How I deal with Stress (or at least how I try)

I thought since April is Stress Awareness Month, I would share some ways I deal with stress (or at least how I try). We all have our moments, days, weeks, or even years that just suck and how we manage them is all so different.

I work part-time with students with cognitive disabilities, anything from ADHD, dyslexia to learning disabilities, which often lead to anxiety in many of them. A lot of my work is helping students deal with stress. School and just life can be so overwhelming for them, so I have a lot of executive functioning training and stress management is a huge part of my job. I thought I would share some tips I have learned working with my students and just being a mom, wife, blogger, and person.

dealing with stress

Prioritize and Organize: I really can’t say this enough. When we are faced with huge challenges that we know are stressful triggers for us, you must plan ahead. This can be something with your child and those oh so fun toddler tantrums. If your child hates getting dressed in the morning, plan out the outfits together the night before. Have everything laid out to avoid a meltdown. If bath time is a struggle, figure out a way to incorporate them into preparing the bath. Lay out the towel, the toys, soap, etc. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out, but having a plan always helps with stressful situations.

What I repeat almost daily with my students is to really plan out your week. This goes for adults too. If you know there’s a big meeting on Thursday, make sure everything else is done before then. Clear your schedule of any distractions and work everything else around that meeting. It will help keep your mind clear and focused. If your not an agenda person (I couldn’t function without one), make lists for different parts of your life. Home, self (crucial to do things for yourself), and work. It’ll feel good crossing everything off throughout the week.

Lastly, ALWAYS perform your hardest, challenging tasks first. Doing the harder things first means you are more likely to find unexpected hurdles earlier in the project. Finding hurdles earlier then means you have more time to deal with them before missing a deadline. There is nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute before a deadline. Overall, it’s just better in the long run, although our brains will always pick the easier way out.

dealing with stress

Treat Yourself- Ok, I know this is really taboo, but it’s true. But for me, this doesn’t mean binging on fast food or drinking too many glasses of wine (which 1-2 is great of course). When I do this, I actually end up just feeling worse. For some people, I think it totally works, but for me, it has the opposite effect. I like to get a blowout, cook my favorite meal, get my nails done or even a massage. I actually get massages every three months or so (I have a bad back too), but I really think it helps. It could be going for a walk, turning off your phone and just unplugging. Sometimes, that’s the best feeling, just disconnect.

dealing with stress, at glowout salon getting a blowout

Honestly, we all handle everything in our own way. As long as we know our own limits, you know what’s best for you. If you are stressed out, need a break, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I find myself saying ‘yes’ to everything and fill my plate until it’s over pouring and then I break down. But I’m learning to take it all in stride. Motherhood has probably slowed me down a bit, but it’s also adds other stressful factors. But we are all a work in progress and maybe one day, stress won’t even be a thing. One day 🙂

I’d love to hear how you guys deal with stress! Let me know.

Until next time,

Christine

 

 

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Our Favorite Children’s Books & Nighttime Routine

INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S BOOK DAYTwo-year-olds aren’t always that bad. Sometimes, they are pretty awesome — especially when they can’t put a book down from their chubby little hands. I started reading with Noah consistently when he was around 3 weeks old and we haven’t stopped since. Although, I use the term “reading” loosely, we just look a lot of pictures and repeat words. It’s the best feeling to watch him grow and find a love of reading. As a former teacher, I was always reading, except it was children’s books (my personal favorites are Hatchet and anything by Jerry Spinelli). I have a love of children’s books.

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Every night, our bedtime routine is a bath, brush our teeth, read two books and sing two songs. We try to stick with it and he is now reminding us if we forget any part (that’s the cutest). I think whatever your nighttime routine is, it’s important to be consistent. Toddlers are so observant and will definitely notice when part of your normal routine is missing. My mom gave me this advice when Noah was an infant. We started our bath, two books and two songs when he was weeks old (and had no idea what was going on), but now he expects it and sleeps 12-13 hours a night. Definitely a work in progress, but it’s so helpful to have a clear routine.

