Lil Sluggers

My good friend Pam did the research on this one, so I can’t take any credit. But after our first session of Lil Sluggers, I must say I’m so excited that we decided to sign up.

He's a Natural!

It was a glorious Chicago morning, we sat on picnic blankets watching someone else coach our children with more energy, patience, and knowledge than I was personally capable of. I was able to run behind the jogging stroller to the baseball field in 40 minutes along Michigan lake, there was a playground nearby where we played some more and picnicked. It was one of those moments where I was full of gratitude for my stay at home mom status.

Pin It

Brookfield Zoo

Membership mom. That should be my new name. Seems like every time we go check out a new place I end up buying a membership. It seems to work out that if you go a few more times that year it’s cheaper.

So when we ended up at the Brookfield Zoo last week, I became a member there too.

Three Moms, Seven Boys

It’s actually a bit of everything thrown into one. Not only can you ride a carousel, play at two different playgrounds, picnic on the grounds, get ice cream and ride a tram around the park but you can actually see lots of animals too! We even got in a dolphin show!

Getting 7 boys to sit requires lots of snacks

We spent the entire day there and still missed half of it. So I’m glad we can go back ‘for free’. I’m looking forward to petting the sting rays, riding the motor safari and seeing the butterflies.

The cons are, with traffic it can be far and like most things attractions in the suburbs it’s huge and crowded. The pros are it’s unlike anything you’ve been to before, your kids will never get bored (lost maybe but never bored!).

If we were to buy the day pass with access to all shows for one mom $26.50 and one kid over 3 $20.50 plus parking $9.00 it would have been $56.00. The family membership plus, which admits 2 adults, all children plus 1 guest each time, 6 guest passes, 4 dolphin show tickets, 4 motor safari tickets, free admission to the family and children zoo AND FREE PARKING all for $108.

Rhino exhibit's most interesting feature - The Moat in front

Pin It

Tooth Fairy Time

Once again, you can read a million books and still never be prepared for the next thing that surprises you child rearing. I’m actually reading three toddler rearing advice books right now and still wasn’t able to respond properly this morning when Jack, at the young age of 4 and 1/2, showed me his wobbly lower two teeth.

He was pretty upset about this recent development. He couldn’t stop crying. After smiling and telling him it’s a good thing I realized I ought to be empathizing with him. That trying to explain to him he shouldn’t be upset was just upsetting him more, belittling his fears.

I tried next, “It can be scary when your teeth fall out.”

That put him in a tailspin where he felt the need to go brush his teeth for 20 minutes while crying the whole time.

No matter what I did he could not be comforted. Letting him know it’s normal and everyone goes through it did nothing. (I guess while feeling labor, hearing that every mom went through it is no consolation either). Nor did boasting that he’s getting his ‘big kid’ teeth in.

In the end I resigned to the lap cuddle. Jack cried on my lap for even longer while Ben tugged at my back, crying from lack of attention.

Even the explanation of how the tooth fairy came and left money under his pillow scared the crap out of him. He replied, “I’m going to keep my window shut!”

Which made me wonder who came up with that crazy idea anyway. It is kind of a scary concept to think that, once you go to bed someone will sneak into your room in the middle of the night.

In hindsight I hope he’ll be happy we had the tooth fairy in our house. When I lost teeth my father wouldn’t just put money under the pillow. He would leave a note with an elaborate scavenger hunt. I hope I can pass that tradition on.


Pin It

So What Did I Do with all the Strawberries?

Besides eating them plain and giving some to friends and family….

1. The first night I was able to make them appealing with simple additives. Dessert for the family was strawberries with chocolate syrup, strawberries with a side of sugar for dipping, strawberries and vanilla ice cream and for myself … Strawberry Daiquiri! Simply made with ice, strawberries, raspberry vodka (but I hear most people use rum), dash of lemon juice, and a packet of Splenda.

2. The next morning, Crepes. I can’t believe how easy it was! I used this simple crepe recipe, which I changed to 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 all purpose flour. Inside I either put nutella and strawberries or strawberries and whatever jelly you have in your fridge. I had Orange Fig jam. We also used them in morning for Strawberry and Oatmeal Smoothies.

3. For dinner we had Strawberry and Mozzarella Salad as a side.

4. Since my husband’s birthday was the next day, we made birthday cake with fresh strawberry and jam filling…

Adam's Birthday Cake

Then I let Jack decorate it…

Cake with Jack's Artistic touches

5. My sister called after seeing all the strawberries to tell me JAM! According to her, if it makes 5 cups squished then I’m in business. After hearing her out, I realized that would involve a whole new level of kitchen savvy. And a bunch of utensils I don’t have if I want to can. But in the end I couldn’t resist, I found a recipe that just used sugar, strawberries and lemon juice. I also didn’t can it, just made a small, 3 cup batch, baked up some whole wheat biscuits and ate them up for breakfast. Yummy!

