Phone Charging, Peter Max exhibit and a conversation with one of the most lovely security guards and numerous other random people without power on a Friday night. This mall did not fail. And in fact, I had such a great time just hanging out... where else would I go with hungry kids and a place where I can charge my phone?
Peter Max was in town today with an exhibit near the Neiman Marcus entrance on the lower level. Last night was the pre-opening, and it was so nice to bring my kids in to see their first $40K painting. Northbrook Court is trying new things, and I love that they are incorporating art exhibits into their empty spaces.
Hint: Also noticed a Toys R Us Express store coming in across from Papyrus.
The lounge area on the lower level near the east end of the mall is comfy cozy. We were here for over an hour while we kept ourselves occupied and charged all our phones. Thankfully the security guards didn't mind that we were loitering for awhile until the lights started to turn off.
Love this mall more and more each time I stop in.
Kicking off the warm weather season, last night we christened this park with a family game of frisbee and some playtime on the kid structures. I can't tell you how relieved I am that my kiddos haven't yet outgrown this place. With so many benches (I think they added more), all the swings and climbing structures appear to be in optimum working condition. For grownups this is an ideal place to relax and enjoy meeting other families while watching the kids safely play.
Feeling hungry while you're hanging out? Someone ordered Sarpino's Pizza from right across the street. We watched the owners of Sarpino's walk across the park with a pizza in hand to deliver it to a family sitting on one of the picnic tables. How's that for service? I say plan ahead and enjoy eating dinner on one of the picnic tables. After your done, don't be surprised if you hear the ice cream truck coming around the corner...
Honeybees, lightening struck trees, and paths in the forest...
Heller Nature Center is an amazing, mostly untouched, sanctuary our family didn't explore until last year. On our first visit we felt like we had just stepped out of the wardrobe and into Narnia (without the hobbits of course). Just a few minutes from our house, this 97-acre forest preserve is a place for solitude, a walk with the family, and a place to uncover, discover, and rediscover.
A magical place that feels like a million miles away from it all, you will find us here on Father's Day, Mother's Day (if we're not in Lake Geneva), and any other chance we can get. We recently took a fall stroll along the trails and ventured to the pond at the very end where we like to look for frogs popping out of the water.
Aside from the walking trails, Heller has much to offer to the community. Part of the Park District, it offers unique birthday party packages (even in the winter season), summer camps, room rentals, and a visitor center with on-site activities and jars of honey (made by the on-site honeybees) you can purchase.
Looking for a fun family winter activity? Rent cross-country skis at the Center and set out for a cool weather adventure. Careful not to take a wrong turn, because you might just bump into Hansel and Gretel!
We love taking the kids to the Kohl's Children's Museum where everything is interactive and so completely worth $40 for a family of four. I don't even know where to begin with this place, because it's at the top of its class, beautifully designed and obviously well funded. With 17 top-notch exhibits all in working order, there is also a really beautiful outdoor area where the kids can take a 'learning' break and run around outside in the warmer months.
Hands down, here are the boys' favorite exhibits:
- Water Works, similar to the water exhibit at The Chicago Children's Museum, gives kids the opportunity to get slightly splashed and learn how water and science work together.
- Car Care is so much fun, and the kids get their hands on everything related to cars and even go through a pretend car wash - like something out of Willy Wonka's factory.
- Hands On House is an exhibit that teaches kids how houses are constructed. Aside from the digger that picks up rocks, they really like 'painting' the inside of the house.
- Finally, and perhaps their most favorite exhibit of all is the Potbelly Sandwich Works exhibit. Here kids go behind the counter and prepare Potbelly Sandwiches and serve them up to customers, cash register and all. They also learn about cleaning up the restaurant at the end of their shift. This is such a fantastic teamwork opportunity and kids from everywhere work together to run a food business. The best part is parents get to sit at the restaurant tables and be served - for once!
If you haven't had the chance to visit this museum, just go. GO NOW!!
When it comes to Lake Geneva, no visit would be complete without the house walk. In fact, it's such a favorite activity of mine that we actually celebrated Mother's Day early so we could avoid the possibility of rain on the official celebration day.
It rained like cats and dogs the day before, so I was worried the path would be muddy. This is when I discovered that the neighbors have taken such great pride in improving the walkway even more, that the majority of the path is now paved, bricked, filled with stone, and just a small patch of dirt remains. Mind you, that dirt section of the path is in the back of one of the most magnificent mansions residing along the path.
