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Play Dates & Power Lunches Archives

Lisa Loeb Talks Life, Work and Being a Mom

"You say, I only hear what I want to..." You might remember Lisa Loeb, who will be in town performing on June 3 and 4, from her #1 '90s hit, "Stay." It wasn't easy, but I was able to talk to the singer for a few minutes about life, work and being a new mom.

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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a huge deal in the Garcia household, how about yours?

Tonight, why not celebrate with Cinco de Mayo crafts and activities for kids.

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How We Survived Our Spring Break Road Trip.

A few months ago while researching three bedrooms suites anywhere within 6 hours of our home we stumbled upon Traverse City Michigan. So we decided to head North for Spring Break.


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A lesson From Grandma; Teaching Kids About Saving Money

Our six year old daughter came home from a shopping trip with Grandma with a revelation.  She excitedly told me that she wants to earn an allowance. Ok, she had my attention.  

She explained that Grandma had allowed her to purchase a toy, but it had to be $10 or less.  Now, she wanted to start earning money so Grandma wouldn't have to spend her $10, our daughter wanted to be able to buy it herself. 

I thought to myself how nice this was that she wants to use her own money, until the next sentence came out. 

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Free Money Advice Offered at Money Smart Week Chicago 2011

During this economy, everyone needs to be smart about money. Even kids!

Could you live off of $200 per month? I spoke to a 15 year old who does.

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Snacks to stock up on while traveling with kids

Post Valentines Day chocolates are catching up with me and my kids seem to think dessert comes after every meal these days. We are trying to slowly ease off the sweets and munch on carrot sticks and wheat crackers instead. 

Fast food, and snacks offered at gas station often seems too convenient while taking long road trips.  T Hephner, founder and President of Healthy U, Inc. has some tips that will ensure a healthy road trip that will keep your family satisfied.

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Lil Monsters Spotted at United Center, Lady Gaga Look-a-Like

Last night I was at a Monster Ball. Lady GaGa performed for thousands of fans at the United Center. I even saw two "lil monsters", in training. Two and four year year olds were waiting in line father in tow to purchase $40 adult sized t-shirts (I didn't see any for kids) the girls were sporting adorable skirts, homeade t-shirts that read "lil monster" and blonde wigs.

My daughters were at home, tucked in bed. But I was sure to take some photos and video to share (the G rated ones naturally!).

I wouldn't necessarily reccomend a Lady Gaga concert for youngsters, It's hard enough to play some of her music without a lot of questions, but for me- the show was fantastic and one I will not soon forget!  

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Spring Break Family Travel Tips

We have become fans of driving vacations. It's not because we necessarily want to spend hours upon hours in the car but we want to steer clear of the airport. By the time we get everyone and numerous bags to the airport, go through security and spend a long time at the car rental asking for four child seats we've found that it's just simpler to load everyone in the family truckster and hit the road.


 

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Entrepreneurial Father Helps Sooth Worries

It's amazing what a little plastic box can do for a young child. My 6 year old daughter Lorna experiences nightmares at least two nights a week. She also worries a lot about things that seem insignificant to me, but are a huge deal to her.

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Valentine's Day Fun with your Kids

Valentine's Day is a chance for kids to load up on candy hearts and special notes from friends. This is also an opportunity to share your love with a little note and some fun activities. I asked moms to send me some traditions, ideas and creative ways to spread some love.

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Enjoying the Blizzard of 2011 Chicago Style

The blizzard of 2011 has left behind huge snow mounds, and lasting memories for kids of all ages. A blog reader shares her story on how she spent the day off with her kids.



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Looking For Love In Time For Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if you are a single parent without a date, we have some suggestions for you.

Stefanie Safran, founder of Stef and the City, The "Recessionista Matchmaker" has tips on getting a date along with some affordable gift ideas for Valentine's Day.

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Keeping your kids active indoors

Are your kids going stir crazy indoors while the weather outside is frightful? We are heading into a holiday weekend, so it's time to be creative while keeping your kids indoors.

I asked Fitness Trainer and Healthy Lifestyle Coach John Hall to help come up with some ideas on how to keep kids active without pulling out the video games or turning on the tv!

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Stylish Workout Wear- from Super to Super Market

Last year, for the first time in my life I developed something close to an addiction for working out.  I was obsessed with shedding the 30 pounds of baby weight that I had been carrying around while having four children.  Working out is something I enjoy, and results are even more enjoyable.  So it's great that fitness fashions now make it possible to look just as good in the supermarket as you do in the gym.

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Things to add to your 'to do' list this holiday season

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has everyone running for a latte. While many of us working parents know that it is hard to find extra time to actually sit back and enjoy the season, I put together my top ten list of things to do, or at least try. Your kids will love it and you might even surprise yourself! 

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Highlights from the Chicago Toy & Game Fair



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How to survive the holidays without gaining a pound

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Thanksgiving is upon us, and the opportunities to eat, eat and overeat are endless. Beginning on Halloween and not ending until New Year's Day we are surrounded by food and festivities.
With Thanksgiving one week away I was thinking it would be wise to talk to a Healthy Lifestyle Coach about how to avoid pitfalls. 

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Chicago Toy & Game Fair, calling all kids!!

The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is still almost two weeks away, but you can walk into any store and hear the sounds of Jingle Bells, see shiny displays of new holiday lights and decorations.

