2022 Chicagoland Apple Orchards


The season is upon us! Apple picking, pumpkin picking, sweater weather, cider, donuts…

This is my absolute FAVORITE season of the year! And before winter hits, we need to enjoy

all of the outdoor activities we can get!

 

As with everything, please make sure to check the farms Facebook pages, the weather, and acceptable forms of payment before heading out.

 

 

 

All Seasons Orchard

  • Woodstock, IL
  • Apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and corn maze
  •  The Barnyard activity area includes the corn maze, magic shows, pig races, pedal karts, petting zoo, etc. Last entry into corn maze is 45 min prior to closing.
  • Open weekdays 10 AM – 5 PM. Close at 6 PM weekends and holidays

 

Apple Barn Orchard and Winery

  • Elkhorn, WI
  • Fall Hours: Beginning September 6, 2022 open Tuesday thru Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5
  • Pumpkins & apples

 

Apple Holler

  • Sturtevant, WI
  • 78 acre orchard and hardwood forest
  • Monday-Friday: 9AM until 4PM; the last picking bags are sold at 3PM, open until 5 PM on weekends.
  • Farm Park Fun is open every day! Enjoy activities such as our Corn Maze, Little Red Haybarn, Giant Slide, Corn Palace Corn Box, Straw Mountain, and visit the Goats at the Golden Goat Bridge, PLUS Pony Rides for kids and Peddle Cart Rides on the weekends!
  • Pick your own apples, peaches, and pumpkins!

 

 

Cody’s Farm & Orchard

  • Marengo, IL
  • Limited variety this season, follow their Facebook page for weekend updates on what is available.
  • Apple picking to potentially begin the weekend after Labor Day
    • Free hayrides to pick your pumpkin
    • Corn maze
    • Kids play area
    • Fall decorations
    • Delicious food & desserts

 

County Line Orchard

  • Hobart, IN
  • Big barn open daily 9 AM – 6 PM
  • U-Pick apples, pumpkins, and sunflowers.
  • Tractor rides, corn maze, animal barnyard and more!

 

Curran’s Orchard

  • U-Pick begins Labor Day Weekend!
  • Rockford, IL
  • Wagon rides, play area, animals, and more
  • Grab ‘n’ Go donuts and apple cider slushies
  • Daily hours, 9 AM – 6 PM
  • “Curran’s Orchard grows luscious fruit sprayed with 1/3 of the typical amount of chemicals.”

 

 

 

 

Edwards Apple Orchard

  • Poplar Grove, IL
  • A family-owned apple orchard in Poplar Grove, Illinois where guests can enjoy crisp apples, apple cider donuts, and freshly-pressed apple cider.
  • Pumpkin picking as well!
  • “The Apple Barn, restaurants and playground will be open this year, as well as pick-your-own. We hope that the return of your fall favorites will help you continue your family traditions. Please join us for warm cider donuts, a fresh cup of cider, and the time together that we’ve all been craving.”

 

Garwood Orchards

  • LaPorte, IN
  • U-Pick open daily 9AM, last wagon out at 5:15 PM
  • Horses & Pony Rides
  • Check their Facebook page for daily U-Pick updates

 

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard

  • Pingree Grove, IL
  • Fall Festival Open Daily from August 26, 2022 through Halloween Day. Hours are 9-6 every day, including Columbus Day and Labor Day
  • General Admission includes: Entrance to Animal Land, Pedal Karts, Tire Mountain, Corn Stalk Maze, Wagon Ride to the Field /Orchard, Haunted House, Munchkin Maze, Straw Bale Maze, Western Town, Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur, Goebbert’s Pumpkin Express Train Ride, Pumpkin Slide, Jumping Pillow, Chicken Show, Pig Races, and Corn Box (Pony and Camel rides are available for an additional cost).
  • “We have an apple orchard at our Farm and apple picking is one of our Fall Festival Attractions. We do not offer apple picking as its own activity, but guests can choose to pay for apple bags and pick apples in addition to their Fall Festival admission.”
  • Purchase admission tickets online in advance
  • The fall festival at the South Barrington location begins September 10th and runs through Halloween.
    • Come see the famous Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur, enjoy animals, watch a pig race, and enjoy the bakery.

 

 

 

 

Heinz Orchard

  • Green Oaks, IL
  • Opening day is Friday, September 9th
  • The closest orchard to Chicagoland!
  • No bathrooms available
  • Please note that as a small, family-run orchard we DO NOT offer hayrides, food/drink, corn mazes, etc. We specialize in PURE APPLE PICKING FUN in a beautiful surrounding!
  • Check their website and Facebook page for hours and schedule

 

Homestead Orchard

  • Woodstock, IL
  • “Our customers come to our orchard to pick their own apples and have 23 varieties to choose from. . . . starting in late July, the LODI is ready to be picked for great applesauce and pies. Our early August apples include JERSEY MAC, EARLY BLAZE, and DUTCHESS. This season, late August apples will be McINTOSH and GALA. JONATHANS will begin in the middle of September. When October arrives we start picking EMPIRE, GOLDEN DELICIOUS, JONAGOLD and BLUSHING GOLDEN. Late in October we still have RED DELICIOUS, BRAEBURN and WINESAP. The message on our answering machine gives up-to-date picking information. 815-338-7443. It gives our estimated ripening dates and our favorite ways to use our apples.”

 

Honey Hill Orchard

  • Waterman, IL
  • FULL SEASON HOURS: THURS. SEPT. 8 THRU MON. OCT. 31 9-5:30 DAILY
  • Children’s play area with farm petting zoo and straw maze
  • Donuts, cider, pies, etc
  • Everyone over age 2 must have a pre-purchased picking bag to enter the orchard.

 

Jonomac Orchard

  • Malta, IL
  • On Fall Festival Days (Saturday, Sunday, Labor Day & Columbus Day Monday) guests must have general admission wristband to enter the u-pick orchard plus a u-pick bag (for up to 4 people). This is required so we are able to restrict the number of guests on our farm each day. Tickets may be purchased in advance through the website.
  • Fall Festival days are Fri-Sun and holidays
  • On Weekdays (Monday-Thursday, excluding Labor Day & Columbus Day Monday) it is free to enter the u-pick apple orchard once you have purchased your u-pick bag from inside our Store & Bakery or Cider House.
  • Tiny Town Play Area is open free of charge Monday through Friday, and guests are able to pick apples in our U-Pick Apple Orchard from 9am-5:00pm
  • All the fall festival activities are open on the weekends.
  • There is a pumpkin patch as well.

 

 

 

 

Keller’s Farmstand

  • Oswego, IL
  • Opening day for our Saturday & Sunday Fall Festivities is Saturday, September 10th.
  • Check out the 2022 corn maze for 8 acres of fun!
  • The apple orchard is located on our Oswego farm. Before heading to the orchard for U-pick apples, ALL guests must first purchase a bag at the Apple Barn. Last entry to the orchard will be 30 minutes prior to closing time to allow enough time for picking.
  • The pumpkin patch is at the Oswego farm only
  • Kids play area, farm animals, 8 acre corn maze, pedal tractors, etc available on weekends.

 

Kuipers Family Farm

  • Apple Orchard & Pumpkin Farm
  • Apple picking in the orchard is primarily available weekends only through October. Some varieties may be available to pick weekdays, check for updated information on the Homepage weekly
  • Corn maze, pig races, jumping pillow, tractor train, farm animals, and more!

 

Lang’s Orchard

  • Woodstock, IL
  • Picking begins September 10th, 2022
  • Open weekends from 11 AM – 4 PM

 

 

 

Rendleman Orchards

  • Alto Pass, IL
  • U-Pick Pumpkin Patch open late September through October 31st
  • Check their Facebook page for what variety of apples are available in the market
  • U-Pick sunflower and zinnia field as well
  • Apple cider donuts, slushies, and cute photo ops!
  • “Nestled in the hills of Southern Illinois, Rendleman Orchards has been committed to growing and shipping quality peaches, nectarines, apples, and vegetables to the commercial produce markets throughout the Midwest since 1873!”

