Not heading off to a tropical island locale for the holidays this year? No Colorado ski trip in your future? Just planning on hanging here in Chicago admist the snow drifts and sub zero temps? Well then you are definitely going to need some ideas on fun things while the kiddos are out of school.... Read more »
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 »
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...
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. ...
As money seems to literally be flying out of my bank account as I tackle my very long holiday gift list, I find myself looking for ways to take advantage of free or low-cost holiday activities. You too? The great news is that there is certainly no shortage of free or inexpensive things to fill our holiday calendar. Riding the CTA with Santa? Check. A magical evening at Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo? Wouldn't miss it. Christmas caroling at "The Bean" in Millennium Park? Can't wait...
Things have been really quiet around here. Sorry about that. The truth is that we’ve been so busy enjoying all of the fabulous holiday activities around town that I haven’t had time to blog about any of them. Last year, my husband was out of town for work for much of the holiday season and... Read more »
With the cold weather this holiday weekend, I imagine that you are looking for some indoor family fun. We went over to check out Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier this morning. Overall, I thought that it was a fun event (kind of like an indoor version of Kiddieland). My three and five year-olds ran around... Read more »
I am taking a little blogging break for the next ten days or so. With all that my family has scheduled for the coming week, I don’t think that I am going to have much time for blogging (and since your week is no doubt similarly packed, you likely won’t have much time for blog... Read more »
When I was about eight years-old, my aunt surprised me with a horse-drawn carriage ride down Michigan Avenue. At the time, I thought that the whole experience was positively magical — I still do, really. We snuggled up under a blanket and clip-clopped slowly through the streets. I was totally captivated by the sights and... Read more »