This time we opted for the extra long route, and walked a little over three miles round trip with our boys. Yep, they were completely pooped out (so was I) on the way back, but I know they'd do it all over again. The reason I bring this up is because this walk is family-friendly for kiddos who can walk. There are benches throughout the way, so if you need to rest your tired feet, you can. You could probably push a single stroller for part of it, but it might be a little rough.
On a warm sunny day there is nothing more magical than seeing the glistening lake surrounding by old historic homes. Honestly, I always feel at peace and leave feeling like I can conquer the world.
Note: The path continues for 21 miles around the lake and there is no bathroom, so be prepared beforehand.
Update. I love a movie deal, and we scored first run movie (Oz The Great and Powerful) tickets and snacks for a family of four for $40.
Sure it's not stadium seating, and it's a low budget (but very clean theater), and I wish I could single-handedly contribute to their Save The Theater campaign, because people reading this should know how much of a loss it would be to lose this one.
Sunday matinee. Barely anyone in the theater. Two adult tickets, two kid tickets, large popcorn bucket and two medium (huge) drinks for $9. Popcorn refills for $1. We also ended up with two big boxes of candy and all together we came in at $40. Think about it for a second...
Updated movie theater would cost $40 just for the tickets and no snacks. Save yourself $20 and come here. You'll also feel like you're supporting a small mom and pop business.
This place is seriously a great deal.
I continue to be in love with my hometown library.
My kiddos are at the gaming phase in their life, and we headed to the library for Wii games, because I just don't feel like buying anymore. They are obsessed, but I'm more obsessed with not spending anymore money on their gaming habit - ha! They have a couple of sections of games here. A section in Juniors and for kids under 6th grade. They have a 5 checkout maximum on these for 7 days, so we made our selection.
I'm obsessed with their interior design book selection, and it just keeps getting better and better. I love that I'm super familiar with this area from checking out so many inspirational books, that I can grab them to go. They have some great design classics, like the Elle Decor bible, and current ones too by Holly Becker.
Boys taken care of - check! Mom taken care of - check! Time for hubby. That means heading into the movie section for some good old classics like "Don't Look Now" and "What's Up Doc" and some great browsing of titles for the future.
This library has something for everyone, and the customer service at the front desk is stellar. I've never had to wait longer than a couple of minutes, and I have to say I don't mind waiting, but they just insist on checking me out quickly! Shame on them ;-)
Can't wait to go back for even more movies!
Dear Four Cheese Veggie Pizza from Barnelli's,
Is it possible we're breaking up? Oh how I have loved you over the years. I've traveled out of my way to come to your Vernon Hills location because you aren't at the Skokie one. I've drooled over having a burger, but opted to have you because it seemed like a great meatless option. I am generous and split you with my hubby. I've told all my Yelper friends about you. But after what you did to me this weekend, I think we might be over.
* Your crust was tasteless and super flaky (I liked the texture, but no crust seasoning)
* Ummm, did you take away the other three cheeses that made you so special?
* You used to be so colorful with all your many loaded veggies. You weren't looking so colorful and loaded this weekend. Your veggie personality really let me down. I sure miss the abundance of red peppers and yellow zucchini.
You're different now, and I don't know if I can trust you. We had a great solid and consistent thing going. Why? Oh why did you have to go and change? Please tell me it's only temporary. Furthermore, the fact that you raised your price and took away all the things I loved about you just really bums me out.
Note: The photo posted with this pic is the way you used to look. Now you're just a few pieces of broccoli and a couple chunks of pepper and yellow zucchini.
These guys almost blew it...
Oh wow, yesterday I was not a happy person when I learned that the three-hour birthday party we booked for this year's celebration for my boys *surprisingly* DID NOT include the private one-hour rock climbing opportunity like last year. You know, the one we paid up front for. This weekend we are gearing up for another fabulous event at Life Time Fitness with private rock climbing, field sports and basketball. All private activities just for the party.
We received a call to remind us that the rock climbing wall is open to the public during that time. Okay we know someone totally messed up when booking this and forgot to mention that. Of course we would have never opted for that (especially since we paid for private). Let's just say there was a lot of back and forth on this one, but the manager did us a solid, and they agreed to send out a memo to all the club members who use the rock climbing wall on Sundays to let them know it's closing one hour early. Yep, that's right because we raised hell...and because they know they totally blew it. They also offered to do something extra special for us (let's see!), because we agreed to move the cake activity to the middle, instead of the end. A fair compromise. Gotta' hand it to these guys - they really saved their you-know-whats on this one. Five stars for the compromise, but one star for all the stress.