 

Royal Oak Farm Orchard

  • Harvard, IL
  • “Our u-pick apple orchard, located in Northern Illinois near the Wisconsin state line, offers family fun and  entertainment in a beautiful 120 acre setting from mid-August through mid-November. We have over 17,000 apple trees with over 30 varieties of apples to choose from and new varieties are being planted each spring. We also grow pumpkins, giant pumpkins, gourds and winter squash. And we have the country’s first apple tree maze, Amaze ‘N Apples, where you can wonder through 1.5 miles of trails with 9 varieties of apples. Don’t forget our world famous apple cider donuts and the best apple picking in northern Illinois!”
  • Playground, petting zoo, train, carousel, and the countries only apple tree maze!
  • Admission includes: Access into the Orchard, Access into the Pollination Garden, 1/4 Peck Bag to Fill in the Orchard.
  • Picking available Monday through Sunday

 

Stade’s Farm & Market

  • McHenry, IL
  • A $10 minimum apple purchase per person is required to enter the apple orchard. (At least a 1/4 peck bag) Ages 2 and under are free.
  • Weekend tractor-driven rides to the Pumpkin Patch are available from 10 AM – 5:30 PM. Please check our website, Facebook, or call (815) 675-6396 for picking conditions and more information.
  • Fall fun / farmtractions Sat/Sun in September and Fri-Sun in October.

 

Valley Orchard

  • Cherry Valley, IL
  • Monday – Saturday 9am-6pm; Sunday 10am-6pm
  • Check their website for the apple variety U-pick schedule
  • Fresh donuts, pie, and apple cider!

 

Woody’s Orchard

  • Plano, IL
  • Open Thu – Sun 10a – 6p.
  • Woody’s is a U Pick orchard with a Bakery, Farm Market Gift Shop, Play Yard, and Train. Enjoy Apple Cider Donuts and Slushies on our beautiful farm. Check our website for pricing
  • Woodys Orchard has a 2 acre pumpkin field that features 15 varieties of pumpkins planted randomly. The pumpkins range from 1-5 lb “cannon balls” to 100 lbs “atlantic giants.”

A 2022 Locally Sourced Easter in Chicago


 

Easter is coming up! And no, I am NOT ready.

Here are some amazing goodies from local businesses that I scored for the

kiddos Easter baskets! Many of these ideas are still available

for you to rush out and last minute add to your basket!

 

Easter Basket Stuffers

 

Brainy Day Box

  • Don’t miss out on spring themed sensory fun for your little one!

 

Makoshey

  • Cool it on the candy and stick an awesome tee in that basket!
  • You can also use the code HELEN20 or BUNNY for a discount!
  • Easter basket ideas?
    • They have 3 awesome books you can order: Women in Science, Women in Sports, and Women in Art
    • There are also lots of pastel colored shirts perfect for Easter, spring, and Earth Day. They have encouraging words and powerful women to emulate. Not to mention the softest clothing around! What’s better than that?

 

Fizzy Magic Bath Fizzies

  • What kid doesn’t love bath bombs?! The special themed boxes for the holidays are always fun because they come with so many bath bombs! Perfect for me to split amongst all 4 kids. The spring themed box is absolutely perfect for the kids Easter baskets!
  • But we also are so excited for the Celebrate Earth Box which is all about sunflowers! (Ukraine’s National Flower)
    • Your box will include:
      • sunflower seeds,
      • a sunflower journal to record the growth
      • 5 fizzies with flower surprises inside
      • a water toy and bubble popper!

 

  • The coral reef box is also an amazing choice to celebrate Earth Day!
  • We love making bath time magical with pure and safe ingredients that smell great and soften the skin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca’s Cakes By Design

  • You know we love our “Paint and Eat” cookies! So of course we had to order Easter / spring themed ones from Rebecca!
  • She has an amazing storefront in Bartlett now for all of our dessert needs!

 

 

 

 

 

Created By Bash Crayons

  • You can never have enough crayons, so you might as well make them cute!
  • Name crayons, initials with a cute shape, or just cute shapes like bunnies and Easter eggs!

 

 

 

State of Play Kids

  • Although perfect for Easter baskets, the rainbow colored Midwest and Windy City tees are a must have for spring and summer!
  • Kids will love it just as much as parents and who doesn’t love a good matching outfit for the fam?

 

 

 

Colorful Creations

  • Another great surprise for the girls Easter baskets.
  • They are a huge fan of the fun bows and these are so adorable for Easter.
  • How cute is this?! Message her Facebook page and see what she’s got left in stock!

Mama & OG

  • THIS is the Instagram account to follow! I love all of her sensory bin ideas and adventures with her kiddo! (Plus I love that we both have toddlers with the initials OG!)
  • Her resin letters / numbers are gorgeous and perfect for Montessori play. Last year her lovely sister (@momschoolpsych) made these awesome monogrammed cases perfect to hold them for their Easter baskets.
  • May be too late to order these for Easter but that shouldn’t stop you from just ordering in general!

Kido Chicago

  • The CUTEST toy store in the city!
  • Luckily my 2 yr old doesn’t remember shopping for his own Easter basket gifts! Not only are the toys here adorable, but the book selection is FANTASTIC! Everything you need to create a perfectly diverse home library.

 

Stacey M. Design

  • The inclusive guided journals, notebooks, encouragement cards, and gifts would be an excellent addition to a childs Easter Basket or for any time of year!
  • Encourage a love for writing and social emotional learning with these products!

 

EmKay Inspired

  • How cute are these spring earrings?! Perfect for a daughter with pierced ears or a gift for mom!

 

 

 

Easter / Spring Treats!

 

Stan’s Donuts and Coffee Chicago

  • Multiple locations around Chicagoland
  • I hope they bring back the Peeps donuts this year!

 

Sugargoat Sweets

  • Easter decorated shortbread cookies, cupcakes, and cookie decorating kits are available to order on the website beginning April 2nd!

 

JoJos Shake Bar

  • Chicago
  • Naperville
  • Peep Show Hot Chocolate
  • Peeps N Cream Shake
  • JoJo’s outdoor Candyland ends 4/24! Make sure to reserve a table ASAP

XO Marshmallow

  • Chicago
  • Did you know the world’s 1st marshmallow cafe is in Chicago?
  • We visited this adorable cafe last year and enjoyed their latest spring flavors!
  • My son got the frozen lemonade topped with marshmallow, jelly beans, and peeps!
  • I got the Frozen Key Lime Pie! Yum!
  • Their current location in Rogers Park closes March 30th and they will be moving to Lincoln Park after a short hiatus to stay tuned!

 

Vanille Patisserie

  • Chicago
  • They always have adorable treats around the cafe for treats and basket stuffers!
  • Adorable spring themed cakes, basket fillers, DIY kits, sugar cookies, macarons, and more!
  • Use code SPRING22 for online Easter orders!

Premo’s Ice Cream

  • Oak Lawn
  • This ice cream shop is just the cutest! Their fun creations are to die for and the kids and I all tried something different!
  • I got a giant banana split encased in an Easter egg, the girls got the Cadbury Creme shake, and the boys got vanilla soft serve ice cream with gummy butterflies, easter sprinkles, and strawberry syrup.

Sweet Mandy B’s

  • Easer / spring cutouts sure to please the whole family!
  • Not to mention, all sorts of other sweets perfect to pass around the table.

 

Forget Me Not Cookies

  • Easter ordering of these adorable cookies is now LIVE!
  • What’s available, you may be asking?
    • Paint Your Own Cookies & Easter Egg Kits
    • Giant Egg Tic Tac Toe Set (fun for easter basket) & Bunny Faces on a Stick
    • Mini Bunny Bait Pouches
    • Personalized Cookies (ideal for Easter Basket)
    • DIY Cookie Kits
    • 6″ Cookie Cakes
    • Adorable Floral Peeps and other sets
  • When is Pick Up you may be wondering? All items will be ready for pick up Thursday, 4/14 (4-7pm); or Friday, 4/15 (10am-1pm or 4-7pm). Some of our DIY items are available for pickup earlier in the week in Yorkville

 

 

Entree Kitchen

  • My go to meal planning service in Carol Stream always has a delicious menu of frozen / refrigerated meals to make #momlife a whole lot easier!
  • Not only does she have your day to day covered but the Easter brunch menu has you covered from savory to sweet with four entrees to choose from and two sides.
  • Plus an adorable cupcake decorating kit to make your day extra special.

 

 

Hey Sugar

  • Geneva
  • The floral decorations inside always remind me of spring no matter what season it is!

 

 

Easter / Spring Events

Holi – The Festival of Colors

  • April 9th at 11 AM
  • Naperville, Grand Pavilion Riverwalk
  • “Getting to throw handful of brightly colored powder at friends and foes seems too good to be true. Yes it’s true! Vedic Cultural Society invites all members of the public, from people with understanding of festival to ne’er-do-wells who simply get a kick out of chucking organic dyed flour at strangers to celebrate the festival of color. Throw your worries to the wind.”
  • Easter isn’t the only spring holiday! Holi is an important spring festival for Hindus to celebrate spring, friendship, family, and the victory of good over evil.