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(*glider by Delta. I love it for our small room)
Here are 5 books we love right now:

1. Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?  by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade

For any vehicle-obsessed little ones (I hear the word “truck” in one day more than I can count) can expect repeat requests for this story at bedtime. From diggers and dump trucks to tractors and cranes, sweet rhymes about familiar bedtime routines gently lull trucks (and kids) off to sleep.

2. My Big Animal Book by Roger Priddy

Two-year-olds love animals, and this giant board book might be his favorite. It groups animals into various categories such as pets and farm animals. Toddlers will recognize their favorite animals and learn some new ones too. Noah loves to point and quiz me, just to make sure I didn’t forget any of them 🙂


3. Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz.

We actually got this for a baby shower gift and was one of the first books to read to him. This not only teaches primary and secondary body parts, the lift-the-flap book is the best part of it. This is apart of a series and they are all engaging.

4. Pirate Pete Polly-Potty Training for Boys 

If you have been following me for awhile, you know we have been trying to potty train  (but really that can be a whole other conversation or two itself) Noah for awhile. It hasn’t been easy, but Noah is at least entertained by pressing the cheering button when he attempts to go. Maybe it helps, but either way, it’s his potty reading material.

5. Teeth are Not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick

Our nanny (when I was working full time) bought this for Noah. Yes, we went through a rough biting phase. I have to say, I think this book really helped. The visuals really showed Noah how it can hurt other children and he has grown out of it. Although, it’s frightening for parents to have to deal with it. This book is a must for all biters.

I would love to know your favorite children’s books! Let me know.

Until next time…

Christine

March Roundup

We are having a baby girl

Instagram is nice and pretty, but I decided I needed another outlet to summarize everything that is going on. A short caption doesn’t really capture everything IRL (for those not familiar, in real life). So every month, I am going to summarize everything I love, some not so great stuff and anything else that happened during the month. I hope you guys like it!

The Good

The most exciting thing I shared was earlier this month, in case you missed it, is I will now be a contributor at Chicago Scene Magazine. They are relaunching starting with their website and going to print shortly after. To be honest, it kind of just landed on my lamp. It’s a new adventure, but I can’t wait to share some articles with you guys. You can read more here.

I did an interview with the online publication, Voyage Magazine. This was pretty cool to be included in their Trailblazer section (because honestly, I feel like I barely keep my house afloat) and how I got my start. I explained a lot of why I started CGL and what keeps me motivated. The interview is here.

There was another #goodandsassy event at Go Glow There were lots on influencers trying out a customized spray tan for the very first time. (I go rather often and I discovered this place). We had wine from Jolie Folie (My absolute favorite rosé. You can find it at Foxtrot or Goddess and the Grocer), adorable custom cookies from Sugar Fan Club and lots of meat and cheese from Boar’s Head. It was a great event and it’s probably one of the best tans I have ever had. There is another location in Minnesota and they are new-ish to Chicago. It was perfect way to start spring and get ready for warmer months. The facility is clean, easy, and the tan lasts at least a week.

tan from go glow

One day post tan

Manny and I went out for St. Patrick’s Day for the first time in 8 years. Yes, we did the math. It had been that long since we went out. We had a baby free weekend (it was actually really nice to have some freedom for a little) and went to the penthouse at the Swissotel Chicago. We watched the Chicago River being dyed and went out with friends all day. After the hotel, we went to a cool place called Tapster in Wicker Parker and ended with dinner at Dove’s Luncheonette. It was one of my favorite days of the year.