I’m down to 1/2 a basket. Wish me luck. My goal, after seeing how hard it is to pick them, is NOT TO WASTE ONE SINGLE STRAWBERRY.

Pin It

Father’s Day 2011

I’m sure you will all be surprised to hear that, for Father’s Day, my husband wanted to take us all strawberry picking.

The boys 'Helping' Papa pick berries

I realized our kids were city kids when Jack was too scared of bugs to help. I wasn’t watching Ben closely because I was too busy crouched over, sweating and picking, having a new respect for the profession of strawberry pickers and vowing never to waste a single strawberry ever again, but I am pretty sure based on the red hands and face that Ben will have strawberry butt tomorrow.

What the hell am I going to do with all these?!

This year was better than last for Adam. Last year he had the unfortunate fate of his birthday falling on Father’s Day. I think I even remember going for a run in the afternoon that year which probably wasn’t very nice of me.

You’d think I would have had some residual guilt. But I married a very kind, thoughtful man. The kind of man who actually is happy just making us happy. I’m a very lucky woman.

After berry picking we ended up in Gurnee Mills. Home of the outlet mall! I’ve lived here 7 years and never managed to make it out there. The temptation was to great. After lunch I ended up once again doing something for myself – shopping for clothes while my husband took the kids to Toys R Us.

Ironically our gift to him this year was a wallet.

Pin It

A Musical Summer

Last Thursday afternoon we met some friends in the park. As it turns out, they were having a concert that evening.

At first I was apprehensive about staying for a concert that started at 6:30pm, on a day where the kids hardly napped, and they needed a bath, and my husband had a work dinner that night. The thought of an early bedtime and a cocktail with mindless girly TV was calling me.

Still I was curious how they would react. After all, we just booked a singer for Ben’s 2nd birthday…

Dancing with Super Stolie

As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Which made me wonder, what other music can we seek out this summer?

1. The band at Adam’s park that evening actually has a summer schedule … Super Stolie Summer Schedule.

2. Mr Singer. This is the person coming to Ben’ birthday. Sometimes we go see him at the farm at the Zoo. Kids love him! The Sharp Cookies Schedule. A small donation is suggested but not necessary.

3. Whole Foods. For rainy days or days you need to shop, the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park welcomes Bubbles Academy to it’s stage from 10 to 10:30. It gets crowded so go early if you want a good spot.

4. Millienium Park. They put on the The Family Fun Festival from June 13 to August 21st. The free show, by Wiggleworms (Old Town School of Folk Music) has a show every day at 10am. There is also a whole pavilion of stuff to do.

5. Ravinia. Every so often they have a kids concert. For city folk, it’s quite exciting to have a big lawn to spread out on. Here is the full Ravinia Schedule, all the kids concerts are shown with parentheses.

This summer I’m going to try to hit all of the above at least once. If anyone wants to join me for some of these activities, let’s set it up!

Pin It

The Master Cleanse, an update

It’s been a week since I finished the Master Cleanse and I just wanted give a quick update.

My initial plan was to get down to my illusive 115 goal, which I had been trying for 6 months unsuccessfully to get to, then start eating and counting calories daily to maintain.

My sister did warn that you gain some of the weight back, but I guess I didn’t realize I would gain HALF of it back right away. My understanding now is that I slowed my metabolism which made it need less food. I also cleaned the pipes, making them more efficient and therefore needing less to function again. So when I went back, I should have eaten EVEN LESS. Ugh.

I was never tired on the fast, but afterwards I felt a bit light headed at times, like if I got up too fast. Not sure why. It was never anywhere near faint level, just noticeably different.

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I instinctively know there are no shortcuts to weight loss. Just a bunch of hard, hungry work.

Having said that, I have been able to keep the rest of it off and more importantly I have been able to keep the other nagging, recurring problem in my life at bay – no one has asked me if I am pregnant.


Pin It

First Five Iphone Apps for your 4 Year Old

Seeing the picture in my last blog made me want to share the first five games that Jack successfully used on the iPhone. These games gave him the confidence to use the computer and some of them were actually educational too!

At this age, he was able to find these games and figure them out on his own without much supervision or tears of frustration.

1. Scoops. You tilt the phone to catch the falling scoops of ice cream.

2. Handy Manny. Four games in one. Match it, Find it, Color it and a Puzzle.

3. iWriteWords. Trace the letters with your finger.

4. Fruit Ninja. Slash the fruit with your finger as it comes on screen. So easy your kid will love it, but strangely so addictive that once I woke up in the middle of the night to the bed shaking as my husband tried to get a new high score.

5. Cut the Rope. Cut the ropes and some other simple things to feed the candy to the creature.

Stay tuned for the next level of Apps…

Pin It