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Entries in st. charles (42)

Tuesday
Apr092013

Mom to Mom: Go and Enjoy the Show!

We're so lucky here in Chicago's far western suburbs to have many options for children's theater. I try to include them all on the Go West Calendar, and I'm always happy to partner with theaters who want to give away tickets to readers. Today, guest contributor Tamara Hickman writes about why she likes taking her daughter to theatrical performances. 

A year ago, I took my oldest daughter to her first musical. She had just turned 3, and when I think about her experience, it warms my heart. 

I had taken her to see "Sleeping Beauty" performed by the Children’s Theatre of Elgin. It was my first experience as well in a children's theater and we had a spectacular time! The singing, dancing, costumes and the humor were incredible.  

But the best part was watching my little girl sit at the edge of her seat in her beautiful dress, with perfect posture, eyes wide open and the biggest smile on her face! She was clapping as hard as she could, and she kept asking me when they were going to start singing again. This really brought tears to my eyes knowing that she's having this theatrical experience and most especially because we were there together. Oh and did I mention sitting at the edge of her seat because if she didn’t the seat would flip up on her? Too cute!

The Children's Theatre of Elgin will be performing 'Seussical Jr.' on April 12-14 at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. (Photo courtesy of CTE.)

Since then we've been to see shows at the Steel Beam Theatre and the Marquee Youth Stage, both in Saint Charles. I'm looking forward to going back to the Children’s Theatre of Elgin this weekend to see "Seussical Junior" at the Hemmens Cultural Center in downtown Elgin. I’d have to say by far this place has overall been the best experience. I will still return to the other theaters and maybe try some others as well.

I think a lot of people don’t realize that these theatrical performances for children are out there, and they don't cost a lot of money. Depending on the places mentioned, tickets range between $7 and $15. So go and enjoy the show!

Tamara Hickman and her husband live in St. Charles with their two girls. The girls keep mommy busy with arts and crafts and daddy busy playing tag. The family loves to "park hop," checking out parks in neighboring communities. 

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Tuesday
Mar052013

Indoor Play: Preschool Playtime at Pottawatomie Community Center in St. Charles

Believe me, I'm a fan of indoor play spots like Kids Town in Wheaton, and open gyms like those held at professional gymnasiums. I like scheduling playdates at nature centers including Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles and the Red Oak Nature Center in North Aurora.

But sometimes, I just need a huge open space in which to let my preschooler RUN! Unfortunately in the Midwest, you can't always do that outdoors. 

So I was pleased to discover the "Preschool Playtime" offered by the St. Charles Park District. For just $3 for up to two hours, your kids can play in the big gymnasium in the Pottawatomie Community Center, located next to the Fox River on the east side of St. Charles in Pottawatomie Park. (The $3 rate applies whether you are a resident or not.)

Preschool Playtime is held most weekdays at Pottawatomie Community Center in St. Charles. Photo by Tara Burghart.The Preschool Playtimes are part of the park district's general "open gym" schedule, which is updated weekly on its site. You'll find a link to the current week, and usually several weeks into the future, on the right side of the park district's website under the "Quick Clicks" section. Usually they are offered from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. But those times are not set in stone, and can change from week to week, and so I don't feature it on the Go West Calendar. You can also call 630-513-6200 to make sure there will be an open gym for preschoolers before you head out.

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Monday
Feb112013

Giveaway: Four Passes for Chicago Fun Family Palooza in St. Charles

The snow is melting, but we still have a stretch of winter ahead of us. So it's fun to have something to look forward to. The Chicago Fun Family Palooza sounds like a good event to put on your calendar -- it will be held the weekend of March 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside the Mega Center at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

There will be inflatables, carnival rides and a 200-foot indoor zip-line. The Family Palooza Stage will host magicians, game shows and interactive performances. Also on the lineup: A petting zoo, rock climbing wall, miniature golf course, trackless train, stilt walkers, balloon twisters, face painters and costumed characters.

General admission is $8, but you can buy an unlimited activity wristband for $15 that will include general admission. Children under 3 are free. 

However, one lucky Go West reader can win four wristbands for her family. All you have to do is answer this question: What are you looking forward to the most about the arrival of spring? 

The giveaway starts now and ends Monday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. Central time. Make sure to leave your email address, so we can contact you if you win.

Here’s the fine print: No purchase necessary. Offer subject to availability. Offer does not apply to previously purchased tickets or wristbands. Promotion cannot be combined with any other offer. Wristbands are not transferable. Contest will end at 8 p.m. Central time on Monday, Feb. 18. Winner will be picked at random by random.org. Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Prize is valued at $60.

Again, to enter, just leave your email and answer this question: What are you looking forward to the most about the arrival of spring? Good luck!

Disclosure: My family is receiving free tickets to the Chicago Fun Family Palooza.

Friday
Sep142012

Best-Kept Secret: Poblano Pepper Grill in St. Charles

This is the first installment in a new feature called "Best-Kept Secret" that will profile businesses, resources and sites that are hidden gems in the Fox Valley. If you have a suggestion for a place we should feature, please write to editor(at)gowestyoungmom.com.

I first heard of the Poblano Pepper Grill back in May, when I wrote a list tied to Cinco de Mayo entitled "Five Great ... Places for Tacos in the Western Suburbs." Two readers wrote in to comment that my list was missing a great spot for authentic Mexican food called Poblano Pepper Grill on the east side of St. Charles. Both mentioned that in addition to the food being amazing, the owners were wonderful, too.

Poblano Pepper Grill is located on the east side of St. Charles, in a shopping complex just off Main Street.Well, I know I have smart readers and we love Mexican food, and so my daughter and I went to check it out this summer for lunch. I was very impresed with my Asada tacos that day and the friendly attitude of the staff. So last month, I returned with my husband, daughter and in-laws so we could try out more dishes. 

My verdict? I'm still dreaming of the Sopa Azteca, a tortilla soup served with cheese and chile pasilla strips and topped with sour cream. Poblano Pepper Grill has definitely become one of our favorite restaurants in the area. Both times I got to visit with the owners -- even met their new grandchild! -- and the story of the family behind it is nearly as good as the food. 

Poblano Pepper Grill, which opened in February, is owned by Ruben and Lizette Alonso, who live in the Aurora area. They met more than 30 years ago in school in Mexico City and got married a year later. They say that even though they came from different backgrounds, both had grown up in homes where their moms prepared delicious home-cooked meals using traditional Mexican recipes.

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Tuesday
Jun052012

The Ice Cream Diaries: Kimmer's Ice Cream in St. Charles

I actually have already written about Kimmer’s Ice Cream before. Or at least the location. Kimmer’s is located in the space occupied for many years by the former Gramp’s Frozen Custard, along the Fox River in downtown St. Charles.

Kimmer's Ice Cream is located in St. Charles.But along with a name change and interior makeover, Kimmer’s is owned by an enthusiastic young woman who is eager to try out new flavors of her homemade ice cream and work with the community. Read on to find out more about the latest entry in the “Ice Cream Diaries.”

Name: Kimmer’s Ice Cream

Address: 1 W. Illinois St. in Charles, in the Fox Island Square complex and across the street from the Blue Goose Supermarket. Phone: 630-762-9480. There’s a parking lot in front of the store with plenty of shops.

Hours: Monday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. 

Good for: Anyone enjoying an outing in downtown St. Charles or riding the Fox River bike paths. It makes for a wonderful, scenic walk along the river from the nearby Mt. St. Mary Park.

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