Archive for November 2012

'Tis the Season for the Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker

'Tis the Season for the Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker
This season, The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker in a 22-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (50 E. Congress Parkway) from December 7 – 27, 2012. This performance has become a favorite part of our holiday routine (along with a trip to Zoo Lights and riding the CTA Holiday Train). My daughter Ellie is a devoted Nutcracker fan. We play the soundtrack frequently during the holidays -- usually leading to kitchen dance parties and the kids do their best Mother Ginger or Sugar Plum Fairy impersonations. She and I are excited to check out the show on opening night. If you are unfamiliar with the story, here is the abbreviated version: Following a lively party on Christmas Eve, familiar characters Clara and the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer embark on a magical adventure, encountering a battle between toy soldiers and legions of mice (where Clara unexpectedly saves the day), before being whisked away with the Nutcracker Prince to an enchanted forest by the elegant Queen and King of Snow, then being delighted by an exotic array of dancing confections from the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy.  Joffrey Ballet Co-Founder Gerald Arpino also contributed to Robert Joffrey’s version, having choreographed the Land of the Snow scene, which closes Act I, and the Waltz of the Flowers in Act II. The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, provides live accompaniment of the classic Tchaikovsky score for every performance.  The full Joffrey company is joined onstage by 118 young dancers from the Chicagoland area – dancing as Party Girls and Boys, Polichinelles (Mother Ginger’s children), Battle Mice and Mounted Mice, Soldiers, Snow Tree Angels and Dolls – and young vocalists from five different local children’s choirs perform the choral parts from the magical Snow Scene, including singers from the Barrington Children’s Choir, the Jones College Prep High School Treble Choir, the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Choir of Chicago Children’s Choir, the Pro Musica Youth Chorus and the Providence-St. Mel School Choir.  The choirs also delight audiences with popular seasonal selections in the Auditorium Theatre's main lobby one half-hour prior to curtain and during intermissions at every performance. ...

Chicago Kids Speak Out: The State of the City (according to them at least)

Chicago Kids Speak Out: The State of the City (according to them at least)
Our kids have tons of interesting things to say. But we adults aren’t always listening (I am super guilty of this). I wrote a story for the November issue of Chicago Parent where I interviewed 12 Chicago-area kids between the ages of 7 and 14 to learn more about what they thought about their hometown.... Read more »

An American Girl Dream Come True

An American Girl Dream Come True
If you have a daughter, then I don't need to explain the American Girl empire to you. Girls can't get enough of this stuff. At our house, we try to walk a fine line when it comes to the American Girl world. On the one hand, I totally get that my daughter loves the dolls because I was once an eight year-old who loved dolls too. My daughter Ellie is the proud mama of a couple of different American Girl Dolls (which have been gifted to her  -- one from me and two from other family members). She loves these dolls and their ten million accessories. On the one hand, I certainly want her to enjoy these dolls. On the other hand, I also want her to appreciate these are lovely gifts that she is very lucky to have. A trip to the American Girl store is a treat and a big deal. We can't buy Ruthie a new outfit just because. But the thing that many people don't realize is that American Girl is about so much more than just the dolls. There are also the books. Ellie absolutely adores all of the American Girl books. These are the very best part of the American Girl experience (in my motherly opinion). The books explore girls' lives in different time periods in a way that today's readers can relate to.  Ellie has literally flown through dozens of these books from our local library. And she also loves the magazine which features short stories, craft ideas, etc. A couple of weeks ago, Ellie and I were invited to take part in a very special experience that any American Girl enthusiast would love...
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Preparing to do the potty training thing? Meet the Bossy Baby Chronicles

Preparing to do the potty training thing? Meet the Bossy Baby Chronicles
This is my niece Olivia. She is one of the lights of my life (along with the many other little people who make my life better because they are a part of it). I adore her. She is about as cute as any two year-old could be. And the girl is getting ready to do... Read more »