 

Windy Acres Farm Geneva

  • Geneva
  • April 2, 3, 9, 10, 16th
  • “Visit the baby barnyard gang, say Hello to the Easter Bunny (please bring your own camera for photo opportunity), take a ride on the Springtime Choo-Choo Egg-spress Train and stay a while at the crafty corner. Afterwards, enjoy the local artisan craft market. Visit anytime, 10am-4pm. Tickets required for all guests ages one and older.”

 

West Town Bakery

  • Chicago
  • Bunny Brunch on April 10th with the Easter Bunny!

 

Grahams 318

  • Geneva
  • Mommy & Me Spring Bunny Windsock Workshop
    • April 14th at 10 AM
    • “Come create a Spring Bunny Windsock! Your little artist will take home their personalized art to display! This workshop also includes a delicious chocolate bunny from Graham’s Chocolates.”
  • Pictures With The Easter Bunny
    • April 16th at 10:30
    • “Join us for an egg coloring workshop and professional pictures with the Easter bunny! Eggs and coloring materials will be provided, and your complimentary, digital photos will be shared with you via email following the event. We’ll also be raffling off a Nintendo Switch and $20 gift cards to local businesses.”

 

Breakfast with the Bunny at Brookfield Zoo

  • April 9, 10, and 16th
  • All tickets are General Admission and include parking

 

Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Lincoln Park Zoo

  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • April 16th
  • SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
    • 8 a.m.–12 p.m. | Meet the Easter bunny, enjoy outdoor activities plus games and music
    • 8 a.m.–12 p.m. | Free carousel and train rides (weather permitting)
    • 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. | Egg hunts (Note: Egg hunt times are assigned and will be selected during checkout.)

 

Aqua Egg Hunt at Oak Brook Park District Family Aquatics Center

  • Oak Brook
  • April 14th & 15th
  • “Join us for an Aquatic Egg Hunt at the Family Aquatic Center! Each registration is for a 90-minute experience that begins with the egg hunts and ends with open swim for the entire family.  We have changed our format to help spread out the crowds. This year we will be offering 5 separate egg hunt events with a maximum enrollment of 100 egg hunters to help spread out the gathering of people. Each event will have registration opportunities for all ages. Please note the day and time that you are registering for!”
  • Parents accompany children for free.
  • As of this posting there are still time slots available for this unique hunt but they are filling fast!

 

Downtown Batavia Egg Hop

  • April 16th at 10 AM
  • Downtown Batavia’s Annual Egg Hop will return on Saturday, April 16. Check out the schedule of activities below!
    • 10am-12pm – Egg Hop around Downtown Businesses
    • Peg Bond Center:
      • 10am-1pm Business Booths.
      • 10am-12pm Petting Zoo with Kates Kritters Mobile Petting Zoo
      • 10:15am – 3 and under Egg Hunt
      • 10:30am – Spring Stories with the Batavia Public Library
      • 11:00am – Learn the Bunny Hop with Batavia Academy of Dance
      • 11:30am – Easter Show with River City Church
      • 12:30 – Raffle Drawings

 

Berwyn Park District and Great Easter Parade

  • Pre-registration is required, give them a call (708)749-4900 and reserve your spot for the hunt.
  • The Easter Bunny will be riding in a float down 16th Street from Jefferson Field to Prairie Oak Gym where he will join the Easter Eggstravaganza. (Begins at 10:30, immediately following the hunt.)

 


Valentine’s Day in Chicagoland 2022


If February is about showing the love, let’s show the love to the Chicagoland small businesses that need our support the most!

Enjoy this list of local businesses to support as well as awesome events

going on this month!

Edible Treats

 

 

  • West Town Bakery & Diner
    • Chicago
    • Delicious Valentine Day creations include:
      • Cookie decorating kit
      • Strawberry cheesecake cookies
      • Cakeballs
      • Mini heart cheesecakes
      • Cupcakes
      • Linzer heart cookies
      • Chocolate Smash Hearts
      • Love Bug cakes (premade or decorate yourself)
      • Mini cheesecake conversation hearts
    • MUST preorder by 2/9
  • Dip & Sip Donuts
    • Preorder your Valentine themed 6 pack and the Valentine DIY donut decorating kit!

  • Sugargoat by Stephanie Izard
    • Chicago (shipping available through Goldbelly)
    • “Whether you’re treating yourself, your gal-pal or your partner, we’re here to make the day as sweet as can be!”
    • Preorder ASAP
    • Valentine’s Day cookies, cake, cupcakes, and “be mine” cookie pie.
  • Goddess and the Baker
    • Adorable cookies and macarons that you can even ship to a loved one!
    • Dine in for a gorgeous Raspberry Cardamom Mocha Latte
  • Bombobar
    • Their seasonal Valentine’s items launch February 1st!!
    • Enjoy the Valentine’s Day Hotter Chocolate and Bombs!
  • XO Marshmallow
    • Heart shaped marshmallows for your hot cocoa would be perfect!
    • Or how about the S’mores Kit For 2?

  • JoJo’s Shake Bar
    • “In preparation for Valentine’s Day, JoJo’s ShakeBAR is debuting its lovable menu featuring our over-the-top Love Shake, extravagant Cupid’s Cocoa, and a variety of other sweet treats and decadent cocktails. Available in JoJo’s heated Candy Land tent until February 20, 2022.”
  • Mollys Cupcakes’
    • Heart shaped chocolate chip cookie or brownie
    • Cupcake assortment of their most valentine filled flavors
    • Valentines cheesecake sampler
    • Chocolate strawberries and truffles
  • Vanille Patisserie
    • All Valentines orders need to be placed by 11 am, Friday the 11th.
      • Macarons
      • French pastries
      • Cutie cakes
      • DIY cookie kits
  • RJK Productions
    • Downers Grove
    • The “beary” cute breakable desserts were the PERFECT way to take this holiday to the next level for the kids. They are really going to get a kick out of this when they wake up to their surprises on the 14th.
    • On top of that, the menu consists of heart shaped chocolate covered oreos, heart hot cocoa bombs, coffee bombs, kid bomb valentines, and teacher gift sets!

 

 

  • Rebecca’s Cakes By Design
    • Bartlett
    • It has become a new tradition to order “Paint & Eat” cookies for each holiday. It’s a dessert and craft in one!
    • On top of that she will be carrying:
      • Conversation heart cookies in mailbox
      • Cake pops
      • 6″ Valentines heart cake
      • Chocolate covered strawberries
      • Cupcake bouquets (6 cupcakes)
    • Baked goods prepared in a nut free kitchen.

 

 

 

  • Olive + Emmental
    • Valentine’s Day charCUTErie box with 3 available sizes / flower combo packages.
    •  Don’t forget a vday kids cuterie board for the little ones!
  • Hey Sugar
    • Geneva
    • Besides the over the top hot cocoa creations, you’ll love the Valentine’s Day selections of cupcakes and cookies!

  • Portillo’s
    • “We’re giving our Famous, homemade Chocolate cake a new shape in this Valentine’s Day edition. Single-layer heart shaped chocolate cakes are now available for pre-order at all Portillo’s restaurants. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from every heart shaped cake purchased will benefit an organization close to our heart – The American Red Cross.”
    • Don’t sleep on the brand new, chocolate covered strawberry shake!
  • Lou Malnati’s
    • “What’s better than a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day? A heart-shaped pizza from Lou Malnati’s, of course!”
    • “9″ heart-shaped pizzas are available at all locations starting February 7th through Valentine’s Day.”
  • Sugar Milk Cafe
    • Naperville
    • This adorable cafe has over the top milkshakes like the new Sweetheart Milkshake for V-Day!

 

 

 

Fun Packages

 

  • Staycation at The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
    • Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, the Monaco is “suite” for families like you. Why not do something for the whole family this Valentine’s Day? This February package includes:
      • Suite accommodations
      • A bottle of Prosecco
      • A bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling wine for the kids
      • Do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day cookie decorating kit (includes 4 cookies)
  • Waterlemon
    • La Grange
    • The Valentines Day Balloon Box:
      • All 3 balloon boxes come with a custom-made, oversized candy heart message sticker affixed to the front. All boxes are filled with helium-filled balloons in colors that correspond to the sticker colors as well as air-filled balloons at the bottom of the box.
    • The Valentine’s Day Bash Box
      • 1 set of heart plates
      • 1 set of heart napkins
      • 1 set of matching cups
      • 1 cupcake kit for 2 dozen cupcakes with the sweetest toppers EVER or adorable cookie cutters
      • 1 hard copy of Love Is book by Diane Adams
      • 2 heart pinatas favors
      • 2 large scale + beautiful coloring posters
      • 1 dozen pink + red balloons (includes weight)
  • Dazzling Divas
    • Downers Grove
    • Book your divas GAL-entine spa day or order a valentine bundle! TEXT 1-708-378-2702
      • manicures
      • facials
      • makeup
      • hair sparkles
      • cupid kisses face freckles
      • hot chocolate with whipped cream and sweet heart candies
      • take home heart rings and spa headband

 

 

Clothing

 

 

  • State of Play Kids
    • Nothing says Valentine’s Day more than showing your love for the city you adore! Super simple, but super cute and a size for every member of the family!