We still love you...
Play date of all play dates, the Tree House in the middle of Northbrook Court Mall is without a doubt the...perfect...spot to hang with your kids when the weather gets cooler and you're scrambling for a place for them to run around and blow off that extra kid steam.
Around forever, we've been visiting this hang with our boys for about four years now. The cut off age for kids is eight (8) with a height limit of 46", so our kids are getting a little big for this place. Nevertheless, we are determined to get our remaining 1.5 years in and visit at least two to three times a week. Though there are a lot of younger children here, there are also other kids their age always excited to play a round of zombies, hide-n-seek, or tag-your-it!
Aside from the cornucopia of germs you can no doubt pick up here (but they do have hand sanitizer upon exit), we love it for the following reasons:
1) It's a fenced in play area with benches all around where parents can have date night conversation without worrying about their kiddos running off. I can't believe I'm saying this, but once they get to that older more independent stage you can almost forget they even exist (meant with love)!
2) The tree house itself is extremely well designed and looks and feels like a real giant tree with peek-a-boo cutouts displaying bugs and animals. The roof has holes in it that make it authentic, and just last year we noticed the super adorable birdhouse on the east end roof. A slide, a spy tower, secret passages inside the tree, its branches are always appropriately decorated according to the season. Hanging icicles and snow in the winter, colorful leaves in the fall, raindrops and umbrellas during the spring season, and summertime brings dragonflies, butterflies, and ladybugs.
There are strict no-climbing rules for kids, and they are enforced by mall security for that extra piece of mind. And as far as the parent rules go, here are a few you should keep in mind:
- Don't leave your kids here and shop...we've seen it happen.
- Definitely enjoy your free time while the kids enjoy theirs.
- Keep a cat eye out if you have little ones running around, because older kids like my boys are also doing their thing.
- Don't be afraid to say hello to other parents, because we're all really cool.
- If you drink responsibly, you can bring in a cup of coffee and no one will stop you.
Note: If you're looking to host a private event here, you can call the main office and they can arrange this for you.
And, if you're ever in the area, come on by and say hello. My hubby and I are usually parked on the east side benches by the jewelry shop enjoying our cup of Joe.
When it comes to the new children's play space, I'm convinced they wanted to make sure the children were purposely displaced to the end of the mall and out of the way...meaning I miss it being more centrally located in the mall. I'm also convinced Dr. Seuss had a lot to do with the inspiration for the design...meaning it's really super cool.
Still encompassing rolling hills with a dragon head and tube tunnels to crawl through, you will also find a faux-bush maze to run through, a centrally located slide and some smaller toys and structures for the smaller kids and an interior bench for parents to sit on. There is a stage for childrens' concerts and a fully-planted herb garden for educational purposes.
Though I miss the old play area, and it's now officially the end of an era, I appreciate the new design concept and know there will be other kids who will make this their play area for years to come.
As far as the Dr. Seuss inspiration, the heat lamps look like giant table lamps with lamp shades, and the giant umbrellas for sun shade remind me of inverted bird wings ready to fly.
Definitely worth the stop, and we'll be back time and time and time and time again.
It's been awhile since my first review of the Lego Store, so I thought I would pop in with a quick update.
This place is still completely the bomb with lots of new inventory and sets that we get super excited about checking out. Though I find the cost of some of the bigger Lego sets to be completely shocking (even saw one for $400!), I get it. I understand. There are also some bigger sets that are fairly reasonable and obtainable ($70), and those are the ones that make for great bribing opportunities throughout the year. My kids actually have a Lego fund jar where they get an allowance for helping with extra projects.
Free Lego Tuesday (1st Tuesday of every month) is still a fantastic store promotion and a fun family outing. Though my kids are 7, and I don't know how long they'll be into going, they always enjoy staying to see what's new and noteworthy after their special build (Lego is so smart). Perfectly organized with all their staff on duty, the process for getting in line and to your special place at the table is smooth running every time.
We're still huge fans and have yet to be disappointed by Lego!
Tis the season for the first night of Highwood's Evening Market!
Note, I didn't say Farmers Market. The market has been renamed, because you won't find typical stands of fruits and veggies here, but you'll find a nice community event with a smattering of food trucks and local food and beverage vendors and live music.