After the hotel, we grabbed drinks along the river

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Watching the river being dyed

Green eggs and ham with corned beef and hash

Noah and I went to the Chicago Children’s Museum for the first time and had such a great time (although, N did have a major breakdown and I ended up Facetiming Manny in tears, but that’s another story..). He absolutely loved it. I also couldn’t believe how big museum was! There is really something for everyone, even for little ones. I often find sometimes places like that are always geared toward older kids, but this isn’t. There is a new exhibit, Growing up Seoul. It’s a sneak peek into life growing up in Korea. Super cool.

We then walked around Navy Pier and he ran after the ducks. It was a great day. Pro tip: I used Spot Hero for $15 and walked two blocks to Navy Pier. Super easy (but a very long day for mom).

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Noah and I infront of EnerGeeWhizz

I have been working out a lot recently and really getting back into shape. I was feeling so good, but my back was starting to get a little sore. Sunday night, I went to grab Noah from the tub and got stuck. Literally. Manny had to come and help pick me up with Noah in my arms. My back was shot. I have been pretty much bed-ridden and have been relying on Manny and my mom a lot. I am a person that likes to do 700 things at once and this time, I really can’t do much but lie in bed. It’s been a real bummer.

How this all got started….

When I was 19 years old, I was in a pretty bad car accident on my way to the University of Iowa to visit a friend. It was the middle of February, wasn’t snowing, but we hit black ice and the rest is history. I broke one of the lowest lumbars in my back, skull fracture, punctured a lung, broken ribs, collarbone, and much more. I was airlifted to the trauma center in Peoria and went through emergency back surgery. I now have 2 metal rods and 4 screws. I healed everywhere else just fine (with lots of physical therapy), but my back can be pretty temperamental with the weather, pregnancy, etc. This past Sunday, it hadn’t been that bad in years. To say this least, that’s been a huge downer this month. I am taking it one day at a time.

This month has been so busy. Lot’s of events and I did some really fun things I did with Noah. Honestly, those are probably my favorite.

Let me know if you guys like the monthly wrap ups!

Until next time…

Christine

Big Announcement!

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I am excited to share with you guys that I will be a contributor to the Chicago Scene Magazine! It’s something I never really thought I would be doing, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I remember in college, I would always pick up a CS magazine in the lobby of my building and look to see who was featured that month. Fast forward ten years later, I get to make the magic happen.

They have taken a break from printing, but are now re-branding with the website launching next month and the magazine soon after. They have continued to have their events like New Years Eve at the Drake or the largest boat party on Lake Michigan, but now they will be diving deeper into Chicago neighborhoods and covering the best of the best.

I can’t wait to share some really great content with you!

I’d also like to say how thankful I am for all of you even reading this right now. In a day in age where time is limited, I appreciate the support and the few minutes you have to share with me. So THANK YOU!

Until next time,

Christine

National Nutrition Month: My Favorite Healthy Tips to Get Ready for Spring

Semi-Transparent Pink Box iPhone Layout

I am going to be honest with you guys. Last year I lost the baby weight and somewhere towards the end of the year, I gained some of it back. I didn’t feel comfortable, my skin wasn’t the best and my confidence was low. I made it a 2018 goal to get my health back on track.

National Nutrition Month

Assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables

Since January, I have been working out consistently, eating better, and I feel like myself again. I have started taking Smarty Pants vitamins (you can find them at Whole Foods or here) and have made adjustments to my diet. I wanted to share of things I have been doing with you and maybe help you get ready for those warmer months. 🙂

Workouts

The Barre Code– This gym and I go way back. I started with them when there was only one studio and it was actually called “Barre Bee Fit”. Now, they have studios all over Chicago, and in fact, the country. The classes got me ready for my wedding and have helped me stay in shape, but I slacked off after I had my son. 2017 wasn’t the year of exercise for me. I rejoined and I am so glad I did. I forgot how much I loved it. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, no matter your fitness level. Barre Code offers cardio, strength and restoration classes.  My favorite is TBC- Total Body Conditioning. It is strength, cardio, and HARD, but so rewarding.