  • Makoshey
    • We adore this company for their girl positive clothing. The super soft, comfy, and inspirational clothing is a fan favorite in our household and the perfect tee for February is the Maya Angelou, “Love recognizes no barriers” tee. Order yours today!
    • Use code HELEN20 for a discount!

 

 

 

Crafts & Gifts

 

  • Fizzy Magic
    • These aren’t just your every day bath bombs people!
    • “Educational Bath Fizzies – Fun, Fizz & Learn!. Pure & Safe Ingredients with essential oils to calm kids before bedtime but best of all – each fizzy contains a surprise, clue to guess and fun fact to learn along with bedtime story relates to the surprise.”
    • The Valentine Limited Edition Box has surprises inside the fizzies to match the included valentines for your kids to color and hand out.
    • The perfect, non-candy, valentine! Use in the tub or use in a sensory table!
  • Mama & OG
    • Her handmade resin items are to die for and I am so excited that we scored these adorable chocolates to add to the play kitchen!
    • Also, “Eye Heart You” dough stampers and Valentine hair clips!
    • If you missed this drop, keep an eye out for her St. Patricks Day collection!
  • Colorful Creations
    • Do you surprise your little ones with Valentine gifts? Check out the princess shaker necklaces from Colorful Creations!
  • Confetti FunBy Russell
    • We ordered two of the pink heart confetti to decorate the table with on Valentine’s morning for our annual breakfast!
    • This 6 year old kidpreneur was brought to our attention by the fabulous We Events Chicago!
  • Hopscotch City
    • Hopscotch City can always be counted on for adorable printables and craft ideas and Valentine’s Day is no exception!
    • Check out her etsy shop for a cute Valentines Day Mailbox printable!
  • Pop of Paper Co.
    • “Looking for a simple and fun Vday craft? Pick up one of our Valentine Mailboxes to decorate and collect love notes all month long!”
    • Love is in the air with our Valentine POP Box! Boxes include:· Valentine inspired felt garland· Make your own Valentine bracelet· Paper honeycomb hearts to hang· Meri Meri Valentines Card with glasses· Heart paper chain craft· Meri Meri Stickers

      · Heart wreath craft

      · Valentine treats

      · Hanging heart box craft

      · Valentine monster craft

  • Kido Chicago
    • If you are making Valentine gift bags for your littles, I highly recommend purchasing books and toys from Kido!

 

  • Stacey M. Design
      • Valentine’s Day is about loving others and also, loving yourself!
      • Her inclusive, guided journals, notebooks, and most importantly, the social emotional learning curriculum, are fantastic tools to help children love each other despite our differences, and also love themselves!

 

 

Activities

 

 

  • Ice Castles
    • Lake Geneva
    • Although this event always sells out quick, I have checked for tickets and still found availability intermittently. Possibly as additional dates and times are added.
  • Lake Geneva Winterfest
    • Feb 2nd – 6th
    • “As the only national snow sculpting championship in the United States, Winterfest welcomes the most talented and award-winning sculpting teams from across the country. Be here to witness 15 state-champion teams at work during an epic 3-day competition where their artistry is put to the test in creating remarkable, larger-than-life snow sculptures. The snow sculpting competition runs 11am Wednesday through 1pm Saturday at Riviera Plaza and Flat Iron Park along the beautiful shore of Geneva Lake. It’s FREE to attend and view, and sculptures will remain on display through Sunday (and until they melt).”
  • Long Grove Cocoa Crawl
    • February 5th 11 am – 3 pm
    • Free event!
    • Free carriage rides from 11 – 4
    • There will be 3 Tents serving complimentary hot cocoa sponsored by Long Grove Village Tavern and Long Grove Confectionery. Many retailers will have cocoa inspired treats for their customers while they shop and restaurants will have chocolate specials for their diners! (see website)
  • Ice Art Walk
    • Downtown Wheaton
    • Saturday, February 5th from 12 PM – 3 PM
    • Brave the cold for a fun day in Downtown Wheaton with the family to tour the custom-carved Ice Art Walk ice sculptures sponsored by and displayed outside sponsoring businesses.
  • Downers Grove Ice Festival
    • February 4th – 6th
    • “Enjoy a fun winter weekend downtown Downers Grove. Nearly 60 unique ice sculptures will line the streets for you to enjoy as you walk downtown Downers Grove! Watch large blocks of ice become art during the live Ice Carving demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm at the Main Street Train Station.”
  • Wauconda Winterfest 2022
    • Wauconda WinterFest is back for 2022 on February 12th & 13th. Held both on Bangs Lake and on land at Lindy’s Landing, with special events through the Wauconda Park District. Fun for all ages!
    • Events include Hockey Skills Competition, Scavenger Hunt and Hike, Burling Tournament, Free Skate on Lake, Kid activities, Soup Smackdown, Tent Takeout, and more!
  • Spring Valley Winterfest
    • Schaumburg
    • February 12th & 13th
    • “Experience and embrace the beauty of winter! This family event features snowshoeing, outdoor games, s’mores and cocoa around the fire, dogsled demonstrations by Adopt A Huskey, Inc., and more!”
    • Admission fee is $3/person or $12/family, purchased at the event.
  • Oak Lawn Children’s Museum Sensory Friendly Valentine’s Play Session
    • February 16th
    • “Join us for a Happy Hearts, Healthy Hearts Sensory Friendly Play Session for children with special needs and their families. Enjoy time at the museum with lowered lights and sounds. Therapist from a.c.e. therapies will be here to help families address everyday obstacles. Event will include themed sensory and motor skills activities and heart health and kindness interactive games and crafts. Come dressed in your favorite Valentine’s Day gear.”
    • Pre-register
  • Bartlett Winterfest
    • February 19th from 12-4
    • “Experience winter on the prairie. Adopt-A-Husky will be at the Bartlett Nature Center with teams of Siberian Huskies and sleds. Watch as they run a mile trail and learn about the history of dog sledding and the equipment they use. Other outdoor activities will be taking place weather permitting, including snow shoeing and snow painting. There will also be an Iditarod slideshow presentation and other indoor activities. To ensure a safe and fun environment, please leave your own dogs at home. This event is and requires no advanced registration.”
  • The Kids Table
      • “We have a full line-up of virtual cooking classes for kids, teens and families. With interactive instruction from our skilled instructors, young chefs get to chop, mix and roll their way to a different delicious dish in each class – with enough to share with the fam! Kids learn valuable culinary skills and new recipes, enjoy a fun hands-on activity, and are inspired to expand their taste buds to discover that “real food” can be really good.”
      • Keep an eye on their February sessions for some fun Valentine themed recipes!
  • Chitown Movies
      • Enjoy a romantic movie the old fashioned way!
      • This Pilsen drive in is showing rom com classics for a date night and family friendly films as well!
  • Bubbles at 900 N Michigan
    • Visit us anytime from 12 – 6 PM daily for drop-in art!
    • Week of 2/7: Valentine plant hangers
    • Week of 2/14: Marble painting trays
    • Week of 2/21: Mason jar aquariums
  • A Fairy Tale Ballet Valentine’s Day Camp
    • Rapunzel’s Wedding Day is the theme
    • 2/14 for 2-3 yr olds
    • 2/11 and 2/13 for 3-6 yr olds
  • National Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day is February 6th!
    • Check out your favorite creameries for special offerings that day or just to support their business and purchase a sweet treat!
    • Kimmer’s
      • Wheaton, St.Charles, Batavia
      • “It’s back! Our breakfast flavors will be in house for National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast day on Saturday, February 5th! Our doors will open early, at 9am.
    • The Milk House Ice Cream
      • Pingree Grove
      • “Join us for a fun weekend of breakfast inspired ice creams…. Maple Blueberry Waffles, Cereal Milk, Magically Delicious, Peach Bellini Sorbet, Coffee & Donuts & a couple more surprises!”
  • Paint The Ice at Gallagher Way
    • February 20th from 3-5 PM (Public skate from 11-3)
    • “We will provide the paint, you bring the creativity!”

 

 

For The Parents (Date Night Ideas)

 

 

  • Scentcerely Yours
    • Geneva
    • Keep an eye out for their Valentine’s Day Special
    • This is also a fantastic place to visit with the kiddos! The kids and I loved creating our own scents for our candles!