Though the weather was a little bit funky and cool, there was a nice group of locals here to enjoy the festivities. A few new food trucks from Chicago and the surrounding areas graced us with their presence: The Fat Shallot Food Truck, Louie B. Fresh Mobile, Grill Chasers, Toasty Cheese, The Pizza Via, Mariani's Gelato Italiano. Forgive me if you're reading this and I forgot you. The full listing can be found right here: (celebratehighwood.com/fa…). I ordered up a sausage with kraut on a pretzel bun from The Fat Shallot, and my boys went for their usual Kobe burgers from local restaurant, The Taphouse.
A big surprise for me included a booth from Evanston's Hewn Bread company. And local favorites tend to be Cellar Gate Wine Market, The Popcorn Jester, and live music from Highwood Alderman Matt Feddermann and Danny Shaffer.
One can easily expect to pay about $10 per person if you want to eat and drink, and that doesn't even include having to choose a yummy dessert... because it's just so hard to make a decision between the funnel cakes, gelatos, and homemade apple sauces.
One more thing I should mention, they do have a local farmer onsite selling farm fresh eggs and such, which is just what you might be looking for if you yearn for a more traditional farmers market.
Lots of seating for everyone, provided by Highwood. Fun for the whole family!
Honestly? I personally love this place, even if there's not a lot of shade on a sunny hot day.
I've been here twice. Being a Lake County resident the entrance $ is free. Here you can enjoy an afternoon getaway from it all with so much to do, and I know I'm just getting started. My first visit consisted of a visit to the kids' play area. And my kiddos went wild climbing the climbing wall for a super long time and hanging on the slides. This time around the trip to the play area was not so successful because there is no shade for the kids to play and considering we've had about two days of hot weather this summer, mine just aren't used to it. We were literally in the play area for 10 minutes.
But that was okay, because we really came here to let the kids test out their new bike riding skills on the bike trails (once we figured out where they were). It took us a bit to navigate the map, but we ended up on one that actually took us through some shadier spots with picnic tables and lots of other bike riders. The bike trail we were on was nicely paved with distinct markings for right and left side travel. However, I'm convinced my kids were born to live in another state, because the temperature was just too hot for them and we lasted about 20 minutes.
All in all our visit this time around was only about 30 minutes. Next time I'm thinking we should take advantage of all the other really great things to do on a hot day. They have a beach, boat rentals, a bike for four with a top on it (kind of like a golf cart) for $45 an hour. Regular bike rentals, walking trails around the lake, and picnic areas for the family.
One new discovery I had this time around was the welcome center-- A nicely air conditioned pit stop (of course the boys didn't want to leave). It was interesting to see the history of the area and how the lake was made. There are preserved owls and native animals to the area and videos about glaciers, etc. It's a small display, but nonetheless great for kids to see what the area used to look like.
We'll be back for sure, but next time I'm thinking a paddle boat on the lake might be a great idea, especially on a hot day. Lots of sunscreen needed here.
I can't believe it's been a year since I reviewed one of my favorite North Shore parks. From playing in the sand area, to making it to the top of the rocket, to learning to ride bikes - tonight my boys have graduated to the skate park. Sunset Woods Park has been a part of our family for a long time, and we have many more years to go.
I'm holding my breath as I write this, because I can't believe my boys are now playing on the ramps at the skateboard park with their scooters. Thankfully they aren't yet playing with the big boy skateboarders that hang out here during the earlier hours, but as the night begins to fall the younger kids come out with their scooters (not really allowed... shhhh).
The skateboard park, though not appearing to be the safest with it's metal ramps, has smaller runs for those just starting out and larger ramps (mostly designed for skateboards). It's well designed and typically super busy with lots of kids hanging out practicing their jumps. Tonight I held my breathe and watched hoping there would be no broken bones, bumps or bruises, but I'm also learning to let go as their three-year old innocence has turned into cool cats wearing their vans and backwards baseball hats dreaming to play with the big kids one day. And, I imagine before I know it, that day will be here before I know it. Until then, I hope they won't forget to climb on the big giant structure and ride up and down the paths on their bikes. Sigh...
Michael's Hot Dog stand at the pool...
What do you get when you take everyone's favorite family hot dog stop (Michael's) and combine it with everyone's favorite water park (Hidden Creek)? Ultimate summer fun wrapped into one.
It was National Ice Cream Day when we took our kiddos to the pool for twilight swim. I was waaaay too lazy to cook dinner and the boys were starving, so we decided to check out Michael's food stand. They loved it, and I truly appreciated the convenience factor. And, it reminded me of the good ol' days of being a kid and dining at poolside.
Two char dogs later, a huge pile of french fries and a drink for around $11, we even scored some free ice cream! Char dogs came with your choice of chips or pretzels.
