July Update: My Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Summer is flying by. I really can’t believe 4th of July is already over, it needs to slow down! I wanted to update my Chicago Summer Bucketlist (you can see the original post here.) and share some things we have been up to around the city. We’ve done a few things, but we have so, so much more to do! Many of the things listed are family friendly and a few for the adults only.

Summer in the Windy City is the absolute best and I know there are an endless amount of things to do. If there are any festivals or places I am missing, add them in the comments below and I will include them! Summertime Chi is like no other, so enjoy every moment.

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My Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Lincoln Park

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Bridge at Lincoln Park Zoo

Garfield Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory

chicago hot dog at north avenue beach

Hotdog at North Avenue Beach

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Montrose Point Bird Consrvatory

Chicago is just the best in the summer. In fact, us Chicago-goans wait all year for it. The festivals, beaches, farmers markets, and activities are endless. For tourists, it’s the best time of the year to visit as well. The city and it’s people really come alive during the spring and summer months.

I put a list together of things I like to do in the summer, some I plan on doing, and even ones you can bring the whole family to. If you know anyone looking for adventures or have friends coming in town, send this their way!  Continue reading

Brunch Bites Ticket Giveaway *giveaway closed*

2018 Brunch Bites poster - CHI

Hi! So I know you guys love to brunch as much as I do (who honestly says they hate it? Weird), so I thought I would GIVEAWAY a pair of tickets to Brunch Bites April 21st! This is an $80 dollar value. You can eat and brunch your way through River North. You can find out all the details here.

All you have to do is subscribe to my blog. It’s really that easy! I send out weekly emails on Wednesday’s of all sorts of stuff going on in the CGL, new posts, giveaways, reviews, etc.

(must be over 21 years of age and live in the US to enter).

I will email the winner on Friday.

Good luck and happy brunching…:)

You can subscribe here.

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.

At the Chicago river dying for St. Patrick's Day

At the Chicago River Dying

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.

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.

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 celebrations and serving green doughnuts for two days for the first time ever!

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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!

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). 

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

7 Last Minute Family Friendly Holiday Activities

The holidays are pretty much here. The season goes by so fast with parties, events, shopping, etc. It’s hard to experience it together as a family. But it’s not too late to get out there and enjoy some festive activities throughout the city as a family. I rounded out some events that are still happening and some of our own personal favs. Enjoy!

1. Nutcracker– The Joffrey Ballet is running Nutcracker from now until December 30th. Tickets run from $35 to $100 dollars. You can also find them on Stub Hub here.

2. Chicago Trolley & Double Decker- Holiday Lights Tour- Experience the magic of the holidays with Chicago’s most spectacular light displays at the city’s most popular destinations.

holiday lights tour on Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Tour. Makes a great holiday gift for Chicago Families

Photo Courtesy Chicago Trolley

This tour is great for even Chicagoans that want to enjoy the holiday lights as a family out of the cold. As a bonus, A FREE holiday cupcake from Sprinkles is given to all riders. Tours are running now until December 23rd, 2017. Adult tickets are $29 dollars and Kid’s tickets are $18 dollars (ages 5-15). Reservations are highly recommended due to the popularity of the tour. You can make reservations here.

3. Holiday Market- Randolph Street Market– The market is a unique shopping experience for the whole family. There are unique gifts from thrifty to extravaganza. It is December 16-17 from 10am-5pm. This is an indoor market with free parking onsite. They have a $30 dollar family package that includes 2 adults/drinks (wine, beer, champagne) and up to 4 kids plus a kids snack (online special only) You would definitely find a gift for even the pickiest shopper on your list.

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Photo Courtesy Randolph Street Market

4. Caroling at the Cloud Gate-  Get ready to sing some holiday classics during Caroling at Cloud Gate. This festive series is part concert, part sing-along at Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” on Fridays, through December 15 from 6-7pm. Weather permitting.

5. White Christmas at Music Box Theater– In its 34th year, this annual tradition brings the family together at the Music Box theater to see Santa Claus, sing along and watch a holiday classic. Santa welcomes the audience and, accompanied by Music Box organist Dennis Scott, leads them in the sing along to the most cherished Christmas carols. The lyrics are projected onto the theater’s screen so no one misses a chance to sing their hearts out. Then, the audience gets to enjoy a Christmas movie classic.