  • Girl & The Goat Meal Kits
    • “Experience a meal kit adventure straight from the Goat restaurants to your home kitchen! With James Beard Award-winning chef Stephanie Izard as your sous chef, you’ll be guided through a flavorful, restaurant-quality meal featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients.”
    • Preorder and pick up in Chicago or select suburb locations.
  • Alinea Valentine’s Day Dinner To Go
    • Celebrate Valentine’s Day at home from the cities top, fine dining, restaurant.
    • Pick up your prepaid order in Chicago or various suburban pick up locations.
  • Puttshack
    • Oakbrook Mall
    • Upscale, tech infused, mini golf
  • Pinstripes
    • Oakbrook, Chicago
    • Upscale bowling and bocce
  • Immersive Van Gogh
    • A romantic date night idea if you haven’t made it to this exhibit yet!
  • The Forge Lemont
    • Valentine’s Weekend Globe Dining spots are running out!
    • Make your Valentine’s Day adventurous by exploring the ropes course towers, play laser tag, and / or a romantic jaunt around the ice rink!

Shop Chicago Local This Holiday Season


It is one of the goals of this website to constantly support our local

Chicagoland businesses! Perhaps you will be able to find some last minute

gift ideas or at least businesses to follow and order from in the future.

Every business listed below is one our family has supported and continues to do so on a

regular basis!

 

Edible Treats

 

 

  • RJK Productions
    • Downers Grove
    • Perfect gifts for teachers, christmas parties, neighbors, etc!
    • Hot cocoa bombs, coffee bombs, fun breakables, and more!

 

  • Rebecca’s Cakes By Design
    • Bartlett
    • It has become a new tradition to order “Paint & Eat” cookies for each holiday. It’s a dessert and craft in one!
    • On top of that she will be carrying:
      • DIY Holiday cookie kit
      • DIY Christmas Tree Cake Kit
      • Holiday cupcakes
    • Baked goods prepared in a nut free kitchen.

 

  • Olive + Emmental
    • A Holiday Wreath charcuterie board would be the perfect gift to your holiday gathering!

 

  • Moments Savored
    • These holiday treat tins are so adorable and the perfect stocking stuffer or gift to accompany a gift card!

 

Fun Packages

 

 

 

  • WE Events
    • Balloons fit for every occasion, with proceeds donated to a cause!
    • Not only can you order amazing balloon garlands and get fantastic event planning, but for the holidays make sure to download her FREE Holiday Around The World Coloring Sheet and her Santa letter template.
      • Take the Santa letter to visit one of her magical holiday displays to mail. If you choose the “express mail” option aka donate to our partner charity you are guaranteed a letter back from Santa himself! Click here for more info! (Receiving a letter back only is an option for a limited time!)

 

  • Dazzling Divas
    • Christmas Break is the perfect time to book a private spa party for your own kiddos or a whole group of friends!
    • Try out the “Deck The Glam Mansion” package!
      • Manicures
      • Hair sparkles
      • Makeup
      • Facials
      • Spa Headband
      • Xmas hair clip
      • Xmas craft
      • Hot cocoa & S’mores Bar
      • Write letters to the North Pole!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXHYbC6Pk6e/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

 

Clothing

 

 

 

  • State of Play Kids
    • Nothing screams shop local more than gifts from State of Play! The perfect gift for the Midwestern family!

 

 

 

  • Makoshey
    • We adore this company for their girl positive clothing. The super soft, comfy, and inspirational clothing is a fan favorite in our household and the long sleeved tees and hoodies are perfect for winter.
    • Not to mention, what better gift than to commemorate historical idols? Choose from the many Heroic Women T-shirts!
    • Use code HELEN20 for a discount!

 

  • Colorful Creations
    • The holiday collection is too cute for words!
    • Hair bows, head bands, and necklaces with the cutest sparkles, characters, and fun colors!

 

  • Kido
    • The ultimate boutique to shop for the best in children’s clothing, books, and toys!
  • Zion & Co
    • We love our “Mini” jean jacket from this local baby and toddler boutique and can’t wait to wear it when Eleanor’s arm is cast free!

 

Crafts & Gifts

 

 

 

  • Ljacs + JLaur Explore
    • Open ended sensory play to enjoy each day of winter break!
    • These winter wonderland kits were a huge hit for my kiddos!

 

  • Fizzy Magic
    • These aren’t just your every day bath bombs people!
    • “Educational Bath Fizzies – Fun, Fizz & Learn!. Pure & Safe Ingredients with essential oils to calm kids before bedtime but best of all – each fizzy contains a surprise, clue to guess and fun fact to learn along with bedtime story relates to the surprise.”
    • The Holiday Limited Edition Box has holiday squishy surprises inside as well as a Light Up Tree Poop Hat!
    • Or purchase a gift card or monthly subscription. The perfect gift from grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, etc!
    • The perfect, non-candy, gift! Use in the tub or use in a sensory table!

 

  • B.Ash Crayons
    • Custom crayons from the west suburbs of Chicago! They make for adorable stocking stuffers, party favors, you name it!

 

Stacey M Design

  • “Welcome and thank you for visiting my shop! My mission is to empower children. I publish a series of guided journals designed to help kids feel more confident and valued. My collection of blank journals, spirals, note cards, birthday cards, and other products each feature illustrations of kids with a variety of skin tones, hair colors, hair styles, and abilities. Because kids see themselves in my artwork, the artwork makes kids smile and feel empowered.”
  • For roughly 2nd graders and up, the guided journals are absolutely amazing to encourage creative writing and self expression! My older two kiddos love them! My younger daughter enjoys drawing in the spiral notebook because the drawing on the front cover, “looks just like her!”

 

  • Brainy Day Box
    • These winter kits are perfect as a winter break boredom buster or holiday gift!
    • All kits come with ball of homemade (taste safe) playdough, snowman pieces, winter accessories, and stem challenge and learning activity cards.

 

  • Mama & OG
    • Always obsessed with the beautiful letter & number resin sets which make for wonderful gifts for your own children or family members!
    • What I didn’t know is that I would be even more obsessed with the resin hair clips! Beautifully paired with our holiday outfits!
    • Although the online shop is currently closed, you can still purchase from Bubbles Academy in the 900 shops!

 

 

  • Hopscotch City
    • Holiday Printable Pack for kids
    • Digital download only. Six festive printable activities for your kids to enjoy! Color, cut, lace & more.
    • Activities include:
      – Create a snowglobe scene
      – Color a nutcracker
      – Color & cut holiday cookies
      – Color, cut & lace an ugly sweater
      – Cut & string a DIY Garland
      – Write a letter to santa

 

 

  • Pop of Paper Co
    • Christmas Kid Decor Pop Box. This box includes:
      • Christmas themed felt garland
      • Honeycomb paper tree ornaments
      • Pom pom tree craft
      • Clothesline clip reindeer ornament craft
      • Snowman + snowflake decal craft
      • Paper chain advent calendar craft
      • Santa hats + candy canes

 

The Laboratory Collective

  • “Kids become a character in a mystery game solved using science and puzzles! Science kits delivered to your home.”

 

 

Experience Gifts

 

 

  • Kidsperience
    • Give the GIFT of EXPERIENCE today! Plus, support a mom who designed an APP to give better gifts! EASILY and AFFORDABLY gift Museum Memberships, Lessons, etc!

 

  • Jump parks, museums, childrens museums, zoos, art classes, cooking classes, music classes, and dance classes are all welcome gifts! Especially when parents do not want to accumulate more toys! Check out our favorite local experiences below!

 

 

Looking for Holiday activities this weekend or some yummy winter treats? Check out our previous posts!


How To Keep Your Kids Safe Near Garage Doors


 

Thank you to Intergreat Solutions for sponsoring this post

 

When was the last time you had your garage door inspected?

As a parent, one of the first things you probably do is to childproof your home. But most of us often neglect the garage door safety measures. You should treat the garage as a potential danger as the garage door is heavy and experiences a lot of tension.

Since children can be a little curious sometimes, you should know how to keep your kids safe near garage doors. And to guide you, you can follow these simple and doable garage door safety tips to ensure the safety of your precious children:

Inspect Auto-Reverse Mechanism

Today, garage doors have sensors to check if there are obstructions under the garage door. Once it detects something, it will automatically activate and reverse to prevent garage door injuries and damages on a property. As a parent, the sensors are your assurance for your children’s safety. After all, under the law, residential garage doors must have sensors in them. If you’re experiencing issues with your sensors, then you should contact a professional garage door repair service.

 

Position the Garage Door Opener in an Unreachable Height

Kids love to play all the time. With one look away, they can be playing with the remote buttons of the garage door opener without your knowledge. So, it is crucial to keep the garage door controller out of reach all the time.

