We still have more than a month before the outdoor pools open, so why not try out Adventure Island, the indoor pool complex at The Centre of Elgin. (Photo courtesy of the city of Elgin.)
You owe it to yourself to check out Pie Boss in Aurora. It's the latest in our "Best-Kept Secret" series. (Photo courtesy of Pie Boss.)
Guest contributor Andrea Lukas says using a binder to compile your favorite recipes, and then using that binder for meal planning, will make dinnertime enjoyable again.
Entries in christmas (38)
The following post first appeared on chambanamoms.com, which is a wonderful resource for young families in Champaign-Urbana. If you have friends or family members who live in that area, please make sure they know about it. Thanks so much to Laura Weisskopf Bleill for allowing us to share her column with you here.
My daughter is convinced that she is the Only One in her first-grade class that celebrates Chanukah.
She probably is. Last year, during her kindergarten year, she was. And the only other first grader attending her school that I know of to be Jewish is in another classroom.
So that means she’s a member of the Only One Club. And lucky for me, she isn’t too sad about it.
A few years ago we received a book called “The Only One Club” courtesy of the PJ Library, a wonderful program that distributes free books to Jewish children (if you are Jewish and want to receive the books, here’s the contact). "The Only One Club," written by Jane Naliboff, tells the story of a little girl named Jennifer who is the only one in her class who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
When the teacher announces that the class is going to make Christmas decorations, Jennifer raises her hand and tells the teacher that she celebrates Chanukah.
The teacher then asks, “Are you the Only One?” And she is.
If your family is heading out this weekend, planning to cut down your own Christmas tree, here are some options that come recommended by Go West readers. Please check the farm's website, or phone ahead, to make sure it's open when you plan to stop by and also that it offers the type of experience your family envisioned.
- Camelot Christmas Tree Farm: 16380 S. Somonuak Road in DeKalb. 815-756-6559. (This got a number of mentions, was praised for its wonderful selection, friendly staff, free cookies and hot cider.)
- Williams Tree Farm: 4661 Yale Bridge Road in Rockton. 800-423-NOEL. (A reader says "A little further out of the way, but we LOVE it here.)
- Larson's Family Farm: 4404 Somonauk Road in Sandwich. 815-786-2249.
- Spring Bluff Nursery: 41W130 Norris Road in Sugar Grove. 630-466-4278.
- Kuipers Family Farm: 1N318 Watson Road in Maple Park. 815-827-5200.
- Lee's Trees: 45W002 Lees Road in Lily Lake. 630-365-2116. (A reader says this spot offers cut-your-own trees and ready cut, as well as lots of pretty wreaths. You can have your photo taken every year, put it up on a wall and replace it with a current one the next year.)
- Marmion's Abbey Farms: 850 Butterfield Road (IL Route 56) in Aurora. 630-936-0054.
We brought you last month a roundup of local productions of "The Nutcracker." And there are still some of those you can catch this weekend and next. But here's a list of holiday-themed theaterical productions. Please follow the links for exact info on dates, times and ticket prices. Enjoy!
"A Christmas Carol" turned into a one-man show called "Humbug!" will be playing at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre for one show only on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Alan Safier will play 27 characters in all. (Note: I saw a similar version of this years ago in NYC, and it was really neat!)
The Gallery Theatre in downtown West Chicago is performing "Mr. Beasley's Christmas Party" this Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, too. The play is based on an early 20th century Booth Tarkington story about a man named David Beasley, who believes one man's kindness can be the answer to one child's Christmas wish.
The Albright Theatre Company in Batavia will be performing "The Family Fruitcake" on Dec. 7-8-9 and Dec. 14-15-16 in downtown Batavia. This is a comedy about a family where the mom wants to have a normal dinner "just this once." It's rated PG.
The Oswego Park District's Limelight Theatre Company will be performing "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" on Dec. 6 and 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. Performances are at the Little White School Museum in downtown Oswego.
Last year, Jamie Weitl shared with us how she created an activities-based Advent Calendar in order to help keep the focus on making memories with her children during the Christmas season. (Oh, and also taking advantage of all the ideas she found on Pinterest.)
Jamie is crafty, and made darling little red and green circles on which to write her planned activities. I am not crafty. However, I was totally inspired by her idea, and I'm doing something similar this year.
I'll be using a "Christmas tree" I got like a decade ago -- I think maybe it was from Starbucks? The tree is made up of little numbered drawers, and after you pull out the drawer and get your treat for the day, you put it back into the tree facing the other way. Eventually, once all the drawers have been pulled, you have a cute little Christmas scene. I would show you what it looks like, but I haven't gotten my Christmas decorations out yet.
Instead of treats, the drawers will be filled with that day's activity (likely just printed out on a sheet of paper.) I'll let my daughter open a drawer each morning, and while I've already told her some of the fun things we have planned for the month, a 4-year-old girl can use some help when it comes to the concept of time.