Archive for October 2012

Meet the Backyard Monsters (now invading the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

Meet the Backyard Monsters (now invading the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)
Did you know that over one billion insects populate the planet? Talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum just welcomed a new exhibit call Backyard Monsters that celebrates these little (and not-so-little) buggers. The exhibit features larger than life robotic creatures and nine species of live insects. the objective of Backyard Monsters is to inspire visitors to look at insects in a whole new way. Backyard Monsters offers the opportunity to...

Hooray for Harold and the Purple Crayon

Hooray for Harold and the Purple Crayon
Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a popular bedtime story pick at our house. In fact, my husband has declared that this book was his childhood favorite and it was the first children's book we purchased when we were expecting our daughter 8 1/2 years ago. So needless to say, expectations were high for the Chicago Children's Theatre's rendition of Harold and the Purple Crayon at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts when we went to check it out last week. We've been lucky to see a number of performances courtesy of The Chicago Children's Theatre (most recently Goodnight Moon) -- and this group consistently delivers high quality children's theatre (that mom and dad truly enjoy as well). In case you are new to the the story of Harold and his adventures, let me get you up to speed. Harold is a curious four year old boy dressed in super cute pjs. Armed with his trusty purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. When Harold wants to go on a walk in the moonlight, he finds there is no moon. So Harold draws one. When he has nowhere to walk, Harold draws his own path. Along the way he encounters dangerous dragons, embarks on a perilous sea voyage in a trim little boat, takes a hot air balloon ride, and enjoys a nine-pie picnic. When he grows tired, Harold draws himself back to his own bedroom. Chicago Children's Theatre's Chicago premiere of Harold and the Purple Crayon stars Nate Lewellyn (Harold), and Alex Goodrich and Bethany Thomas. This performance features Goodrich and Thomas as "storytellers" who embark on this creative journey with Harold. I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this departure from the story. While I understand that the charter of Harold needed other people to interact with on stage, the other two performers were often way more entertaining and engaging than Harold himself. We absolutely love Alex Goodrich from his work in previous shows and his performance is once again the real stand out. The scenery is the other show stealer. We all loved how the set really brought the story to life as Harold used his larger-than-life purple crayon to create purple images across the stage. My kids were marveling at the special effects here. In addition to the cool set and inventive costuming, the live music was another real treat. We took advantage of the pre-show pizza party (offered for select performances) and my kids also enjoyed the program books full of activities (and complete with a purple crayon naturally) almost as much as the show. Other pre-show activities included the chance to draw on butcher block paper attached to the wall of the theatre. The one-hour run time was about as long as my kiddos could handle on school night. They were wiped out by the end of it. The performers hung out in the lobby after the show and did an amazing job of interacting with the little theatre-goers. Seriously, this is a first-class cultural opportunity for Chicago-area families. Worth every penny...

Get Going Mama! Chicago's First Ever Strollers in the Front Event

Get Going Mama! Chicago's First Ever Strollers in the Front Event
Join us for Chicago’s first ever Strollers in the Front 5K!  I love the premise here: combining fitness with family. What a great way to model healthy living (talk about walking the walk!) Sound like a good fit for your family? Here are the details: Saturday Oct. 27th – Packet Pickup Pre-Party at Little Beans... Read more »
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DO NOT MISS: Mr. Imagine's Toy Store (presented by the Chicago Children's Museum)