 

Remove Clutter

Most garage owners make their garage space a storage area. If you have a kid, remove the unnecessary clutter to avoid accidents within the garage. Also, keep the tools, chemicals, and other sharp objects out of reach at all times.

 

Conduct Regular Inspection and Maintenance

When you have a well-maintained garage door, you are protecting your family from possible accidents. Since garage doors experience heavy strain every day, it is essential to check them and their parts regularly.  Moreover, your garage door requires maintenance, such as lubricating the moving parts at least every six months and cleaning the debris along the tracks. That way, you will prevent early damages or breakages on components or the whole garage door itself.

 

Educate Your Children

Part of the healthy growth of children is making them understand the dos and don’ts within the house. So, you can teach your kids as they grow up about the dangers of the garage door, and they should not play with the remote device or its other components. Also, teach them that it is not okay to run around the garage while the door is opening or closing. Then if possible, you should keep the toys of your children out of the garage. In this way, they won’t attempt to open the garage door without your knowledge.

 

Repair Broken Garage Doors Right Away

As a parent, you probably know the dangers of broken springs, unbalanced door movement, and snapped cables of the garage door. So, if you see signs of damage and need a service such as garage door spring repair, visit an online business directory to find one next to you. A garage door technician can professionally repair and replace broken parts to keep your family safe from the falling risk of the garage door. Moreover, an expert technician can advise on how to keep your kids safe near garage doors.


2021 Chicagoland Holiday Light Displays


Welcome to your go to guide for Holiday Light Displays in the Chicagoland area!

 

 

The holiday season is upon us and with so much uncertainty, many people are planning farther ahead for their

holiday plans and winter fun. Make sure to buy tickets and pre-register as soon as you can

before tickets and time slots sell out!

 

Let It Shine: Drive Thru Holiday Light Show

  • “Let It Shine is Chicagoland’s premier drive-thru Christmas light show experience. Guests are invited to safely stay in their cars and immerse themselves into a wonderland of light displays, all synchronized to fun holiday classics.”
  • Aurora, Northbrook, Schaumburg
  • **** One (1) Ticket Per Vehicle ****. Tickets can be purchased online only

 

Amaze Rosemont

  • “Create memories that will last a lifetime at Amaze Light Festival located at Impact Field in Rosemont. Enjoy one of the largest holiday lighting events in the country, with spectacular themed light shows, festive music, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this truly amazing experience!”

 

Navy Pier: Light Up The Lake

  • November 26th – January 2nd
  • “Brighten the winter season with Chicagoland’s biggest indoor, temperature-controlled light garden, featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays; an Alpine ice rink, authentic holiday beer garden, kiddie train rides, gift market, Merry Main Street Presented By Brach’s—and, of course, a visit with Santa. Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, in Festival Hall.”

 

Art on the Mart

  • Best viewed on The Chicago Riverwalk between Wells and Lake St.
  • “Our winter program will be shown nightly at 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. through December 30 featuring Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” After School Matters’ “Shaping the Future” and Ouchhh Studios’ “Harmonic AI.”

 

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

  • “Now in our 40th year, get ready to visit Chicagoland’s longest-running lights festival featuring over two million twinkling LED lights!”
  • Play the Game of Gnomes! Embark on a fun-filled scavenger hunt in search of 24 whimsical and enchanting themed gnomes, measuring 12 – 20 inches that will be located throughout the park.”

 

Big Timber Brilliance

  • Nov 26th – Jan 2nd
  • Camp Big Timber in Elgin
  • “Big Timber Brilliance is an illuminated winter trail walk. Celebrate the holidays on a trail featuring 10 light installations harmonizing light, music and nature. We invite you to bring your family and friends to experience the magic.”

 

Six Flags Great America: Holiday In The Park Lights!

  • Select days November 26th – December 30th
  • 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
  • The Holiday In The Park Lights experience will include:
    • Over 3 million sparkling lights
    • Continuous twinkling holiday light displays throughout our property
    • Themed entertainment for open-air viewing such as holiday shows and character storytimes
    • Special socially-distanced photo ops
    • Delicious holiday treats and other exciting surprises
    • Santa visit & mailbox, holiday fun house, roaming holiday characters
    • The thrilling rides will be hibernating but the family rides will be operational!
  • “Pick up your s’mores kit and get ready to toast some marshmallows at one of our fire pits throughout the park for the merriest and meltiest treat this side of the North Pole!”
  • The Drive Thru Experience is available December 3rd – January 9th. Enjoy Holiday Park Lights from the comfort of your car!

 

Jack Frost Winter Walk Pop-Up & Christmas Tree Farm 

  • Goose Island Chicago. 1467 N. Elston Ave
  • Dec 2nd – Jan 2nd
  • “Jack’s Winter Walk & Christmas Tree Farm Pop-Up is located on over 2 acres of land in the historic Goose Island. Pick a perfect Christmas Tree, grab a memorable Instagrammable moment, or just get out of the house and get some fresh air on a perfect midwinter evening, as you get lost in the largest, and only, evergreen forest in downtown Chicago. In accordance with Chicago’s Department of Health Safety standards wearing a mask is always required, visits are limited to 1.5 hours and there is no food & beverage available for purchase.”

 

Rotary Lights

  • 410 Veteran Memorial Drive, La Crosse Wisconsin
  • “Nearly 160,000 visitors per year enjoy this holiday tradition while driving, walking or taking a carriage ride through Riverside Park. Santa will be in the park every night through December 23, again this year there will be no lap visits with Santa, however children will be able to talk to him like in 2020.  A couple of Santa’s reindeer will be in the park through December 23.  Stop by to see the Live Nativity on select nights.  The ice rink and free skate rental will be available to use when the weather allows. Carriage rides will be available on select nights.  Free s’mores will be available at the fire pit.  This has been so popular we are adding a second pit!  Helicopter rides will be offered again this year.  New this year is All Abilities Night on November 29th.  We will be adjusting the lights and music to accommodate individuals that may not have been able to experience the show in the past due to flashing lights and loud music.  Events are on select nights, check out the Event Schedule for more details.  
    With over 3,000,000 lights, you can imagine the breadth and depth of this holiday display. And remember, it’s FREE.”

 

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum :

  • “The ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns as a walking experience. Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound. You will be awed and delighted to see returning favorites and surprising new sights, including a special Human+Nature display and an experience featuring 150 colorful lanterns. Journey along a one-mile paved walking path amid festive music and lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Along the route, warm up by a crackling fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Illumination will highlight the many gifts of trees: natural beauty, increased feelings of peace and calm, homes for wildlife, and the air we breathe.”
  • Advance purchase is recommended as many nights will sell out. Please note that any ticket purchases made on-site during Illumination and Illumibrew will be credit card only.
  • November 20th – January 2nd

 

Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden:

  • November 12th – January 2nd
  • “The popular holiday event is back, with a new path and exciting new delights! We’ve got inventive new installations and all your favorites too. Hum along to the melodic tunes of the singing trees. Surround yourself in the twinkling glow of the Winter Cathedral, and find new features that shine with all the colors imaginable. This holiday season, set a merry mood with friends and family. Book early to guarantee your preferred dates. Tickets sold out last year!”

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

  • “ZooLights will feature hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of millions of illuminated lights, plus reduced capacity admission to keep your family safe.”
  • “New this year: sensory-friendly visit times and an impressive 18-foot holiday tree sure to inspire festive oohs and aahs.”
  • November 19th – January 2nd
  • 4 – 10PM
  • Tickets will cost $5 / guest (free admission on Mondays & Tuesdays)

 

Santa’s Village Magical Christmas Celebration

  • “Enjoy over 2 million lights synchronized to holiday music, dazzling displays, live animals, and Santa himself as you drive through our park, all from the comfort of your car.
  • At the end of your drive-thru experience, you’ll be able to purchase funnel cakes and hot chocolate while taking in the breathtaking view of our park.”
  • Opens December 2nd!

Santas Rock N Lights

  • Grayslake, IL
  • Nov 19th – Jan 2nd
  • Online ticket purchase required.
  • “Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show. You’re invited to experience the themed worlds of light including dinosaur world, over 700 feet of tunnels and a longer route.”

 

How To Keep Your Kids Safe Near Garage Doors

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Is it time to have your garage door repaired or inspected? Don't underestimate the importance of garage door safety around your children.

 

Willow Hill Winter Magic 

  • 1350 Willow Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
  • “Willow Hill Golf Course is proud to present its first annual Willow Hill’s Winter Magic drive-thru Christmas lights event! This family holiday event features over one million lights adorning displays of characters (like snowmen and penguins), beautifully lit Christmas trees (50 of them!), drive through light tunnels, and so much more.
  • We are open Nov 20th thru Jan 2nd, seven days a week from 4:30pm to 10:30pm. One ticket is good for one car-full, so load up the entire family for this one.”