Image result for barrecode imagesI think my favorite part are the challenges they encourage everyone to participate in. Every few months, they do a challenge for prizes, raffles, etc. Right now, I started their annual Spring it On, which is 15 out of 21 classes. Difficult, but gets you ready for spring. The next challenge is SPF (Strength Power Fuel), starting in June. I am already excited to participate in that one.

Definitely check it out if your elliptical workouts are starting to bore you!

(Side note- I am not sponsored in any way. I genuinely love it and see such great benefits)

Home Workouts

1. I started these online workout classes when I couldn’t make it to a class or the gym in January. You wouldn’t think they are challenging, but they really are! They definitely get raise your heart rate and you work up a sweat for sure. My husband still does them every morning (he’s an early bird) and it has helped him also get back into shape.

It’s perfect when babies are asleep or you don’t have time to make it to the gym. They range from 15-35 minutes:

2. This is going to sound obvious, but sometimes, cleaning the house while Noah sleeps is a workout for me! I make sure I track my steps and I can get thousands. I put on a good playlist (warning, it’s very pop) and get my heart rate.

  1. “1, 2, 3” — Sofia Reyes (featuring Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto)
  2. “Single Ladies” — Beyonce
  3. “Anaconda” — Nicki Minaj
  4. “Low” — Juicy J (featuring Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby and Young Thug)
  5. “On to the Next One” — Jay Z
  6. “Mi Gente” — J. Balvin and Willy William (featuring Beyonce)
  7. “Roar” — Katy Perry
  8. “Get Me Bodied” — Beyonce
  9. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” — Jess Glynne
  10. “Work B**ch” — Britney Spears

Snacks

Snacking is one of my biggest areas I need to improve. My snacks always seem to end in meals (sigh). All about portion control. Here are some I like:

  • Saffron Road Chickpeas (you can find them at Whole Foods or here).- I have a slight addiction to chickpeas, so these are perfect.Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas, Chipotle, 6 Ounce
  • Kirkland Almond Butter on a rice cake with a banana and chia seeds.
  • Bark Thins- I like these because it satisfies a sweet tooth, but uses a few, simple ingredients, Non-GMO Project Verified and there are so many different kinds. Click here for more all the flavors.
  • String Cheese- I have one almost everyday.
  • Turkey and cheese rolls ups- I like Hillshire Naturals turkey from Costco.

Recipes

  1. Salads– I have one every Monday. I like that you can add whatever you want! My go-tos are corn, chickpeas, avocado, tomato and feta cheese. I am not a huge salad dressing person, but I use olive oil and McCormick Salad Seasoning. I am obsessed with it. Once you use, there is no need for dressing.

2. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Spicy black beans

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Extras 

Top with avocado, guacamole, feta cheese or salsa

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using foil, line the baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, cayenne and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  2. Prepare the black beans: Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use a potato masher or a fork to mash up at least half of the beans. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you’re ready to serve.
  4. Add your toppings and serve with warm tortillas!
  5. Enjoy!

3. Sweet Potato, Beans and Avocado

Ingredients:

Serves 2-4

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • Chicken Broth (I use 1 tsp of Better than Bouillon found at Costco)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1 packet of Sazon Goya- I use these.
  • Avocado

Directions: 

  1. Cook the sweet potatoes first in the chicken broth for 10-12 minutes with the onion
  2. Add corn, beans, and Goya
  3. Stir occasionally until sweet potato and beans are tender
  4. During this time, cook your egg. (I like a runny egg)
  5. Add your avocado
  6. Enjoy!

Some extra tips:

  • Add cottage cheese to your eggs! It makes them fluffy and gives your extra protein
  • SLEEP! I always eat better with 8 or more hours (I actually can’t function on less than 7)
  • Add fruit to your water! I like lemons.
  • Make small goals: workout 2-3 times a week.
  • Go for a walk! Track your steps. You get a lot of steps just running errands.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! They have definitely helped me get back in shape and ready for spring.