Take note: Fries are tasty, but they aren't the same as what's served in the restaurant, so you'll have to go there to check them out (yelp.com/biz/michaels-ch…).
Cheeseburgers are $8, so I have to say the dogs are the best deal around!
I didn't want to leave...
So I woke up yesterday morning and was determined for my boys to experience something that had a train involved. At first I searched for a diner car that maybe they could eat in, but then the Illinois Railway Museum (non-profit organization) called out to me and that was that. It was a little difficult to know what we were going to expect for the day, and in retrospect I'm heartbroken we didn't get an earlier start because it ended way too quickly.
This was honestly the best bargain spend for a family activity all summer. Yesterday was their annual auto show mixed in with all the special trains/trolleys you could ride on all day long if you want. For $48 (they have a $50 cap per family), this venture was an adventure that my kiddos will no doubt remember for years to come.
We started our day on the daily electric commuter train built in 1928 and rode it as far as it would take us and then back to the station. My boys got to toot the whistle of this train and it was a lovely ride with the wind blowing through our hair. It lasted about 30 minutes. Our next plan was to take the Zephyr, but we got to the area so late in the game that we decided to walk around and check out the cars and all the various barns with parked trains so we didn't miss anything. Of course the deal was that they would hop the trolley car at the end of that excursion.
Each barn had cars you could actually walk through, and I got so much joy walking through a dining car/lounge car feeling like I had fulfilled my initial intended journey of the day. Yes!
There was so much to do and see here that I suggest allowing yourself 4-5 hours instead of the 3 hours we had. It was about a one-hour trip from the North Shore (about the same as a trip to Lake Geneva), and so we'd have to be prepared to take the drive if we want to go back. It would be worth it in my book.
Take note, the on-site diner closes at 5pm, so you'll be left trying to find a place to dine on your way home. We headed to the Wild West steakhouse and the experience (food and $) made our trip end with a bit of a downer, but hey, what are you going to do?
BTW, I should mention that the car show was probably one of the best shows I've seen, so without a doubt we'll be heading back here next year for this experience. They have Thomas The Tank Engine special events and other events. You just need to check the schedule.
And, speaking of schedules...just go with the flow at this place. If you don't see it all the first time around, it's a great excuse to come back.
A two...only because it made my kids smile.
Yep, it's a tourist trap and that's exactly what I prepared for. However, I expected my food to have some kind of flavor (at the very least). I envisioned my burger having that local farm-to-table taste. I mean this place is surrounded by farms and cattle!
This is part of a stop along the side of the road you pass on the way to the Union Railway Station. You stop here for two reasons: 1) Your kids and 2) Your kids. Because it looks like a Wild West town and because your kids are hungry due to the fact the museum cafe closes at 5pm and Wild West appears to be the only place in town.
(Mind you...the super nice golf course outside the Wild West pavilion is most likely privately owned by the owner of this place. Ha!)
So the food. There is a kids menu, but it's $5.95 and then you have to pay $.99 for a kid drink (refills included). My husband was probably the only vegetarian that had made a stop in this place in years, and I feel bad that I encouraged him to order the veggie burger he was eying. Our food took so long, probably because they were figuring out how to cook the 10-year old frozen patty. Let's just say he bit into a chunk of a frozen something or another. He put it up close to the light to make sure it wasn't a finger (I'm serious). My burger and baked beans sucked. I mean there is just no other word. Flavorless and pricey! The good thing? I'm going off burgers for awhile. This did it for me. I've been eating salad ever since.
Customer service. Yuck. Our server barely gave us time to look at the menu, and the light above our table was screwy and had the wrong bulb in it so we all looked like we were sitting around a prison table being interrogated. She thanked us for telling her about the bulb and said she'll fix it for the next person. What? We could have moved, but we were just so done at that point and wanted to eat and get out of there. We turned the light off and ate in the dark. We didn't want to ruin the boys' fun.
The bottom line. It's really fun for kids to look around and see lots of cool saddles, cow and moose heads and a stuffed buffalo you can actually sit on, but save yourself the $40 and bring snacks until you make it back to civilization. Take them in the lobby. Put $.25 in the horse ride and let 'em go at it. Take a few pictures of them outside the complex. Then...run!!!
Nothing says summer is right around the corner than the free Monday night car shows in the west car lot!
The show is just getting off to a start (last week got rained out), so there weren't as many cars as I would have liked, but there was a fantastic collection of Corvettes and just enough muscle cars to make my in-the-past greaser hubby swoon and reminisce of days gone by. Even if you're not into cars, the people watching is just... the... best! I can't express how much fun it is to see car lovers and groupies from all walks of life.