 

Christmas Tyme Lights

  • Harvest Tyme, Lowell Indiana
  • Nov 26th – Dec 30th
  • “Drive through our lighted display, surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights! Our one of a kind light display is over a half mile long and will be sure to make your Christmas season unforgettable.”

 

MSI: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

  • “It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof. This years theme is the golden age of travel!
  • Purchase timed entry tickets for pictures with Santa and / or The Grand Tree!

 

Goebbert’s 2020 Light Show

  • Open through January 9th!
  • GOEBBERT’S PUMPKIN PATCH & APPLE ORCHARD: 42W813 Reinking Rd, Pingree Grove, IL 60140
  • During the week (Monday-Thursday) you can purchase tickets at the gate or online by visiting our website. Weekends are online ticket sales only.

 

All Aglow: Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

  • November 27th – January 9th
  • 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford
  • “Celebrate the holidays at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens! Come see sparkling holiday lights in the outdoor gardens. The outdoor display features familiar favorites, light-wrapped trees and shrubs, as well as new surprises to discover. View elegant illuminated stars and 50 jumbo lighted candy canes, all hand-made by Conservatory staff. All in all, the outdoor grounds will have 300,000 lights, including many “glistening” lights, adding extra sparkle to the displays. Lights are on dusk to dawn. Park closes at 10:00 pm.”

  • This is a FREE event for the public, but donations are appreciated.

 

Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

  • November 26th – December 30th
  • Open 9A-9P daily, with the last entry time at 8:30P; Christmas lights come on at 3PM
  • 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
  • Advance reservations are not required.

 

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park

  • December 4th – January 3rd
  • “Join Lombard Park District’s annual lighting celebration on December 4th in Lilacia Park! Charming holiday displays light up Lilacia Park with a magical array of animated light shows, decorated trees, a gingerbread house, and much more.”
  • 150 South Park Ave., Lombard

 

Naperlights

  • “Visitors can access the display from the Webster Street covered bridge, Main Street and Webster Street.  Strollers can enjoy the outdoors with public parking is available in the Water Street and Municipal Center parking decks. Lights on Water Street tress will be synced to music, as will the arch on the Foyo Plaza, making a drive-through experience for individuals preferring to stay in their cars.”

 

LaSalle Celebration of Lights

  • “The Celebration of Lights season is finally here! Hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays as well as from 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and the week of the Christmas holiday. The display is free to view but donations are welcomed in order to ensure the display can continue and grow into the future! Come see the brightest Celebration yet at Rotary Park!”
  • November 16th – New Years Day

 

Mooseheart Holiday Lights

  • “Join us for our 12th Annual Holiday Lights display, opening on Friday, November 26th and running 5:00PM-9:00PM nightly through Friday, December 31st. Holiday Lights at Mooseheart is one of Chicagoland’s largest light displays! The lighted route is approximately 1.8 miles and has more than 80 lighted displays to view.”
  • 240 W James J Davis Dr, Mooseheart, IL

 

Aurora Festival of Lights

  • “One of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Aurora Festival of Lights, returns for its 15th year in 2021 with even more dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children.”
  • Phillips Park, Aurora, entrance is Smith Blvd at 5th Ave.
  • November 26th – December 26th.

 

East Peoria Festival of Lights

  • 123 Par 3 Lane, East Peoria
  • Opens Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 25, 2021, and runs nightly through Sunday, January 2, 2022.
  • 5 – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (shorter lines)
  • 5 – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • 5 – 9 p.m. December 24 through January 2
  • Admission is paid at entrance booth.
  • “The drive-through electric park is the Festival of Lights’ signature event! Folepi’s Winter Wonderland features the majority of the Parade of Lights floats and many other lighted display.”

 

Shelbyville Festival of Lights

  • East North 9th Street, Shelbyville
  • “Come to Shelbyville and take a drive through Forest Park as it is lit up for the Holiday season. These lights are put in place each year by volunteers and new lights and themed areas are also added. Candy Cane lane is to honor loved ones. The Historical Chautauqua Building becomes a huge carousel. Come enjoy the Victorian Village, Santa’s Shop, the North Pole, Bethlehem, and others.  The lights have been changed to the new and brighter LEDs.”

 

Larsen Christmas Light Show

  • November 25th – Jan 2nd
  • 42W891 Beith Rd, Campton Hills, IL 60119
  • Monday to Thursday: 5-9:30 pm; Friday to Sunday: 5-10:00pm

 

Candy Cane Canyon Trail

  • 371 Canyon Trail, Carol Stream
  • Saturday December 4th – Sunday January 1st
  • The lights run 4:30 – 10:00 Sunday – Thursday and 4:30 – 11:00 Friday and Saturday, weather permitting through January 1st

 

Holiday Lights Trolley

  • “Bring your own beverages…
    …for the vintage trolley ride! Cups will be provided on the trolley. As soon as we board a vintage trolley, we’ll be whisked off toward Christkindlmarket, The Magnificent Mile, State Street and Macy’s Holiday Windows, and the Christmas Tree at Millenium Park followed by a visit to Lincoln Park Zoo ZooLights. We’ll have the chance to get off the trolley and explore the Christkindlmarket and ZooLights.While on the trolley we’ll listen to classic Christmas music, sing Mariah Carey and enjoy whatever beverages we brought!After soaking in the urban winter wonderland, we’ll head back to Matilda and rave about all the seasonal sparkles we just saw.”

Chicago Foam Company Review


 

 

Hey! Did you see on the gram that my laundry machine overflowed and flooded the backyard?!

 

 

JK! That was just an impromptu foam party / kiddie rave from Chicago Foam Company!

 

Chicago Foam Company is the latest, pandemic friendly, party feature to hit Chicagoland! Once I started seeing posts circulate on social media, I just couldn’t resist contacting them and requesting to review their experience. Although I wish I had discovered them earlier in the summer, Wednesdays 80 degree day was perfect to take a break from e-learning and head to the backyard for a foamy surprise!

Although this is an awesome feature to accompany any block party, birthday party, etc., we decided to use their services for some family fun in the backyard. Everything lately has just been so stressful and a backyard of foam was just what the doctor ordered!

So how does it all work?

Per their website:

  1. We bring everything but the water—including sound system, beach balls (for safety reasons, you’ll blow them up yourself), and .75 horsepower Foam Cannon. (Vroom vroom!)

  2. We hook up to your water source and electrical outlet. (We bring more than 50 feet of hose and extension cords.)

  3. You and your guests have a blast in the foam.

  4. We clean and pack everything up. We can leave the foam out if you like (most people want to keep it) and it will typically last for another 10-15 minutes of fun.

 

 

I can attest that it really is just as simple as that! We booked, they arrived, hooked up to our hose and outlet in our backyard, and away we went! The kids danced and played in the foam to some kid friendly tunes and enjoyed one of the final days of summer. Once our time was up, the company left and the foam stayed around for a little while longer for the kids to play in before our backyard looked exactly the same as before he arrived.

Does a party get any better than that? The kids had a blast, no clean up on my part, and memories to last a decade.

Although the kids are pictured in their swimsuits, my sister in law and I joined in on the fun fully clothed. I would have expected to come out soaked but my clothes were really just a little damp. So I am heavily considering using their services again for a halloween party in the beginning of October. Yes, the temps will be cooler but, it’s foam! The foam itself won’t be cold and it really barely clings to you so the kids won’t be shivering like they just got out of a pool. And with their new glow foam addition, I can’t imagine a more fun way to celebrate Halloween than a night time foam party!

Not to peer pressure you or anything, but nothing is cooler than a mom who let their kids ditch last period to go to a backyard rave. Just sayin. 😉

 


Friday Story Time With Colors of Chicago


 

The Day You Begin is such a beautiful back to school story to remind children of what it feels to be left out for a variety of reasons and also it is a great conversation starter on ideas your child can implement to make sure they don’t say hurtful things to class members and that they take the time to include and really get to know classmates that are different from them.

 

So, first I would love for you and your children to enjoy the story time!

 

How great was that?!

 

Now here are some questions to ask your children after the story is over!

 

 

Enjoy these additional printable activities to compliment the story and prepare for back to school!

 

TDUB2

TDUB3

TDUB4

TDUB5

 

And please support the author and purchase the book for your own home library!

 


Illinois Berry Picking Farms


Near to Chicago U-Pick Berry Farms

 

 

 

 

 

Backwoods Berry Farm:

  • 27244 Hettick Scottville Rd., Hettick IL
  • Blueberry season coming to a close, keep an eye out for peaches in August!
  • Facebook page has the most current updates on the berry status

 

Billy Boy’s Blueberry Barn

  • 650 Freyer Rd., Michigan City IN
  • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Masks required
  • “We are the closest blueberry farm from Illinois located approximately less than 60 minutes from Chicago, IL. We are minutes away from New Buffalo, MI, the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlet Mall and the Indiana Dunes.”