Until next time,

Christine

 

 

Recipe: My MIL’s Puerto Rican Rice

Blue and Cream Rice World Day for Cultural Diversity Poster

Every family has their recipe’s that have been passed down. One that everyone fights over the last bite during the holidays. This recipe is that dish. My MIL makes the best Puerto Rican rice, no matter how many times I have tried to replicate it. It’s fluffy, so much flavor and filled with “love”, as she says.

When I first started dating my husband, I have never had it and now, I don’t think I could live without it during our family gatherings. It’s that good. Although, it has never been written down, this past weekend, I was finally able to get an approximation of what makes it so good.

If you make it, I’d love to see it! It’s such dish that is near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 TBSP of Sofrito (Goya is the best)
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 4 oz can of regular or Spanish style tomato sauce
  • 1 can of gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 1 package of Sazón Goya
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-4 TBSP of Manzanilla olives
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic or garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in pan
  2. Add sofrito and spread through pan, until hot
  3. Add garlic/garlic powder and Sazon Goya and mix until hot
  4. Add rice, tomato sauce, water, gandules, olives, and bay leaf and mix very well
  5. Bring water to a boil and turn down to medium and cover
  6. Keep covered!! And allow rice to cook for 15 minutes and then turn once
  7. Keep cooking until all liquid is evaporated and rice is cooked
  8. Occasionally stirring it or “fluffing” the rice
  9. Enjoy!

Until next time,

Christine

A Family Friendly St. Patrick’s Day: Events and Activities for Everyone

Green Leaf Clover St Patricks Day Instagram Post

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, there are lot’s of events and activities happening, many involving over indulging in some adult beverages and creating some fuzzy memories. But just because you have a family now doesn’t mean the fun can stop. There are a ton of family friendly activities happening and even ones that involve green beer just for you parents. Yes parents, you deserve a green beer or two.

Events

Old St. Patrick’s Church: St. Patrick’s Day Civic Celebration– If you are looking for other ways to celebrate the day, attend mass at Old St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Chicago’s West Loop. The Old St. Patrick’s concert choir will be accompanied by The Sheila Tully Irish Stepdancers, and the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, keeping the festive spirit going throughout the day. Highly recommended to get there early.

Closed out St. Paddy's Day Weekend with the St Patrick's Day Community Celebration at @oldstpatschicago complete with bagpipes, Irish Stepdancers, and soda bread. 🍀

Photo by @urbanaohana

Saturday, March. 17, 9 .m. (doors open at 7 a.m.)

Old St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 700 W. Adams St., West Loop

NY Kids Club– Celebrate with your little ones for a St. Patrick’s Day Party during a supervised open play in their state-of-the-art gym. We have been here a few times since they recently opened and really enjoyed the space. They have a more gymnastic based equipment like a mini-trampoline and balance beam.

There will also be Irish sing-alongs and open art. The festivities include pizza for children and hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine for adults. Families will also receive party favors on their way out.

Friday, March 16th, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM ,
Chicago – Lincoln Park NY Kids Club
Tickets $48 per child

St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage – Following the downtown parade, head over to the Irish American Heritage Center on the Northwest side. The family-oriented annual event will include traditional and contemporary Irish music, Irish step dance performances, food and drink, children’s activities and an arts-and-crafts fair with an Irish flair.

Saturday, March 17th, 1 p.m.-midnight
Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., Irving Park
Tickets are $15/adults, or $12 for advance purchase if bought by the end of the day on March. 15; free for ages 11 & under

Northwest Irish Parade- The Northwest Irish Organization (NWSI) kicks off its 15th annual parade to celebrate all things Irish. This is probably the most manageable parade with a family compared to the downtown and southside parades. With over 100 parade group participants and 2,500 people marching, it is an hour and a half for the whole family.

The after Party will take place at Immaculate Conception Elementary School Recreation Center from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Tickets for the after party include dinner and drinks for kids and adults. There will be corned beef, entertainment, face painting, balloon magic and raffles.

