Thursday, September 30, 2010

Colin and his luggage

Photo taken with the Hipstamatic iPhone app.

Colin in his car seat with two blankets ("me my-mys") and three bunnies (" me hop hops").
His luggage every where we go.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Me, my wrinkles, and my new personal microdermabrasion tool

When I was in my 20's, I could not understand why women sought out plastic surgery and injected Botox into their faces (only to end up looking totally unlike their former selves). It just seemed crazy to me.

Now that I am . . . let's just say that I am no longer in my 20's, I can understand why women do these things. That's not to say that I plan to follow suit -- I am just saying that I can understand why the decide to do what they do.

The truth is that the idea of plastic surgery or Botox injections completely freaks me out. No matter how wrinkly and saggy I get, I just can't see myself going that route. But that's not to say that I'm just going to sit here and do nothing!

I am a big believer that lifestyle is the key to how you look and feel. Healthy food, lots of water, rest, exercise and managing stress are certainly the keys. There is no magic bullet. But I am also willing to accept a little help here and there.

SkinCareRx (a sponsor of A Hen and Two (now Three) Chicks) offered me the chance to check out their personal microdermabrasion tool. I couldn't resist.

Microdermabrasion is known to improve early texture changes, sun damaged skin, uneven sun freckling, mild acne, and conditions where there is a buildup of dead skin. It sort of feels like you are sanding your skin -- but in a good way.

I haven't had any experience with microdermabrasion so I watched the video that came along with the kit (definitely recommend this). The personal microdermabrasion tool is meant to be used with the M2 Skin Refinish 20% Serum and the M2 Skin Recovery Moisturizer (you definitely need to follow the directions with those).

The tool is really easy to use right from the start. It is literally like giving your face a gentle sanding-- leaving softer skin behind. The directions say to only use the product once a week or so, but I found myself wanted to use it more.

Don't get me wrong -- the results are gradual. I don't have the skin of a 20 year-old or anything. But I have seen an improvement. And I love that I can just do this at home in my own bathroom when I have a few extra free minutes -- it is ideal for busy moms who only dream of regular trips to an esthetician!

Does this sound like something you might want to try out? Take advantage of a 15% discount if you order from SkinCareRx before the end of October. Use the CODE: PMD15Off.

If you order before the end of September (so, like right now), you can get 20% off your order. Use the CODE: MAKEOVER20(and hurry!)

Disclosure: Skin Care Rx provided me with a free personal microdermabrasion tool so I could check it out and let you know my honest opinions (and I've done just that!).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Words of Wisdom from a Toothless First Grader

Eleanor on the loss of her third tooth: "I am really trying to take advantage of having this extra space in my mouth. I am putting all sorts of interesting things in there whenever I can -- like straws or my tongue. Because I know that this space isn't always going to be here. I am so lucky."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marsha's Music Together: A magical, musical experience for the whole family

Despite the fact that neither my husband or I have any musical talent to speak of, all three of our kids love music -- each in their own way.

Ellie is quite the dancer and she is quick to get moving when she hears any sort of music (the girl isn't shy). Brendan likes to hang back and listen intently -- memorizing all of the lyrics while nonchalantly tapping his foot. Little Colin loves a good maraca or shaker and he invariably concludes each song with an uproarious round of applause in celebration of his most excellent performance.

As a mama, I love to see how music awakens a child's enthusiasm, curiosity, and imagination. I love to watch them dance and sing along. I love the smiles on their faces while they are having fun (and learning all sorts of new things at the same time).

For all of these reasons, I have long been a big fan of music classes for kids. There is something sort of magical about gathering together in a room with other parents and kids, sitting on a carpet filled with drums, tambourines, and music-makers in all shapes and sizes and just watching what happens. This experience always makes me feel good (I suspect that the kiddos feel the same way).