Why not preview the best toys before making a purchase? This weekend Navy Pier will be flooded with toy enthusiasts of all ages clamoring to find out what the hottest new toys and games are, see Star Wars characters, sports mascots and maybe even get a ride in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

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Planning for your childs college education

While recently purchasing a $4.15 cappuccino I noticed that the tip jar was marked "college tuition fund".
As parents of four young children the thought of paying for college has always been a concern for my husband and I. We opened 529 accounts as soon as their social security cards arrived and have been asking family to contribute in lieu of gifts when possible. But I'm afraid this isn't going to be enough. 

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The Chicago Marathon, and a 'perk' for finishing it!

As 45 thousand race participants, more than 1.5 million spectators and 12, 000 volunteers are gearing up for the biggest running event of the year in less than three days Nike pulls a fast one.
No pun intended, but a really fast one.

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Fall Fashion Tips for working moms from Bobbie Thomas

Chicago was greeted by Today Shows Fashion Editor Bobbie Thomas and while she was in town I had a chance to catch up with her and get answers to some of working moms toughest questions.

Bobbie Thomas


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A new way to track safety recalls.

I recently took our mini-van into Honda for service. They pointed out that I had two recalls and while they fixed them immediately I was a little concerned that they hadn't contacted me to let me know that the brakes were one of the recalls. This is the car that we drive our children around in, and not to mention wouldn't want to harm anyone else on the road.

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What Parents Might Learn from Tinker Bell

My two oldest daughters have been anticipating the release of the latest Disney Tinker Bell Movie, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. While all four of my daughters sat glued to the tv, watching Tinker Bell as she met a human for the first time, I saw a different story unfolding. One where a daughter feels neglected by her father who is a busy scientist always saying "later", "not now honey"...

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The end of summer, brings the first day of school.

Chicago Public Schools are getting ready to welcome lots of smiling faces starting Tuesday, September 7th.

School started two weeks ago where I live and I have to say im still getting into the swing of things. I have one in kindergarten and two in preschool and one baby who will keep me company for the two hours the others are gone.

I will never forget seeing my oldest head into her classroom for the first time.

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Chicago at your feet, proves great fun at any age

The top of the ahem, Willis Tower is a lot different from the days when I visited as a child. Not only is the name different, but the inside of the Skydeck got a facelift. I took the day off of work as I was trying to cling on to the final day of summer vacation and joined the thousands who visit the tower each day.

"It took us two years to come up with and finish the Skydeck. We wanted something that people of all ages would want to come and see" said Skydeck Chicago's General Manager Randy Stancik. "

It has been years since I've been to the top of the Western Hemispher's tallest building now known as the Willis Tower (I grew up with the Sears Tower, something that will date me). I was pleasantly surprised by the new look and feel at the top. The General Manager at Skydeck Chicago Randy Stancik. The Ledge, an exhilarating new experience to the tower has a unique edge "it's four retractable glass ledges, on the west side of the building. It gives the illusion that you are floating. Basically, you have an inch of glass between you and 1,353 feet before Wacker Drive". I wasn't sure how my kids were going to react, so I included the photos which speak louder than words.

The "updated" Skydeck includes a family restroom and interactive learning resources on the newly launched website.  You'll find coloring pages, and a scavenger hunt just to name a few.

 

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Bebe Paluzza hits Chicago! Time-saving tools for parents

As a busy working mom with four kids in tow, I am always searching for new time saving tools that will somehow make my life seem easier. I have some of them listed here, but you can see them all for yourself at the first Bebe Paluzza expo is this weekend in Chicago. More than 125 exhibitors with the latest products and services for parents and children as well as family-friendly entertainment, games and activities will be under one roof! This is a multi-multi-taskers dream right?

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Finding the Best Childcare for Your Family's Needs

Since having children nearly six years ago, my husband and I have conducted nearly 100 interviews with various childcare providers, mainly nanny's and occasional babysitters. Nearly two years ago, I spent more time scheduling babysitters for our kids than freelancers for my business.

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Preparing for My First Triathlon

I find myself thinking all the time that If I just had one or two more hours in a day I might have a chance to get everything done. This is not the case when you add additional training to juggling four small children, a full-time job and a family schedule. 
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A family on the move

Waking up at the crack of dawn, lacing up a pair of running shoes and heading out into the sunrise is something my husband has been doing since he was on the cross country team in Junior High.

I was introduced to running while dating my husband, and I'm grateful he encouraged me to run two marathons and a few half marathons years before our children were born. Once our first daughter arrived however, our runs changed.

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Why not Tri, while trying to find a job?

It started in January at a company holiday party where a new mom was gushing about how her husband was giving her this year to train and compete in a race of her choice. My husband and I nodded and smiled. Later that week my husband told me that I should take this year to accomplish a goal of my own.

I didn't have any goals in mind at the time but over the last few weeks I caught the tri bug. I decided to go ahead and sign up for a sprint distance triathlon. I just didn't know which one would be the one for me so I surfed the internet looking for the perfect fit. 


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Apparently not all mini vans are created equal

You can see how much your life has changed based on the type of car you are driving.

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National Spa Week is calling your name!

If your day consists of non-stop meetings at work, followed by screaming and crying children at home, it is time to take time for yourself. This week is National Spa Week. Yep, an excuse to take some time and pamper yourself and your loved ones.

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