 

Blueberries of Indiana

  • U-Pick season is open!
  • Check their Facebook page for blueberry status before heading out
  • No credit cards accepted
  • Wear masks in the building, bring your own containers.

 

Garwood Orchards

  • 5911 W. 50 S, La Porte IN
  • Check the Facebook page for updates before you arrive but latest availability include green tomatoes, pickles, & red and black raspberries.

 

Heider’s Berry Farm:

  • 1106 N. Queen Anne Rd., Woodstock
  • “Heider’s Berry Farm provides pick your own and pre-picked strawberries (June and September till frost) and raspberries (July and September till frost). Seasons vary depending on the weather so watch for specifics as the seasons approach. Hours are flexible depending on weather and supply. Check facebook or Connect With Us on the home page before coming.”

 

Johnson’s Farm Produce

  • 8960 E. Ridge Rd, Hobart IN
  • Strawberry season is closed.
  • Last days for blueberry U-Pick are July 23rd – 26th and then the farm will be closed for U-Pick until August 29th when it reopens for raspberries & blackberries!

 

McCann Berry Farm

  • 18110 Kishwaukee Valley Rd, Woodstock, IL
  • Wednesdays: 8 am until picked out (generally by 2 pm). Saturdays: 8 am until picked out (generally by 1 pm).
  • Call ahead or check FB page for updates to determine availability

 

Olive Berry Acres:

  • 2575 W. Mine Road, Mazon IL
  • Closed for U-Pick strawberry season

 

Prairie Hill Blueberry Farm: 2020 Season is over

 

Stade’s Farm and Market:

  • 3709 Miller Rd, McHenry IL
  • Strawberry & raspberry season is over, but U-Pick sunflowers are in season!

 

Stateline Blueberries

  • 9957 N. Frontage Rd, Michigan City IN
  • Masks are not required and you do not need a reservation
  • The Farm Update section of their website gives you the most up to date information on their blueberries and where to pick.

 

Tammen Treeberry Farm

  • 37131 Essex Rd, Wilmington, Illinois
  • U- Pick blueberries scheduled to reopen Thursday, July 23rd. Watch Facebook page for updates

 

The Blueberry Patch

  • 7015 Blackwell Dr., Sawyer MI
  • U- Pick is open!

 

Thompson Strawberry Farm:

  • 14000 75th Street, Bristol WI
  • “Our strawberry season is now over. It looks like the sunflowers might be ready around the 25th of July, and go for about two weeks. We will have a short break, to wait for more to bloom. Then we should have sunflowers for a month after that.  Our pick your own raspberries will begin around the end of August.”

 

Tom’s Farm Market

  • 10214 Algonquin Rd, Huntley, IL
  •  U-Pick season is over

 

Valley Orchard

  • 811 E. State Street, Cherry Valley IL
  • “Blueberries and blackberries are available. Red raspberries and currants are done for the season.”

 

You Pick Berries:

  • 30683 Lanan Rd, Kingston IL
  • Currently not enough berries for picking so far. Follow Facebook page for updates

 

 

 


P.S. You’re The Best Kids Cards


I am sure we have all asked our children to prepare cards for family members and friends birthdays in order to provide them a small role in being generous to other people and to show gratitude to friends and family.

Depending on age and artistic ability, the end result will vary. I know with my own children, they struggle at this stage with doing more than a small picture and writing their name. And although I know family and friends are grateful for anything they make, I still always felt like I had to add more so that the recipient would understand the reason we were sending the card. By adding additional wording or helping them decorate I felt like I was taking the project out of their hands a little.

I discovered the business, P.S. You’re The Best just a few weeks ago and I couldn’t help but think, “What a wonderful solution!” The kids love to color so they really enjoy coloring in the black & white cards. They find the joke that is included with each card hilarious, and there is still ample space for them to add their own pictures and signatures. My initial thought was that this would be perfect for birthdays and special occasions for family members but considering the state of the world today and our inability to visit friends and family… what a fantastic opportunity to reach out to loved ones “just because” and let them know we are thinking of them. Not only that, but the line of healthcare hero cards enabled us to begin a project of decorating cards for nurses working in COVID-19 units to be dispersed along with a food delivery coordinated by the Moms of the Western Suburbs Facebook group.

 

 

There are a few charity opportunities around that allow children to work alongside their parents for a good cause, but they aren’t in great abundance. Or not feasible for everyone. Nowadays these opportunities will be even more slight unfortunately. But a project like the healthcare hero cards was the most perfect way for them to contribute to a good cause and to begin a conversation about why we are supporting healthcare workers and why we should be grateful for all of their hard work. I would encourage all families to have these conversations and purchase some cards to deliver to their local hospitals!

The owner of P.S. You’re The Best, Amanda Hamblin was gracious enough to respond to some interview questions and let the WSWDTC family discover more about this local mom and her local business!

 

Q. So what is the WHY behind P.S. You’re The Best and when did you launch?

 

A. “I have always wanted to start my own business. I have had many ideas over the past several years, but non of them really stuck with me. I started doing crafts and projects with my toddler and initially thought I would start documenting our days playing with play dough and making sun catchers. Then one day, about 9 months ago, I forgot to have my daughter make a birthday card for her grandma’s birthday.  I was running around trying to find crayons, paper, stickers, envelopes and everything else to make this thoughtful handmade card. Then to top it off I didn’t have any stamps to get it in the mail, and ideally it should have been in the mail yesterday. 

At the same time one of my best friends sent me a card in the mail. It wasn’t a birthday card or a Christmas card. It was a just because card. My family and I had just moved away from home, and she must have known how much I was missing everyone. When I received that card in the mail it made me smile, cry, feel warm, appreciated, missed, thought of and noticed. It’s crazy how a card can elicit so much emotion. To think she thought of me and took the time to get a card, sit down and write a long thoughtful note felt like getting a warm hug from my best friend. It was exactly what I needed. 
These two stories paired together made me realize sending mail isn’t the easiest thing to do. It is so much easier to send a text, call, or leave a voicemail. That’s when I thought, ‘How can I make it easily accessible for kids and families to stay connected in a way that has been lost? A way that connects people on a different level and portrays something deeper than a text.’ “


Q. I see that there is a monthly subscription service, how does it all work?


A.PS You’re the Best offers two different options! In both options kids get to connect to the special people in their life by creating something unique and sending it via snail mail.” 

Monthly Subscription Box
  • Each month kids get a box packed full of Cards, Envelopes and Stamps to create and send to the special people in their life. The box also includes different activities the kids get to do and create. Each box has a monthly theme that goes with some of the fun silly days that are celebrated in the month.
  • It is a monthly service. You are charged each month for the next box. You can sign up for the subscription so it automatically gets renewed each month or choose to give it as a gift and just receive one month.
Card Packs
  • These are popular with grandparents and families that just want to send cards, but not subscribe to the whole box full of activities.
  • The card packs come with cards, envelopes and stamps so the cards can be sent out asap!
  • Card packs start with 5 cards and go up to infinity!

 

Q. Tell me a little about your background and your connection to Illinois.

 

A.I am from Alton, IL, right across the river from St. Louis, MO. We moved to the burbs about 2 years ago, 3 weeks after my littlest was born. I am married to my main man! We will celebrate 11 years married in June. We have two little girls. EJ is my sweet, princess loving, ninja girl who is almost 4. Penny is my little play buddy and Frozen lovin almost 2 year old. I am a teacher who stopped teaching in the classroom when my first was born. Now I teach online in the mornings along side PS You’re the Best.”

 

Q. This is a question we ask all of our guests (Well, Congratulations! You are the first guest!) What are your favorite things to do with kids in the Chicagoland area?!

 

A. “We haven’t lived in the Chicago area too long, but we do enjoy all the parks in the area. We are always trying to find a new Forest Preserve or someplace to go walking and hiking. In the summer you will find us at Cyprus Cove all day everyday! Colonial Cafe is our favorite place to grab dinner and we also really like walking around downtown Naperville when it is nice out.”

 

Q. Last question, what is the main thing you would like to impart about your business?

 

A. “Handmade cards are more than just a simple note (though a simple note is always special). Handmade cards, especially when made by kids, reflect time, love, creativity and thoughtfulness. These are values that can’t be taught, but experienced and shown through small acts of kindness. Now parents can rest well knowing that a box of cards, and all the supplies needed to create and mail, will be sent to their door step monthly.

Here is some food for thought, cards suit every occasion and can be gifted to anyone. “