6. Christkindlmarket- Park at Wrigley – We have enjoyed many family friendly activities at the Park at Wrigley since it opened this year like movies, Green City Market, and live music for children. But now it is turned into a winter wonderland perfect for any age. I found this to be a little easier to navigate with little ones compared to the Daley Plaza Market, especially if you have a stroller or with several children.  There is ice skating and rentals are available, lots of food options and unique shopping. Santa does make an appearance on Saturdays (and it is inside!) It runs now until December 31st, with ice skating until February 2018.

Sweet treats at the Park at Wrigley. Makes a great activity to do with the family

Photo Courtesy of Alex @sassyconfetti

7. Santa Suite at Swissotel–  One of the best things we did as a family this holiday season was our first Santa visit at the Swissotel. On the 41st floor, in a 5 room Presidential Suite, it is completely transformed into a winter wonderland experience. The space is decorated with twelve Christmas trees, a table set for Santa, and even a station to write letters to the North Pole.

Santa Suite at the Swissotel is a great way to spend the holidays with the family

Writing Letters to the North Pole

They also have different pop up shops, including floral crowns from Crowning Event.

Christine

NutMeg’s Spreads the LOVE

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

This past summer, Megan from NutMeg’s Spreads reached out to set up a meeting with her and her husband Billy to try their peanut butter line. I knew nothing about it, so I was like sure, why not? I love peanut butter.

But little did I know that not only is their NutMeg Spread line amazing (my favorite is the cashew butter), but 50% of their profits goes towar an amazing charity in Kenya, Freely in Hope.  This charity is deeply invested to improve the education of women and empower them (especially after a women has experienced trauma). Freely in Hope works with women who have experienced sexual violence and provide holistic healing through education, advocacy skills, and leadership development.FIH- WeExisttoEndTheCycleofSexualViolence.jpg

When I was talking and learning more about Megan and Billy, they are so passionate about this cause and really wanted to start a social business. They initially got their start at the farmers markets in Minneapolis and have recently moved to Chicago. They are now in the process of relaunching NutMeg’s Spreads and are in the middle of a Crowdfunder through Indiegogo (it’s like Kickstarter) that ends December 30th. You can find the link here and learn a little bit more about them.

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

They are currently not producing due to being in the stages of becoming licensed in Illinois, but will be cooking out of Lakeview Kitchen and Market and will be selling at local farmers markets. It includes: Almond, Cashew, and Peanut Butter with all natural ingredients. Just nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, pink salt, and olive oil (except no olive oil in peanut).

NutMeg Spread's peanut, almond and cashew butter. They donate profits to a charity in Kenya.

The line is delicious, but the mission of Megan and Billy is even better. #spreadthelove

Until next time…
Christine

 Recap: Taste Talks

Taste Talks is a 3 day national series filled with seminars, tastings, dinners and parties. It is an intimate way to bring amazing chefs, restaurants and influencers together to engage in conversations through Q & A, demos and sampling. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference on Saturday and the cookout the following day. More about this event on Chicago Taste Talks.  Read more at Chicago

Chicago Gourmet Recap: 5 products I discovered

Chicago Gourmet is one of those events I had been wanting to attend for a long time. I finally had the opportunity and was thrilled to be among the best chefs, restaurants and brands in the world. Lucky for me, it was extra special because Chicago Gourmet was celebrating their 10th anniversary.

The week long event is thrown by the Illinois Restaurant Association along with the title sponsor Bon Appetit magazine every year in Millennium Park. It brings together renowned chefs, restaurants and wine and spirits. There are tastings, book signings, cooking demos, and wine and cocktail seminars throughout the event. It is truly a “foodie” experience.

This was my first year attending and it will not be my last. I sampled everything from Thai food, types of honey, wine, sliders, charcuterie, truffle mac & cheese and so on. I left discovering so many products I fell in love with. Even a few from brands I have never heard of. Read more at Restaurants & Recipes