Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Weekend Windup {Easter Bunnies and Earth Day}

Are you gearing up for a fun weekend? Between Earth Day and Easter, there are a lot of fun activities to enjoy this weekend. I hope that everyone has their Easter baskets and walking shoes ready! Here are some ideas for this weekend:

Saturday, April 19

Hop over to Knupper's Nursery in Palatine for Hippity Hop Fun from 9:30AM-11:00AM. The fun includes an Easter egg hunt, Easter bunny visit, face painting and balloons. The hunt starts at 9:30AM. Bring a basket and camera for this free event!

Celebrate the Earth at the Earth Day Celebration at the Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie/Tyner Center in Glenview from 10AM-2PM. The fun will include family activities, nature walks, exhibits and more. Goodwill will be accepting donations. The event is free!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Et La Lumiére Fut: And Then There Was Light Ignites Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal for Families

**Disclosure: We received complimentary admission in order to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

After leaving Burlington, Vermont on our road trip, we ventured further north to Montréal. Montréal is not very far from Burlington--just under 2 hours. While I do highly recommend traveling to Montréal for a vacation on its own, if you are in Burlington it is definitely worth carving out a day or so to visit. Montréal is a city with so much flavor and charm that every visit is a treat. This past visit was our third visit to Montréal and while we felt quite at home, we enjoyed exploring new places along with some of the old. While we were in Old Montréal, it began to snow which was pretty heavenly! Snow kissed Montréal is serene and beautiful!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

5-Steps to a Family-Friendly Kitchen: Ideas for Organization and Creating Calm

This morning, we are bringing you a guest post from Emily Creswick of Zillow. Emily is here to give us some ideas of how to make a kitchen more family-friendly. I have long stressed the importance of eating meals together and cooking and working on kitchen chores together. Emily is giving us some ideas on how to keep it together in the the kitchen and make it an organized space ready for family time! Thank you, Emily:

The kitchen is the heart of the home; a bustling space for cooking, dining and family socializing. But for busy families, the kitchen commonly becomes an area of chaos. The clear surfaces become dumping grounds for random belongings and disorder and clutter take over – making preparing a meal an absolute nightmare.

A family-friendly kitchen benefits current homeowners and improves resale value by appealing to buyers. Functional kitchen spaces reduce stress for residents and are major selling points for home shoppers. Here are five steps to follow in order to update and organize the kitchen to create a space for everyone to enjoy.

1. Remove Clutter
Clutter is a common trait of a dysfunctional kitchen. It’s caused by excessive food, dishes, containers, appliances, etc. that flood cupboards and counter tops. Tackle clutter by throwing  out items such as containers with missing lids, broken appliances and worn out utensils. Only keep appliances out or accessible if they’re used frequently. Otherwise, store the mixer or cake stand in the pantry or secondary storage area. Remove personal belongings such as school bags, car keys and mail. Create dedicated areas to store these non-kitchen items to avoid the after school or work offload. Great solutions include coat and key hooks, mail baskets or entry hall benches.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Use Morton Arboretum's New App to Explore in New Ways & a Giveaway to Celebrate! {4/23}

A little serenity at Morton Arboretum
**Disclosure: We received passes to The Morton Arboretum to reward to one winner. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% our own.

Birds are singing, squirrels are scurrying about, plants are awakening from hibernation and temperatures are creeping up. All of this points to one thing---time to get out of the house! One of my favorite places to explore and celebrate nature is The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Over the years our appreciation for The Morton Arboretum has grown quite literally with our daughter. It all started with our initial discovery of the Children's Garden years ago. The Children's Garden magically incorporates learning and exploring nature with activities that capture childhood fun! As my daughter grew, we started attending events like the Chocolate Expo and Theater Hikes. She also likes a good hike herself, so we have been able to hike further out into the Arboretum, appreciating the Arboretum's vast array of trees, plants and creatures. The Morton Arboretum is lovely in every season and it is wonderful to have this huge backyard right in our backyard!

In the summer, The Morton Arboretum is always teeming with butterflies!
A new app uncovers the treasures of The Morton Arboretum 

As you can see, The Morton Arboretum is one of those places that we love to escape to time and time again. However, it is pretty vast and, as we have learned, there is always something that remains to be uncovered. The Morton Arboretum recently launched an app to help visitors--both old and new--get more out of their visits. The app includes different hiking options with something sure to tempt all. The trail options include lengths as well as expected durations so that you can easily weigh which one works for you. Each hike highlights different gardens, trees, animals and activities throughout the Arboretum. I am particularly excited about the bird walk because we have been focusing on bird identification lately. Of particular interest to parents and grandparents will be the Fun for Kids walk which highlights all the fun and interactive areas designed to help children learn about nature. As you complete your walks, you can read interesting snippets about each stop and check off each destination when you arrive. Below are a couple of screen shots of the app:

The app is helpful and easy!

Besides the hikes, the app has other functions that will add to your visit. The app also provides a way that members can have their card tied to their phone--thus eliminating the necessity of remembering your card (as long as you have your phone). Plus, there is a section for you to read all of the current news about events and more. You can also authorize notifications about new announcements. Additionally, the app includes a map that shows important spots and can be handy when exploring! So convenient!

The new Morton Arboretum app is available for free in the Apple App Store. I downloaded it and found it easy to navigate and it will be quite an asset during our visits to the Arboretum. I am sure that my daughter will love to check off all of the suggested stops on our hikes--like a scavenger hunt!

In celebration of The Morton Arboretum's new app, we are giving away a family four pack of tickets to visit The Morton Arboretum! Thank you so much to The Morton Arboretum for sponsoring this giveaway just in time for families to enjoy spring and summer! The giveaway will run through April 23, 2014 and is open to US residents 18-years-old and older. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48-hours to respond or the prize will be forfeited. Enter below. Good luck!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday Weekend Windup {Can You Do The Bunny Hop}

I am so happy that the sun is shining today! I started some of my gardening last week {hurray!} but still have a lot to do! I have a bunch of seeds starting--hopefully, I didn't start them too late. I guess time will tell. Temperatures look pretty nice for Saturday. Hope it sticks, we need it!

There are tons of fun events in the suburbs this weekend. Here are some ideas that looked particularly interesting and are more affordable:

Friday, April 11

Friday and Saturday bring the Spring Dance Showcase to Prairie Lakes Theatre in Des Plaines. The event will be held 7PM Friday and 2PM Saturday. Watch Artistry in Motion Dance Pieces. Tickets cost $8pp, $5 per students, seniors, dancer. You can purchase tickets online

Saturday, April 12

Many of the events this weekend are Easter-themed. If you are looking for something a little different, try The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley at the Northbrook Theater. Shows are at 10AM and 1PM. The musical is $12 pp. You can order online!

Speaking about eggs, how about the Eggstravaganza at Park Center in Glenview? The free Easter egg hunt runs 10AM-10:30AM. The rain location is the Main Gym.

You can also get your egg hunt on at the Palatine Jaycee's Easter Egg Hunt at the Palatine Towne Square Park from 10AM-11AM. Enjoy an egg hunt, games, pictures with Easter Bunny for free!

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