Fun family activity and Monday night tradition. And, don't forget kettle corn from The Popcorn Jester!
Looking forward to the night my Baby Boom-inspired Jeep Wagoneer makes an appearance!
If I could take this place and either add more books to it or bundle it all up into a cozier space, I would feel more at home here.
I'm a HUGE, GINORMOUS book store fan. I'm a supporter of book stores and will honestly be beyond sad when they disappear. It felt a bit empty and sad in here today. I can't explain it. It wasn't very inviting and I didn't feel like sticking around. There is an amazing event space that connects to the bookstore. It has a couch and a couple of chairs in there. I wasn't sure if there is where one would go to read a bit, but it didn't call out to me. However, what did catch my eye about this place is the fact that it seems very family friendly. They have a great kids section with lots of discounted books, and I love that they partner with the Glenview Public Library to put on free events...and of course The Storybook Mom is there once a month. I think their family vibe is what keeps this place in business - good for The Book Market!
I look forward to keeping up with the events on their site. Overall The Glen is a lovely community, so bringing the kiddos to an event here wouldn't be so out of the way since there are other locations to check out.
I'm glad to see a bookstore that's still making it happen. Yay!
An annual holiday tradition families have been taking in for years, our family is no exception. Each year we pile in the car and drive around the Lincolnwood Towers neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights set up on individual properties. The entire tour lasts around 15-20 minutes, and it's a matter of driving up and down the streets throughout the neighborhood: Sauganash Avenue, Leroy, Longmeadow, Navahoe, and Nokomis are the major streets. The best time to go is before Christmas. This year we went after, and I have to say some of the streets were spotty. Of course you won't want to miss the one house that wins an award every year. They have a mini ferris wheel, hot air balloon, vintage ornaments, and the house is covered. There's also the house with the tree house covered in lights, and the famous house with the three-story tree. Feliz Navidad mixed in with Shalom signs and Virgin Mary's. Snoopy, snowmen, reindeer, Santa hanging from basketball nets. You'll see a mix of everything.
The best part? It's free!
Free and open to the public, the sledding hill is great for beginners and advanced sledders all in one place! It may be cold, but this is one great place where everyone can stay safe because it's not too steep and it's easy to watch your kiddos coming down. On the hill there is a separate gated area for walking up the hill. Nice crowd and a great way to meet other parents.
For those who don't know, this used to be called Centennial Park. The Centennial Ice Arena and gymnastics building is adjacent to the sledding hill, which is great for warm ups and bathroom breaks.
There's easy free onsite parking.
No after-dark lighting here, so respect the daylight hours or you'll be sledding under the light of the moon.
You can probably tell from all my family restaurant reviews this week that my kiddos have been out of school. When I work and have kids at home, there's no time for cooking. Okay, the truth is there is never time for cooking at my house, which is why we choose quality fast food restaurants like this one.
My kids were hungry and wanted kid cheeseburgers and fries. The Merkt's cheddar is a bit too rich for one of my kids so we opt for American cheese. Yep, they have Merkt's here. And, we always order it on the side to dip our fries in - yum. Take note, you can now order sweet potato fries which I'm 100% excited about and would have ordered if I didn't get a salad. The hot dogs caught my eye tonight and looked fantastic and not greasy. Someone else ordered up a steak sandwich. It was thin with a generous portion of meet on a hoagie roll.
I'm a huge fan of the salads here. Sometimes if I'm not super hungry my hubby and I will split a large salad, but I ordered up a small salad for myself tonight. The best part about their small salads is the fact you get to choose four (4) ingredients. This is a great deal. They offer to chop it for you. I always ask for a side of croutons and they give me a bunch. They gave me two dressings on the side, and they have lots of ingredients to choose from. The usual good salad toppings. Tonight I had beets, cucumbers, cheese, and black olives. A small salad is just the right amount for an entire meal for one person. I honestly don't think I could make it through a large one on my own.
My hubby had the veggie burger in a whole wheat pita tonight. Unfortunately he said it was a miss with wilted lettuce and it didn't taste as good as the last time. He's not exactly sure why.
Tonight we were a bit rushed because there was a bat mitzvah taking place and we needed to be out by 7pm. They host a ton of parties here. It's interesting how they manage the flow of diners with the party setup. They've been doing it a long time, so it was very smooth.
