Archive for 2012

What Colin had to say on his 4th Birthday

What Colin had to say on his 4th Birthday
  Time for Colin's birthday interview! I stole this idea from another mom years ago -- and I encourage you to steal it from me. These interviews have been an insightful (and often hysterical) way to capture my little people just as they are at each birthday milestone. Our Colin turned 4 on December 27th (and he was WAAAAY too busy to chat with me for his interview on his big day). Here is what our sweet little guy had to say. Favorites:
  • Breakfast -- Life Cereal
  • Vegetable -- Corn
  • Drink -- Water and hot chocolate
  • Lunch - Mac and cheese and buttered noodles
  • Dinner - Pesto
  • Toy -- My footballs and my basketballs
  • TV Show -- Mickey Mouse Club House, Wild Kratts and Jake and the Neverland Pirates
  • Game --Monopoly and xbox
  • Book -- Books about Mickey Mouse
  • Restaurant- Roots Pizza
  • Holiday - Christmas because I get presents!
  • Animal -- Spiders are my favorite insect and zebras are my favorite animal.
  • Color - Green, blue and red
  • Thing to do at school - Draw pictures for you
  • Sport - Football and basketball.
What do you want for your birthday? Pittsburgh Steeler's pants...

Get crafty with your coffee

Get crafty with your coffee
Truth: Craft projects play an important role in surviving a two-week winter break at home with the kiddos (along with plenty of board games, hot cocoa and occasionally changing out of pajamas and venturing outside for an outing). We came up with a cute craft that the kiddos can create and mom and dad can... Read more »

2013 Parenting Trends

2013 Parenting Trends
Wondering what’s going to be new and exciting for families in 2013? I chatted with some folks who know their stuff  and came up with a list of what trends and innovations families can expect to see in the coming year in everything from fashion to birthday parties. Personally, I am most excited by products... Read more »
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Wee Windy City Winter Break Survival Guide

Assuming we get a little bit more snow in the next few days, we are planning to head over to Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor for some good 'ol sledding. This small hill is perfect for younger kids who are just getting the hang of steering their sleds.
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 »

May Your Days Be Sparkly and Bright

Dr. Scholl's has super cute shoes. I know. This was news to me as well. I love these everyday flats. They add a little something to a basic outfit. They are ridiculously comfortable too (as you would expect from Dr. Scholl's). They are available for $65 here: http://www.drschollsshoes.com/en-US/Product/24058-5187025/Dr.+Scholls/Light+Copper/Womens+Joliet.aspx)
Around this time of year, girls (big and small) really break out the sparkle. Lots and lots of sparkle. Listen, I like sparkle — but folks often go overboard with this trend. For example, sequin dresses or super glittery shoes are hard to pull off. And the older you are, the harder it gets. I... Read more »

Should I give my kids video games for Christmas? Or not?

Should I give my kids video games for Christmas? Or not?
I am not a video game person. My husband is not a video game person. But we find ourselves in a video game dilemma. A couple of weeks ago, we were playing at a friend's house. They had just given their six year-old son an Xbox 360 With Kinect for Hanukkah. This was all new to us. My eight year-old daughter had the time of her life playing football and baseball using their new Xbox 360 with Kinect (which was cool because it just involved them using their bodies and being super active for an hour). I have to confess that I thought it was great. My daughter declared it the best time ever. This experience made me look at video games in a whole new light. In my mind, video games are mindless time sucks that often involve violence. However, the sports game on Xbox Kinect actually seemed like a decent use of time for kids during a long Chicago winter. My husband and I chatted about this a little bit and we thought that this would made a great Christmas present. So he headed off to Best Buy to pick up an Xbox with Kinect system for the kiddos for Christmas as gift from Mom and Dad. And then we started having major doubts...
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Five family holiday must-dos in Chicago

Five family holiday must-dos in Chicago
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)...

'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 »
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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...