Last Sunday, 20 month-old Colin and I met up with my sister and her 5 month-old daughter to try out a Marsha's Music Together class. We gathered together in a comfortable room with other parents and kids. The kind and gentle teacher led us in some familiar (and a few not-so-familiar) tunes. We moved our bodies. We were LOUD and we were very, very quiet. We played with a huge variety of instruments. We had fun making music together.

Marsha's Music Together recognizes that children have an innate need and love for music. This program has been popular in the Hyde Park neighborhood for years and is expanding to new Wicker Park and Lincoln Park locations this fall.

Each class has rituals that the children need and enjoy — the hello song, an instrumental play-along, a lullaby and the goodbye song — plus eight to ten varying experiences involving unusual meters and tonalities, sometimes using props like scarves or a parachute. Many of the classes are for mixed ages (birth through 5 years). I found that this mix of younger and older children makes for a lively, interactive atmosphere (and also makes it easy for families with multiple children to attend one class together).

If you think this sounds like something that your little music-maker would love, I encourage you to try a free class. Marsha's Music Together is holding free demonstration classes at a variety of locations throughout the city this week. Have a look at the schedule of demo classes to find one near you.

Enrollment for the fall session is now open. Each Music Together session includes 10 weekly 45-minute classes filled with live music. Each new family also receives the complimentary booklet Music and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers plus 2 copies of a CD with familiar tunes (one for home and the car).

Whether you do it in a class setting or simply at home in your living room with a drum and a kazoo, I encourage you to set aside some time to make music together with your little ones (trust me -- you'll be so, so happy that you did).

Disclosure: Marsha's Music Together is a new sponsor of A Hen and Two (now Three) Chicks. I am being compensated to help spread the word about their program (which is an easy thing to do because we really loved our experience in the demo class).

Cross-posted at Wee Windy City.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Preschool Pro

Brendan headed off to school today for his second year of preschool.
Same teacher. Same classroom. Same best buddy. Even same backpack (but brand new Cubs lunch bag).

I have a feeling that this is going to be a big year for the B man.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I wish I may . . . I wish I might . . . get a great deal on kid's craft classes at Wishcraft !

A special offer for Chicago readers brought to you by A Hen and Two Three Chicks and Self-Made Mom!

We are always looking out for our readers, and we know our local friends cannot possibly miss a deal as good as this. What kiddie class isn’t made better with a friend? If you have a creative kiddo at home, you won’t want to miss this amazing, limited-time-only deal from the popular Wishcraft craft studio in Roscoe Village.

The clever ladies behind Wishcraft are offering a special “2-for-1 Bring a Friend Along promotion from September 7-10th only. You can sign your kid and a crafty buddy up for any of the Fall 2010 craft classes and split the price of the 8-week session. That’s 50% off the regular cost – a total steal!

The class offerings at Wishcraft go way beyond your typical kiddie craft projects. Cool options include Dim Sum Paper Fun (ages 3-5) and It’s Sew Easy (age 7+). Kids can even make their own Halloween costumes or fashion eco-friendly accessories.

Wishcraft has morning and mid-day classes for wee ones and afterschool programming for school-aged kids. They even have classes for adults looking to hone their sewing or crochet skills! Check out their full schedule online to see all of the awesome choices.

Here are the deets on how to get in on this deal:

  • The promotion applies only to new students for the 2010 Fall session.
  • The promotion does not apply retroactively.
  • If you register online, you can pay the full price for one student, enter the second student’s name in the “comments to seller” box and split the costs yourselves.. Or you can email the folks at Wishcraft at with the info for both students and they will send PayPal links with the 50% discount to each person. Discount code to reference is “Tell 2 Friends.”

If you want to take advantage of this great deal on kid’s craft classes, you have to move fast – the special 2-for-1 promotion is only valid through September 10th. Classes start the week of September 13th.

Want to know more about all of the good stuff happening at Wishcraft? Follow their Twitter updates or become a Fan on Facebook. Got questions? Send them to

Now go get those (cheap! cheap!) classes. Your crafty kid will love you for it.