Doesn’t a family mini golf tournament sound like a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon? That’s our plan for Sunday, September 8, 2013. Join me and my gang at the Kids’Work Back-to-School Bash and Mini Golf Tournament. We are asking for a small donation from each family to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This community event will include:... Read more »
Four years ago, I wrote this post
(decide to stick with the same title cause I really liked it the first time around) about my first BlogHer Conference
experience in Chicago.
Once again, the city is about to be invaded by the internet-loving, swag-seeking, Pinterest Pros otherwise known as mommy bloggers.
I've been thinking about how my blogging is different now from what I was doing four years ago when the last BlogHer conference was in Chicago. Four years ago, I mostly wrote a personal blog about my family and I had just started Wee Windy City
. For me (and I know many others in similar situations), blogging now is really less about the actual blog and more about the social media platforms used to amplify posts and generate page views and interaction -- and then the other opportunities that those interactions lead to. Similarly, the BlogHer Conference is really less about the actual conference and more about all of the surrounding stuff that goes with it...
Looking for something fun to do this Friday? Ooh, Ooh! I’ve got a good idea for you. Bring your babe (or toddler or preschooler) to Open Books for a Story Time Festival sponsored by Bump Club and Beyond with all proceeds benefitting Open Books and More Than Milk. I am going to be there around... Read more »
I wanted to tell you about a fun event that I am a part of this Saturday, January 26. Join me at the babyGap on Sheffield at 11:00 for a special story time and shopping event! This fun event for families is in honor of the new limited-edition collection for babyGap inspired by world famous... Read more »
When the holiday hoopla and the new toy excitement die down, your kids will still be on holiday break from school. I’ve learned the hard way that it behooves you to make a plan ahead of time and figure out ways to keep the troops entertained during what can frankly be a long week. Here... Read more »
I always come into December full of energy and optimism that the holiday season is going to be a quiet, peaceful time of family togetherness. By the first weekend in December, it always becomes clear to me that this holiday season is going to be a jam-packed, crazy one just like the year before it.
This month gets absolutely nuts. Between family commitments and special holiday school activities, I feel like the December days fly by me. That being said, I do make an effort to make sure that we make the time to hit up some of our favorite Chicago holiday spots. These unique experiences are only here for a couple of weeks so you gotta get on it!
Here is my list of absolute must-do local holiday highlights for families (you've still got time to catch all of these fun things before Christmas arrives)...
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. ...
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...
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...
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 »