake Moment for me.

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Tags: Mom's Night Out · Moms Living Out Loud

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