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Entries in holidays (64)


Earth Day Events in Chicago's Far Western Suburbs

Earth Day is Sunday, and there are a number of opportunities this week for you and your family to mark the occasion. These are in chronological order and note that some do require pre-registration.

Photo by FlyingSinger on Flickr.

WEST CHICAGO: The West Chicago Public Library is offering an Earth-friendly craft, using recycled materials, on Friday, April 20, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This does require advance registration; if you're not a West Chicago Public Library cardholder, then call the Youth Services Department at 630-231-1552 to register over the phone.

AURORA AREA: The Fox Valley Park District is hosting a "Spring Spruce-Up" on the morning of Saturday, April 21. Scout groups, church groups, friends and families are invited to help spruce up local parks including Blackberry Farm, Montgomery Park, North Aurora Island Park, O'Donnell Park/Prairie Path, South Broadway Park and Waubonsie Creek Park. Call Debbie Smith at 630-966-4555 to sign up.

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Five Great ... Places to Find Unique Gifts for Easter Baskets

Are you looking for some last-minute Easter gifts and want to avoid those cheap toys and horrendous Russel Stover chocolates you buy at the drugstore? (Shudder!) Here's an updated version of a "Five Great ... " list that first ran last April.

Photo courtesy of Peaceful Parlour.

Eliza Jane in St. Charles has a bunch of goodies for big and little girls, including unique jewelry; locally-made and beautifully decorated butter cookies; a variety of fun bath products; and adorable sock monkey clips.

Peaceful Parlour in downtown Geneva sells beautiful, handmade Bolgatanga baskets from Ghana, West Africa. The baskets are made from a grass local to Ghana and help supplement farmers’ incomes. The shop also offers eco-friendly egg decorating kits, Crayon rocks and organic candy from Yummy Earth. 

Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream in downtown Geneva and downtown Wheaton offers all sorts of chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs, including one that is filled with dozens of the shop's hand-rolled truffles. Yes, please! The shop also offers jelly bean "carrots," chocolate suckers, Easter-decorated oreos, etc.

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Have You Made Your Leprechaun Trap Yet? 

My friend Maegen shared this with her readers this week on Sounds Fun Mom, a wonderful resource for families in the Puget Sound area around Seattle. If you have friends out there, make sure they know about Sounds Fun Mom!

St.Patrick’s Day is Saturday, which means you’ll want to be building your leprechaun traps.

Photo by rnv123 on Flickr.Never tried to trap a leprechaun? You can see some truly beautiful projects here in the article at Family Fun that I think sparked the whole craze. Quite frankly, our kids’ trap usually looks like a hot mess of cardboard, duct tape, and whatever else the boys found in the recycling bin. It doesn’t matter, though. They have crazy fun making it every year.

The basic idea is that you design some sort of box that a little leprechaun might be lured into. Bait varies …. I know some kids who swear by Lucky Charms, and some who try to construct a cozy looking, moss bed.  At our house, we always try pistachio pudding. We’ve yet to catch one, but we usually find some chocolate gold coins he’s left behind. At other houses the little guys don’t leave treats but do plenty of mischief-like turning the toilet bowl water green. Leprechauns!


Five Great ... Films for Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a re-run of a "Five Great ... " list that first ran in 2011.

This is the day when our thoughts turn to flowers, chocolate, lovers running through the rain to reach each other and similar grand romantic gestures – the kind you see often in movies but rarely in real life.

For this week’s “Five Great … “ series, I thought it would to be fun to encourage you to think about some of your own favorite romantic movies. My personal tastes run toward tearjerkers from Hollywood’s Golden Age, but I forced myself to include a couple actually filmed in color on this list, as well as a few that actually have – gasp – happy endings!

In order of their release:

The Philadelphia Story (1940): Perhaps the most entertaining love triangle ever: Cary Grant as the smooth C.K. Dexter Haven, Katharine Hepburn as spoiled rich girl Tracy Lord and Jimmy Stewart as the smitten tabloid reporter Mike Connor. A classic screwball comedy with witty, sparkling dialogue.

Casablanca (1942): They’ll always have Paris. We’ll always have this gorgeous movie about a doomed love affair between the beautiful Ilsa (Ingrid Berman) and the cynical American Rick (Humphrey Bogart).

Roman Holiday (1953): Gregory Peck. Audrey Hepburn. Rome. Not sure which one of the three was more attractive in this film about a sheltered princess who falls in love with an American journalist based in Rome.

When Harry Met Sally (1989): Billy Crystal is Harry. Meg Ryan is Sally. “Can a man and woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?” I might argue this is the best modern romantic comedy -- I can’t think of one I like better in the last 20 years!

* Sense and Sensibility (1995): Emma Thompson is the rational older sister Elinor. Kate Winslet plays her romantic dreamer of a sister Marianne. Both are disappointed in love – will they eventually find happiness? In addition to a wonderful cast and beautiful locations, it features an amazing script by Thompson, who won an Academy Award for her work adapting Jane Austen’s classic. 

Go West readers: Are you a fan of any of the movies on this list? Share with us some of your own favorite romantic films!


Simple Craft: Valentine Surprise Cups

If you're like me, you have a couple of empty egg cartons in your craft box (craft pile, in my case) just waiting for inspiration to strike on a rainy day. Well, inspiration struck at my friend Annie's house this week. Annie runs {kidlist} -- a wonderful website for families in Western Springs, LaGrange, Hinsdale and other near west suburbs. Read on for her easy directions about how you and your kids can make "Valentine Surprise Cups." -- Tara

Want a fun alternative to traditional Valentine's cards to hand out at school or to family members? My son and I had a great time making these Valentine Surprise Cups!

A toddler can do most of the steps to this cute treat if you prepare some of the parts ahead of time. Here is what you will need:

  • cardboard egg carton
  • washable paint and paintbrush
  • toothpicks
  • construction paper
  • small treat or surprise to put inside
  • glue
  • marker or pen

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