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Entries in spring (15)


Celebrate Spring With This Easy May Day Basket

When my family returned from a spring weekend away a couple years back, we had a lovely surprise waiting on our door -- a May Day basket! The basket came from a sweet neighbor and her young daughter, and it's a tradition I decided to adopt last year for some of our neighbors and friends. After a bit of surfing, I found directions and a free printable template for a paper basket and flowers. It was so easy even a non-crafter like me could handle it. And there was plenty of work that my preschooler could help out with, too.

Look how cute it turned out:

Here are the supplies you'll need for your paper May Day Basket:
  • Heavy paper, either scrapbooking paper or construction paper, at least 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. (I used scrapbooking paper that was 12 x 12; cardstock weight worked best, but I used some lighter-weight sheets, too.)
  • A glue stick or double sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Some kind of "sticks" to mount the paper flowers. I bought a big bag of popsicle sticks from the craft store, but pipe cleaners or straws would probably work fine, too.
  • Embellishments for the inside of your paper flowers, such as pom poms, buttons or stickers. (These are optional; your kids could also just color the flowers.)
  • A short piece of ribbon or string for attaching the tag.
  • A paper punch would make attaching the tag easier.
  • This awesome free printable template from Skip to my Lou, which is a great site full of arts & craft tutorials, ideas for handmade gifts and free printables.

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Spring Guide 2013: Bunny Breakfasts, Easter Egg Hunts and More in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Easter kind of snuck up on me this year. It's on March 31, somewhat earlier than normal. But we still have a couple of weeks to enjoy Easter-related activities, and here are some of the most-promising ones I've found. If you know of more, please let me know in the comments section. Note that many of these events do require advance registration, so don't delay!


OSWEGO: The Oswegoland Park District will host a "Lunch with the Bunny" on Tuesday, March 19, at Pearce's Pavilion at the Fox Bend Golf Course on Route 34 in Oswego. There are two time slots: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will enjoy lunch and then have some time with the bunny. The bunny will then lead the little ones on a hunt for eggs. The cost for residents is $12 per person, $16 each for non-residents. Everyone must be registered. For info, call 630-554-1010. 


OSWEGO: For older children, the Oswegoland Park District is hosting a Flashlight Egg Hunt on Friday, March 22, from 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wormley Heritage Park. Kids should bring their flashlights for the nighttime hunt for eggs and a basket, too. They'll also have a chance to win some prizes. Pre-registration is required. This event is for children ages 6 through 16. The cost is $5 per person for residents, $8 for non-residents. For info, call 630-554-1010. 

Photo by frank3.0 on Flickr.

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Bunny Business 2012: Egg Hunts, Breakfasts and More

Easter will be celebrated on April 8 this year, so the next couple of weeks are busy with Easter egg hunts, breakfasts with the bunny and more. The events you need to register in advance for are listed first, in chronological order. If you are indeed interested in any of these, register soon. I’ll keep updating this list over coming weeks, but of course suggestions are always welcome!


Photo by vanherdehaage on Flickr.The Wheaton Park District will host a "Bunny Bash" as part of the Kidz Kingdom at the Community Center. You can drop your kids off to decorate eggs, make a bunny craft and decorate cookies. The Easter Bunny will join in for a small egg hunt. The event is offered March 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and also Saturday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $15 for residents, $18 for non-residents.

The St. Charles Park District has a Breakfast With the Easter Bunny scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, at 9 a.m. at the Pottawatomie Community Center. Children ages 1 through 6 will decorate their own bunny-face pancake, color bunny pictures, have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny and end with a Bunny Hop. You must register in advance. Resident children and adults are $9.50; non-residents are $14.50.

The Yorkville Park District is offering the "Easter Egg-Xpress" on Saturday, March 31. The train will depart from the Aurora Metra station and had to Naperville, where families will walk to a local park, meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs. Everyone in the family must register for this event. The fee is $10 for residents and $12 for nonresidents. You can register by calling 630-553-2582.

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Children's Clothing, Toy & Equipment Resales: Spring Edition

This post is brought to you because of the support of the MAC Kids Club at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Up next in the Kids Club series is "Kidjazz!" -- an interactive musical concert on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m. 

It's that time of year again -- time to mark you calendars in preparation for scoring some deals at massive resale events!

Photo courtesy of the Bugaboo Children's Consignment Sale.Please follow the links provided to learn more about each resale's individual policies: Some are free to enter, others charge a small admission. Some of the events ban children, strollers, wagons or laundry baskets. Most sell items for half-price later in the day. And most are still looking for volunteers to help out -- volunteers get to shop the presale, usually held a day before the event is open to the general public. 

Before you head out, especially if you're a resale novice, you'll want to read our guest columnist Edith Tarter's tips for making the most of these types of events.

Know of a resale we don't have listed here? Add it in the comments section. Happy shopping!


Timothy Christian Schools’ Children’s Spring Toy & Clothing Resale: Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to noon in the school gym, located at 188 W. Butterfield Road in Elmhurst.

Owen Elementary School Spring/Summer Children's Resale: Saturday, March 3, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the school gym, located at 1560 Westglen Drive in Naperville.

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Spring Memories: Many Mays and the Who

The purpose of Memorial Day, of course, is to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. But it's also a day that prompts many of us to think about beloved family and friends who are no longer with us. In this guest column, Jennifer Downing of Nourish reminisces about a series of special days spent with her grandmother. 

Twenty years ago, I imagine a long-distance phone call between mom and grandma, making plans for my brother and I to visit. Every year in June, or so it seemed, we visited our favorite grandparents for a week. Between history-based day trips, holly hock dolls and walks to Maggio’s for candy, we went strawberry picking. The field was a short drive down Route 45 from their post-war Cape Cod and as I recall, adjacent to a trailer park. Grandma always took the effort seriously, explaining the how-to’s of the task at hand. Most important was to remember to move the flag, signifying what row had been picked and to what point. Still, the scent of tiny, local strawberries warm with the sun renews wonderfully fragrant memories. I attribute some of my passion for food to those experiences.

Photo by nij4 on Flickr.This month, Doug and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary. The blooming of the lilacs usually coincides with our celebration and that May many years ago they were stunning. I cut a huge bouquet to dress the dining table to welcome my grandparents. Well into their eighties, they drove from Champaign to be at our wedding. We dined on fancy hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Grandpa had beer even though his doctor said he shouldn’t. The cake was ridiculously expensive – and perfect.

Fifteen years ago this month I was pregnant with our first child due in July. My grandmother, a widow by then, and I had made plans for a weekend together and it included strawberry picking. While it would be June until the berries were ready plans were at hand. Just beginning to have more time in the kitchen I wanted to make homemade jam use a hot water bath process. Grandma bestowed the virtues of paraffin wax and freezer jam.

Last week, I was in the attic putting up winter clothes and came across a bin of our wedding keepsakes and family things. Like the pile of pictures one stumbles upon at an odd moment that brings the day to a screeching halt – so this discovery left me. Teetering on the edge of a Christmas decoration box, pile of boots and sweaters at my feet, something fluttered in my chest – the joy of nostalgia. Stuck in a pile of cards and wedding announcement clippings I found a letter from my Grandma. Light blue with a deckled edge, I received many letters upon this stationary through our years of correspondence.

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