I love Friday nights here, well weekends too, because it's kind of a scene. We see tons of families and always run into someone we know. They owner is amazing, and if you didn't know, Michael's is now the food vendor at the Aqua Park swimming pool in Highland Park this summer. Awesome!
The best part about my job is the fact that I can work from pretty much anywhere, as long as there is reliable Internet. But, who ever thought Brunswick's would become a new favorite work spot?
So it's spring break for my boys. When it comes to keeping them occupied, there's nothing like spending your lunch break on a super comfy sofa with great Internet while your kids duke it out in a game or two of laser tag with a friend. It was one great hour!
First of all this place was completely empty today...meaning my kiddos and their friend where the ONLY visitors! Weird, but cool. After a movie tutorial to learn how to play, they entered into a game of Urban Mission in the Chicago-themed laser tag arena, where you can either partner with a friend to protect your district or duke it out as individuals. It's a multi-player game with state of the art equipment. It was $5 per person per mission, and each mission is 15 minutes. For 8-year olds, two missions seemed just long enough.
Next they played various arcade games. The arcade area is huge. I had to keep my eye on them just a little closer, but today they got to run the place. Each kid is given a credit card you fill up with a certain dollar amount. Points earned are kept track of on the card, so in the end kids can find out how many points they have for prize redemptions (we sure did end up with a lot of crap candy). Games range from $.50-$3. Motorcycle riding and car racing is $1. There is this crazy multi-player Pac Man game that's $3. They also have old school games like basketball, skeetball, and don't forget the crane game!
Though we didn't stay for snacks, they do have food onsite and it didn't look awful. Clean, organized, fresh and new feeling. That's what you'll get here. It's so worth it! Fun for the whole family!
Mr. Peabody! My matinee movie experience on Friday officially renewed my faith in going to the movies. If I lived in Evanston, this is where you would find me at least twice a month.
Taking our kiddos to the movie couldn't have been easier. We parked in the ramp across the street and scored four free hours of parking with a ticket validation. Once inside the beyond gorgeous lobby area, we purchased our matinee tickets for $7 each. All four of us shared one large popcorn and one drink. The super nice woman at the fancy schmancy concession stand gave us candy bags and courtesy cups to make our lives easier. Need a Starbucks fix? No problem!
The lobby is gorgeous and festive with high ceilings and big dramatic curtains. The complex overall is divided. The arty movies are shown in a separate section off to the right of the ticket area near the jazzy lounge/bar area. The other side is where you'll find your more mainstream movies.
On the way to your designated theatre you'll pass by a photo booth and mini arcade...just in case you want to make a whole afternoon or evening out of your experience. I mean, why not stay? It's clean and comfy here and they have everything you could need? Coffee, wine, popcorn, clean bathrooms, and fantastic customer service.
It was really quiet during the week, and our movie only had one other family in the back. Whoo hoo! The seats were super comfy and the floors were clean (of course until we made a popcorn disaster).
The guy at the ticket stand had a fairly lengthy conversation about various movies with my movie-loving hubby, which made me think there is a great love of movies among the staff. Come here for a movie experience. Just like back in the day when going to the movies was a big deal. An real scene. It's magical here.
Family of 5 for under $12! Woo hoo!
But... NO MORE SPRINKLE CONES... well at least not for my boys... well as long as it's cold and they are eating them in the car. The backseat of our car is covered in sprinkles and the rears of my boys pants are covered in melted mushed colors as well. Experiment gone wrong, yeah, but the truth is it was worth it.
The ice cream tastes different here. It's fluffy and rich! There is no other way to describe it. It's light and airy and melts in your mouth. And, according to the sign on the window it's mostly fat free. Cones include your basic, sugar or waffle. When it comes to the menu there are so many options it's crazy. There are various dips and toppings for days. It was super crowded when we came over the weekend, so I had to order quickly. Next time I'll be a bit more creative.
We opted for size small, not kiddie size (yep they have it) chocolate ice cream in sugar cones with sprinkles on top. Note: Dip in chocolate first and then add sprinkles. It will stay on better. I got a size small sugar cone with chocolate ice cream and peanut topping. There was a new kid making them, so mine came out smaller than my boys. I got the kiddie! I was super bummed, but summer is coming and maybe it was a hint I should only have a couple of bites. We did get a couple of dip cones and one classic chocolate/vanilla twist. All size small, and well worth it.
I will be back, but next time I'll snap a picture of the menu before I get up to the line to make sure I don't miss out on an experimental ice cream experience! Yep, parking is crazy. Yep, it's crowded, so you've been warned.
