Archive for August 2012

Scenes from our Chicago Staycation

Hanging out in our room in the Swissotel.
We live in the city and are lucky to frequent many "downtown" destinations like Navy Pier and the Museum Campus fairly regularly (in fact, this is a large part of why we chose to raise our kids in the city). So why would we need to spend a night in a hotel downtown just a couple of miles from our actual home? This was my cab driver's question to me as we traveled back to our real home in Wicker Park from the Swissotel after a one-night Giles Family Staycation last weekend...

The case for active (big and little) girls

The case for active (big and little) girls
On many, many days, I don my "lululemon uniform."  I've invested in a couple of basic lululemon pieces (a tank, zip-up jacket, cute headband and a pair of basic black yoga pants that I've had for almost five years). Sometimes I wear this outfit to a Dailey Method class. Other times I sleep in it and roll out of bed to drive the kids to school in my "uniform" (they wake up super early -- don't judge). This outfit has seen me through pregnancy and postpartum pudge. The clothes hold their fit and are super comfortable. This is my "uniform" on casual days and I am sticking with it. However, I mostly wear it because I feel like being dressed to exercise makes me more likely to actually exercise. Like most kids, I was active everyday when I was younger -- playing basketball, volleyball and tearing it up in our neighborhood afterschool every day. Like many other busy adults, my work and family responsibilities seem to eat up most of my time and on most days, I am not as active as I'd like to be (Note: I am running around like a crazy person all day long; I'm just not necessarily raising my heart rate and breaking a sweat)...

Home Sweet School: Chicago homeschoolers share their stories

Home Sweet School: Chicago homeschoolers share their stories
Most Chicago-area kids are gearing up for back-to-school. But not all of them. A growing number of family are choosing to homeschool or unschool their kids. I recently interviewed five different Chicago-area families to hear their personal homeschooling stories. Through my interviews, I found that not one of these families fit into any of the... Read more »
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Go on a Farmtastic Foodtrek with Illinois Farm Families

Go on a Farmtastic Foodtrek with Illinois Farm Families
Grocery shopping with kids in tow can be kind of a nightmare. It might not be a nice thing to say . . . but it is unequivocally true. My three kids tend to touch everything in sight as they race around the store asking, "Mom, can we get this??? Please Mom? PLEASE!!" Sometime we're lucky if we get out of there with all of the ingredients we need to actually make dinner. Despite my best intentions when I set off to grab groceries with my brood, these trips often end up being exhausting for all involved. But this is just a fact of every day family life for most moms that I know. However, I also truly believe that all of the hassle associated with these excursions is absolutely worth it. Kids need to accompany mom and dad to the grocery store and the farmers' market so they can learn why we skip the sugar cereal and Twinkies in favor of whole fruits and veggies. They need to understand how a handful of ingredients becomes pesto pasta and why we try to buy in season when we can (both for health and economic reasons). So listen, I definitely get that it isn't always easy to bring your kids along to the store with you . But your weekly grocery run truly is a great chance to get kids interested in meal preparation and making healthy food choices. And it doesn't stop there. Illinois families are fortunate to have opportunities to really make the connection between farm and table by learning more about local agriculture and how it impacts us every single day. To that end, Illinois Farm Families just launched a program that will make shopping with the kiddos a whole lot more interactive and educational (plus you could win a ton of free groceries). This is an opportunity that social media savvy families cannot pass up...

Summer Snapshot Fundraiser (supporting a very good cause)

Summer Snapshot Fundraiser (supporting a very good cause)
On Saturday, August 18 from 9:00 a.m. until noon, two of Chicago’s best photographers are joining forces to host “mini sessions” benefiting the Bryan A. Pumphrey Memorial Fund. Get updated pics of the kiddos courtesy of Bum Bul Bee Photography and Julia Franzosa Photography while supporting a grieving family.  All of the proceeds from this... Read more »

Life in Space? Exhibit at MSI features a model of the Curiosity Rover set to land on Mars on Monday

Life in Space? Exhibit at MSI features a model of the Curiosity Rover set to land on Mars on Monday
The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is always a fun spot for an outing. But on top of all of the usual interesting stuff like the trains, farm exhibit and Idea Factory, the MSI is also featuring a temporary exhibit called Life in Space? through September 30, 2012. This exhibit features a full-scale, NASA_owned model of the Curiosity Rover. Named "Dusty," the model is a life-sized, six-wheeled robotic explorer modeled after the real Curiosity Rover, a 7 foot-tall robot scientist on wheels scheduled to land on Mars on this Monday at 12:31 a.m. CDT. The MSI is one of only two institutions in the world selected by NASA to host a full-scale model of the rover during the landing. The Curiosity has a daunting task:  many previous attempts at landing similar rovers on The Red Planet have been unsuccessful. If the Curiosity makes a successful landing, it has an even more daunting task ahead: this robotic scout is on a mission to discover whether Mars ever harbored life...
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