Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Calm Before the Sugar Storm

This year, we had:

A monkey (in a costume that has been recycled at least three times --- maybe more).
A super sweet (and feminine) shark.
A fireman (Chicago's finest).
And a police officer.
A bat (wearing the very same homemade-by-Grandma costume that his Daddy wore when he was 5 years-old).
Little Red Riding Hood.
And a wee little lioness.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Bats

I am not into Halloween decorations. Although Brendan would like to have a giant inflatable pumpkin and fake cobwebs all over the front yard (he has asked no less than 10 times), I like to keep the seasonal decor simple and natural -- a few pumpkins and gourds and maybe a nice scented candle. That's it.

But for my October craft story for Chicago Parent Magazine, we decided to do a Halloween-themed project. We made bat sock puppets out of David's stray work socks. (At least I thought they were strays. Turns out one of them was a part of a perfectly good set of $45 tuxedo socks. Ooops.)

This project was fun and easy and now we have something to hang in the trees in front of our house for Halloween so Brendan is happy. You can find the instructions for this project here -- and my bat origami project here.

Happy Halloween crafting!

The circus is rolling into town

It's almost November and you know what that means, right? It's circus time in Chicago. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show comes to town on November 4th.

The theme of this year's show is FUNundrum. The show features 130 performers. Highlights include the trapeze artists, acrobats, contortionists, and Mighty Metal - the strongest man in the world. Featured animals include horses, ponies, llamas, goats, tigers and even a Watusi (whatever that is).

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show will be at The Allstate Arena from November 4th-14th and The United Center from November 17th-28th.

Thinking about taking your kids to this show? You can get 4 tickets for a weekday show for $44 dollars if you use the code "MOMS." And click on the image above for a printable coloring page to get your kids psyched for the big family outing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Best of Family on

CBS Chicago just relaunched their website to include more local content. I was pleased to contribute some posts for their "Best of Family" section. My blogging buddies Emily and Hyacinth are also featured.

If you have a minute, click on over and check it out.

I tackled must-do Halloween activities, best indoor play spots, cool parks and playgrounds, my favorite family activities at Millennium Park, and good spots to experience nature right here in the city.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Pumpkin Pickers

Last weekend, we headed up to Dinges Fall Harvest in Michigan with our cousins in search of the perfect pumpkin. We had a blast. You can read more about it (and see a few more photos) over on Wee Windy City.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Dream Family Getaway

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When I first committed to write a post about my ideal family vacation, I really had no idea what that would be. Lots of vacations are good, right? But few vacations are AMAZING. I mean, come on -- an ideal vacation. That's a tall order.

So I spent some time mulling over what would be the "essential components" of any such trip. We would need to be someplace we've never been before (someplace warm), doings things that we all liked to do, in a non-hotel setting, all the while dining on fabulous food.

Where on earth could we find all of those things?

Then the answer came to me: Italy.

My dream family getaway would be to rent an Italian villa for a whole summer. Ideally, this property would be located in the Tuscan countryside -- allowing for easy travel to both northern and southern Italy. This one looks pretty nice, doesn't it? Although this one isn't too shabby either. Choices. Choices.

We'd need to have a house large enough to accommodate our visitors throughout the summer (grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts, and uncles). We'd hang out alone for a few days, and then welcome a new wave of visitors for a few days, and so on.

Our villa would be comfortable, but not so fancy-schmancy that we wouldn't feel at home. We'd need to have a little pool for cooling off on those hot Mediterranean afternoons. And a garden to provide fresh produce for our meals. And, I know this is a lot to ask, but I'd also love to have a nice old Italian lady on site who could teach me how to make delicious pastas and sauces.

We'd take some day trips and learn Italian. We'd cook amazing food together and gather around a large outdoor table for our leisurely meals. We'd go swimming every single day.

We'd be together -- really together -- for an entire summer. Sounds pretty darn ideal to me.

Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.