Sunday, March 11th, noon
Begins at 6634 W. Raven

After party 1:00- 5:00 pm
Immaculate Conception Recreation Center 7271 W. Talcott Ave
Tickets: $10.00/12 and over, $5.00/children under 12. Drink Wristband (optional) $5.00 -21 years & older only (includes beer & wine)

Hard Rock Cafe– Need somewhere to go after the downtown parade? Hard Rock is having their 10th annual GET SHAMROCKED! This all ages event starts at 10:00 AM.  You can head in Cafe or out in the heated tent for all the festivities. There will be Live Music by The Hat Guys & The Shannon Rovers along with green beer, Irish grub and jello shots and more.

#GetShamROCKED! Happy #stpatricksday #Chicago!

A post shared by Hard Rock Cafe Chicago (@hrcchicago) on

63 West Ontario, Chicago, IL 60654
$5 dollar suggested donation to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation

Restaurants

Krispy Kreme-  In the mood for doughnuts? What about green doughnuts?! Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is joining the St. Patrick’s Day celebration’s and serving green doughnuts for two days for the first time ever!

Krispy Kreme is bringing back its “O’riginal” Glazed Doughnut on Friday and Saturday,
March 16-17, at Chicagoland’s Krispy Kreme shops located at 17815 South Halsted Street
in Homewood and 9150 South Western Avenue in Evergreen Park. The O’riginal Glazed Doughnut is specially formulated with green dough and glazed hot in traditional Krispy Kreme fashion.

Definitely perfect for those little ones with a serious sweet tooth in your family!

Krispy Kreme doughnuts serving green doughnuts for St. Patrick's Day

Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant- Named one of the “Top Ten Irish Pubs in the World” by Irish of the Welcomes magazine, Chief O’Neill’s is very authentic and also, family friendly. In fact, we celebrate many special occasions here my family including their father’s day bruch. They have several family friendly activities going on all weekend like their Little Leprechaun Family Breakfast Feast (8am – 11:30am). 

The chief….

A post shared by Matteo Violare (@thorndayle) on

Saturday Parade Day 3/17/18   OPENING 7AM

Little Leprechaun Family Breakfast Feast (8am – 11:30am)

    • Buffet breakfast for adults and kids featuring Irish and American breakfast favorites; Bacon, Sausage, Corned Beef Hash, French Toast, Waffles, Irish Cheddar Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potato Casserole, Eggs Benedict, Scrambled Eggs, Breads, Fresh platters and more…..
    • Live traditional Irish music
    • Complimentary tin whistle lesson with the Irish Music School of Chicago at 9am for all kids ages 6 – 12. Bring your own whistle (Key of D) buy one for $10 or borrow one of ours! Pre-registration required at www.irishmusicschool.org
    • Face painting and balloon animals
    • Free Irish Dance lessons 10am, kids 3 to 10yr with The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance
    • An appearance by St. Patrick himself at 10am
    • And much more!

3471 N. Elston Ave., Avondale
Breakfast Food Service, Adults $15, Kids 10 and under $12

Legno Chicago– Although you wouldn’t think an Italian restaurant would have much for St. Patrick’s Day, but this Portage Park gem is joining the party. Legno is an Italian gastropub located in what Parent Magazine called, “the most family friendly neighborhood in the city”. They will be serving corned beef, shepard’s pie and have drink specials all day long.

4250 N. Central Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634
773.736.2854

Lady Gregory’s – Lady Gregory’s Irish Bar & Restaurant in Andersonville  is one of our family’s favorite lunch spots. Named after the passionate Irish author, this charming wood-paneled pub focuses on farm-to-table, sustainable, local ingredients and authentic Irish fare. Try to secure a table in the cozy library with a fireplace. Start with the hard cider steamed mussels and move on to the classic fish and chips served with minty peas.