Love this place. Reminds me of my childhood ice cream stop. It's a bit out of the way from Highland Park, but for a weekend getaway, it's worth it to have a mom and pop experience without spending a fortune!
I haven't actually participated in a class here, but I've visited several times for meetings. I've also toured the building, and I have to say each time I set foot in the front lobby I'm reminded of how spectacular Takiff is... we're talking a first class facility that's as clean as a hospital (in a good way).
Takiff is a huge space that consists of a bunch of rooms for classes, for kids to adults, like art, yoga, cooking, enrichment programs, and I think there is even a pottery studio. The gym is oversized for sports activities and events (I don't think they allow food or drink in there). Today I saw how organized their staff is when it comes to managing the many kids coming in and out of the building for day camp. For those thinking of signing up for a program, the team seems to really have their act together. Everyone is lovely and professional.
Aside from the various classes and classrooms, GJK is onsite, and I think they also have another Park District preschool. Wiggleworms hosts music classes here too.
Though I haven't actually seen the beach rentals, I've seen pictures. Inside there is a more formal room in Takiff with gorgeous windows and high ceilings, fit for a beautiful wedding reception or other formal event. The main level party room with a stage seems like it would be great for kids birthday parties.
So much to do and see. I could go on and on, but you'll just need to go check it out for yourself! If you're coming from the north, the turn is a bit tricky, so keep your eyes peeled for the entrance. Parking lot onsite.
Five stars for my love of this museum minus my museum experience of three stars the other day = four stars for this particular visit overall (lasting only one hour).
I grew up coming to this museum, and there is no greater joy than being able to share it with kids of my own. I've walked those brightly color coded stairways for years, walked down the streets of yesterday path, gone into the airplane, enjoyed watching the Swiss Jolly Ball flipper machine (largest in the world) operate, and I've strolled the circus halls, seen the Fairy Castle, etc.
One of our favorite things to do is come here on one of their free days and then upgrade to see a special exhibit or movie, or attempt to go into the coal mine (notice I said attempt). My kids have been begging us to take them to the coal mine exhibit. We planned a family day to the city to take advantage of their recent free day, but got their two hours before close. Yes, I know it was a risk, but a work situation only made it possible for me to take a half day, and I figured we'd head to the coal mine exhibit first and then whatever was left we'd enjoy it... because our experience was free for the most part, and my kids would already be so proud of me for holding up my end of the bargain - the coal mine!
Well... upon our arrival, after parking for $20 of course, we walked to the doors with great enthusiasm to notice a sign stating their will be an evacuation drill happening. What? Are you joking? Maybe they already had it, I mean it was 2pm when we arrived and the museum was closing at 4pm that day. Whatever. The coal mine will be our answer for getting here so late... everyone will be so happy!
We walked up to the counter to pay for the the coal mine exhibit and... guess what happened next? The tickets were all sold out! Nooooo, are you joking? Suddenly embodying the *I AM A SUCKY MOM* feeling all over, I told my husband we should walk over there anyway and maybe I can bribe the guy running it. He didn't think that would fly, so we dealt with mad-at-us kids and tried to make the best of everything. Then, at 3PM, only one hour into the museum, we were escorted out of the museum for their FREAKING evacuation drill! At that point we gave up and just left to go explore the city and head to Water Tower (which was a huge success by the way).
Note: Reserve your coal mine tickets over the phone ahead of time.
Note: Plan to get here with more than two hours to spare.
Reminder: Just be happy that museum free days even exist, and that we have this amazing museum in the Chicagoland area! That's really the moral to this story.
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Highland Park, IL, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
September 2012Dinge, die ich mag
My amazing kids and husband, my amazing friends, art, music, dance, interior design, textiles, bookstores, the jeep from Baby Boom, Ann and Paul Rand, summer, Lake Geneva, Philip Glass, Diane Keaton, Charles and Ray Eames, Shel Silverstein, grapefruit, architecture, black and white photographyHier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
Highland Park, ILHeimatort
Iowa City, IAMein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm creating children's art or making music.Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
I'm really honest and sometimes know more than I should or want to.Meine zweitliebste Website Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel SilversteinMein erstes Konzerterlebnis
I honestly can't remember, but I absolutely loved seeing David Bowie live.Mein Lieblingsfilm
Most anything with Diane Keaton in it. Annie Hall is up there.Meine Henkersmahlzeit
Beef Brisket or Corned Beef SandwichErzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I like beets.Meine neueste Entdeckung
Caffeinated ClubIch schwärme gerade für
I only have eyes for my husband.
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