DO NOT MISS: Mr. Imagine's Toy Store (presented by the Chicago Children's Museum)
Mr. Imagine's Toy Store is not what you think it is. If you live anywhere near the city, YOU CANNOT MISS THIS EXTREMELY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE with your family. This pop -up shop is an extension of the Chicago Children's Museum and their Unboxed: Adventures in Cardbaord Exhibit. They are using this medium as a way to celebrating kid's unbridled creativity (love this). There are two ways children can experience cardboard through Chicago Children’s Museum: at Mr. Imagine’s Toy Store at 1371 N. Milwaukee Ave. and at the museum’s newest exhibit, Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard. At Unboxed, which runs until May 5, 2013, children can explore the magnificence of cardboard by climbing on a nine-foot-tall cardboard Giant, crawling through the cardboard maze or creating their own cardboard creation at the cardboard studio (add this to the long-term to-do list). But Mr. Imagine's Toy Store is only open until this Sunday. This place is oozing creativity. I stopped by late Monday afternoon with my three kids (ages 8, 6 and 3). They had the time of their lives and I had to drag them out the door to go home and have dinner. We walked out with a "dog named Puppy," a tool box and a bird of many, many feathers (complete with a functioning beak)...

The American Cheese Revolution is coming to Chicago

The American Cheese Revolution is coming to Chicago
We eat a lot of cheese at our house. Lots of it. But not all cheeses are created equally (obviously). And many cheeses are full of processed gunk that isn't good for kids (or their parents for that matter). For this reason, we buy a lot of Organic Valley cheese (and other dairy).  If you are an Organic Valley fan, there is a local opportunity to learn more about their products and health initiatives. Organic Valley’s American Cheese Revolution Tour, http://www.AmericanCheeseRevolution.com, a multi-city mobile tour and online pledge drive inviting parents to demand real food for real kids, is headed to Chicago October 19-21. Chicago foodies and families are invited to meet up with the tour to sample grilled cheese sandwiches, play in the photo booth and sign the Real Food Pledge. Organic Valley has committed to donate $1(up to $25,000) for each signature to Healthy Child Healthy World...

Twinkle Twinkle Little One Grand Opening Party (this is something to see my friends)

Twinkle Twinkle Little One Grand Opening Party (this is something to see my friends)
There are many places to buy baby furnishings and gifts in the greater Chicago area. But they are not all created equal. I wish that I could go back and tell myself (as a first-time mom) to shop at Twinkle Twinkle Little One. I made many, many mistakes when I looking to outfit my nursery when I was expecting my daughter in 2004. Rachel Glasson, owner of the two Chicago-area Twinkle Twinkle Little One locations would have been a great resource to me as I was investing large sums of money on very girly, babyish pieces of furniture and baby gear in anticipation of my daughter's arrival. Rachel and her staff would have been able to help me select items that would have been great in my baby's nursery but also could have easily transitioned to other rooms in my house once my babies outgrew them. She would have advised that I not buy everything in pink (because my future children may be boys -- which turned out to be the case). Bottom line: Rachel and her Twinkle Twinkle Little One staff can help you make smart choices in terms of nursery, registry and gift purchases. And they have a price point that will work for you...
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Pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins: The Highwood Great Pumpkin Fest takes place October 18-20

You've probably noticed that there are Halloween events taking place every day and night from now through the end of the month. Halloween is a month. Not a day. Many of these Halloween themed events are similar (think pumpkin patches, costumes contests and too much candy). But only one local Halloween event is trying to win another a Guinness World Record. The Highwood Great Pumpkin Fest 2012 (October 18-20), is going to be the biggest and best Halloween Fest the world has ever seen (so they say). Organizers anticipate over 60,000 people heading to Highwood for this 3-day festival. Highwood will be attempting to break a new “lit-pumpkin” record by lighting more than 32,000 jack-o-lanterns in one location; they will surpass the highest number of people simultaneously carving pumpkins (the current record is 965 participants); and they will win the title of “longest line of pumpkin pies” by lining up more than 800 pumpkins. This jam=packed event also features pumpkin bowling, costume contests and a “land regatta” where townspeople race 200-300 pound pumpkins on a 150-yard course (now that is something I'd like to see)...

Lycée Français de Chicago’s 8th Annual French Fall Market

 Lycée Français de Chicago’s 8th Annual French Fall Market
Last fall, my husband and I took a quick trip to Paris for our tenth wedding anniversary. One of my favorite parts of the trip was strolling through the open air markets and checking out the wares. The closest that you are going to come to that experience in Chicago is The Lycée Français de... Read more »