5260 N. Clark Street
Chicago IL 60640

773 271 5050

XO Marshmallow– This is not only dessert heaven, but kids love it! The space is fun and the marshmallows are delicious. They are serving Green River mint lemonade and pistachio marshmallow all month long.

6977 N Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60626

Activities

Celebrating at home? Here are some ways to enjoy the festivities at home with your family.

Gold Maze
Are you lucky enough to find the gold at the end of this maze? Education.com is here with learning games and educational activities just like this maze_gold. 

Crossword Clover 
Find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as you practice your spelling with this fun crossword_clover printable. Education.com is here for you with more spelling and learning activities.

Popular Children’s Books

  1. How to Catch a Leprechaun

2. The Itsy Bitsy Leprachaun

3. Curious George- Happy St. Patrick’s Day

For the Adults

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Wine Labels

2. Photo Props

St Patrick's Photo Booth Props Irish Day Photo Props Tinksky Funny Creative Toy St. Patrick's Party Favors 34pcs

So however you are celebrating it, be safe and enjoy the day with your family!

Until next time,

Christine

My Lil’ Kicker: Soccer Lessons with Lil’Kickers

Soccer lessons at Lil' Kickers

Staying indoors all winter long with a toddler can be really, really boring. To help bare with the cold months, we started soccer lessons when Noah was 20 months and we LOVE it. The program is designed to help develop children’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills while providing physical exercise. They promote players who are good sports and good teammates, on and off the field. The coaches are very encouraging, always high-fiving, and players get stamps at the end of each lesson (my son’s favorite part). My favorite part? Noah get’s to get channel some of his energy all while having a positive learning experience. It is a 50 minute lesson with an adult, but at the age of 3, a parent is no longer required.

Ages: 18 months – 9 years
Classes: Weekday & Weekend
Spring Session: Mar 19th – Jun 17th

You can book a free trial class using this link.

TIP: They have locations in Chicago and Chicago-land suburbs.

(TheChicagoGoodLife is a partner of Lil’Kickers)

A Stroll down Southport Corridor (adults only)

The Southport Corridor may be known for strollers, moms and boutiques, but recently, there has been a surge in places for adults to play. So ditch those strollers, grab a glass of wine, and take a peek into some adult friendly places popping up on the Southport Corridor.

Coda Di Volpe-  Boasting Southern Italian fare like pizza, steak and seafood, they are most known for their Neapolitan pizza that comes with a side scissors to cut your own slices. Chef Thompson brings his own flair with a seasonal menu, house-cured meats, along with a contemporary vibe that all creates a great spot on Southport.

Coda has a great wine list (award winning in fact) and a creative cocktail menu.  As for starters, my absolute favorite appetizer is the goat cheese with beets appetizer (I am not sure this is on the menu anymore, sigh…) and the pork & prosciutto Meatballs.

How’s your Friday night looking? #chicago #tailofthefox

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Goat Cheese and Beets Appetizer

Next, pizza! The Funghi and Diavolo pizza are both delicious, but really, they all look fantastic.  Thompson crafts traditional VPN-certified Neapolitan pizzas served with authentic pizza shears that adds an element of fun to the dining experience.

Next up, pasta. All the pastas are made in-house and available gluten free upon request. A stand out dish is the Trombette Trapanese made with Coda’s fennel sausage, tomato, almond, garlic, and basil. It’s also just beautiful to look at.

They are also now serve brunch on the weekend. It’s perfect for date night or a night out with the ladies.

Ella Elli- The newest addition to the 4 star restaurant group, is the wine bar, Ella Elli. This sexy, romantic spot is so swanky, I felt like I had been transported downtown to a fancy hotel in River North. The over sized lanterns, fireplace and couches, make for THE perfect date night spot.

We love Fridays! Stop in for a drink at the bar before we fill up! 📸: @nadia.ryan

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 The wine list is extensive, but Pinot Noir Rose by Willamette Valley really paired nicely with our cheese board.  We also tried the creamy mushroom toast with creme faiche and thyme, this would make me come back. Everything is presented beautifully and our server paired everything really well with our wine.

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Ella Elli

They have pizza great for sharing, pasta and burgers. The burger is supposed to be outstanding, as well as their brunch menu  When I visited, we shared the charcuterie  and toasts, which really can be a meal in itself. Next time, the burger is on my list.

@Eater_Chicago named our pizzas as some of the hottest in Chicago!! Have you tried them yet?

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If you need a date night, Ella Elli should absolutely be on your list.

Tied House– Just opening in February 2018, this is brand new on Southport. The reviews are rolling in and everything about Tied House has been outstanding.

Schubas Tavern has been around for three decades, and now there is a new addition  with the opening of Tied House, the owners’ new restaurant next door. The modern architecture and the courtyard that separates the restaurant from Schubas with a giant outdoor fireplace just dazzles from the inside and out.

Schubas will continue to have the same menu, Tied House’s chef, Debbie Gold (who happens to be  James Beard Award-winning chef) to create her own menu, including short rib, crudo, porridge with beets and house made ice cream.

Tied House will be perfect for pre and post concerts and is a great addition to the area looking for more “adult” friendly dining.

With so many options now on Southport, there is really something for everyone.

Until next time.

Christine

 

National Margarita Day (but that could be any day really…)

Turquoise Margarita Day Trivia Facebook Post

If you know anything about me, I enjoy two kinds of drinks: a glass of Cabernet and a margarita with salt.  But margaritas can be overly sweet, watered down, or just really, really bad. Whether it is Cinco de Mayo or a warm day in Chicago, a margarita is the perfect cocktail to sip on. To help you get your buzz on,  I have rounded up a few of my favorite marg’s around the city.

Big Star– This might be the most obvious choice, but their margaritas are really tasty. Either by the pitcher or glass, I prefer the Big Star mezcal rather than the Classic. The classic is made with blanco tequila, which doesn’t give the smoky taste I prefer like the Big Star. They have an amazing patio and it’s perfect for the warmer Chicago months, and of course, let’s not forget their tacos.

Masa Azul– This Logan Square Mexican and cocktail bar is a little gem that might have the best margaritas in the city. Seriously. Their margaritas are that good. With almost 20 cocktail options to choose from, all ranging from $6- $12 dollars, lots of tacos (lots of vegetarian options), this is my top 5 favorite Mexican places in Chicago. This is a bold statement, considering my husband’s discerning taste. With such a variety of options, there might be a margarita for everyone.

#nationalmargaritaday

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The two margaritas I recommend are the Prickly Pear and Where there is smoke. This has mezcal joven with a Serrano Chile. Smoky with a little spice.  Pair it with their guacamole = perfect meal.

Crio Bar and Restaurant– Located in West Lincoln park on Clybourn Avenue, this Latin American gastropub has some really flavorful margaritas, great empanadas and drink specials throughout the week. On Tuesdays, Margaritas are only $6 dollars.

New Guava Margarita 🙌🏽 it's so refreshing, already had 10 😜

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$6 margaritas for Lunch and Dinner 😜 #happytuesday #tacotuesday

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I have two go-to drinks here. First, the hibiscus marg is a delicious combination of sweet and spicy.  Second, they have a version of a Moscow mule, made with mezcal, which is really good. Plus, for all you instagrammers, the mural and flower wall make a great photo opportunity.

Del Toro– Located in Pilsen, this little gem is always packed and always worth the wait. The tacos are delicious, but the margaritas is make me coming back. My favorite is the  jalapeno margarita.  It literally comes with a flaming jalapeno which is not only entertaining, it makes for fun experience. It was also delicious – which is a double plus.

These are just a few places, but Chicago is full of so many amazing places to grab a margarita. I’d love to hear your go-to places!

Until next time…

~xoxo~

Christine