Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday 5/11/09 - Sunday 5/17/09

Happy Mother's Day! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day celebrating the hardest working woman of the household. I kicked off the day with brunch with my husband and son. After some family bonding I headed out for a pedi/mani - a 1.5 hour slice of heavenly alone time. But on Mother's Day, I tend to reflect on the best gifts of all: how lucky I am to be a mom, to be a part of a loving family, to have an amazing husband and son, and to have quality time with the two of them every week. We spent Saturday together volunteering at the Chicago River Day clean-up and will spend next weekend building our garden. Which brings me to the thought of the week...

Thought of the Week: Sowing the Seeds of Love
There is no better time to start planting your flowers, herbs, fruits, and veggies than this week. We are fortunate to have enough room in our city backyard to plant a small garden. When we lived in a condo we planted tomatoes, herbs, and peppers in pots on our roof. Below I've listed plant sales and planting lectures spanning the south side, the north side, and the suburbs. I can't imagine a better family activity than planting a garden together. Aside from getting your kids outside and away from the television, it teaches them team work, educates them on where food comes from, and hopefully in the end it allows them enjoy the fruits of their labor. Take your kids to a plant sale this week and let them pick out a crop to plant. Perhaps it will encourage them to eat their veggies if they get to choose and then lovingly attend to their plants until harvest time. And let's face it, times are tough, do you really need to spend small fortune on heirloom tomatoes from Whole Foods when you can grow a bushel of them for a fraction of the cost. So whether your outdoor space is large or small, dedicate a few pots or section of your backyard to growing produce sustainably this summer.
Click here for a site on container gardening and other urban gardening tips and click here for a site on gardening with kids.


The Field Museum: Monday is a free admission day at the Field Museum. It is a great day to check out Sue for free or pay a little extra to see the Real Pirates Exhibit. This exhibit features hundreds of artifacts recovered from the wreck of the first fully authenticated pirate ship discovered in U.S. waters almost 300 years ago. The Real Pirates exhibit is $8 for adults and $3 for children on Monday.
Where: The Field Museum • 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.
When: Free day-Monday 5/11 • 9a-5p

Tots on Tuesdays at the Shedd: Every Tuesday the Shedd Aquarium offers activities devoted to toddlers and pre-schoolers. There are story times, crafts, animal touch programs, videos and costumed characters.
Where: The Shedd Aquarium • 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago
When: Tuesdays • 9a-5p

Garfield Park Conservatory: Every Wednesday through the fall is Little Green Thumb Wednesdays at the conservatory. Little gardeners can unite to dig in the soil, plant pretend veggies, play with wheel barrels, and other gardening activities. No registration required. FREE!
Where: 300 N. Central Park Avenue, Chicago • Outside in the Demonstration Garden (moves indoors to the Children's Garden in bad weather)
When: Every Wednesday through 10/28 • 3p-6p

A Bloomin Sale: The Chicago Botanic Garden's 43rd annual plant sale returns this weekend. The focus of this year's event is growing your own food sustainably. Aside from fruits and vegetables, the sale features annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, native wild flowers, roses, etc. Experts will give tips on how to build frames and raised beds for your garden.
Where: The Botanic Garden • 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Members only: Fri 1p-4p • Open to the public: Friday 4p-7p / Sat-Sun 10a-3

Hyde Park Garden Fair: For a plethora of annuals, perennials, house plants, veggies, and more hit the 5oth annual Hyde Park Garden Fair. The fair places an emphasis on highlighting plants that are suitable for city gardens. There will also be an educational lecture series.
Where: Hyde Park Shopping Center • 55th Street and South Lake Park
When: Fri 5/15 9a-6p and Sat 5/16 9a-4p

Kilbourn Park Organic Plant Sale: If you plan on planting veggies in your backyard, on your deck, or on your roof this summer, make sure you hit the annual organic plant sale at Kilbourn Park. The park has a greenhouse where more than 150 varieties of organic plant, herb and flower seedlings are grown. Pick up gems such as heirloom tomatoes, peppers, funky varieties of basil, beets, and many other types of produce that you won't find at Jewel. We've purchased our seedlings at this sale for the past three years and they have produced a beautiful bounty of veggies and herbs. There is a playground at the park for your kids as well. This is one of my favorite parks for kids programs. Stay tuned for other events at Kilbourn throughout the summer.
Where: 3501 N Kilbourn Ave, Chicago • 773-685-3351
When: Sat and Sun • 10a-3p

Malott Japanese Garden Children's Festival: After hitting the Botanic Garden's plant sale, stop by the Malott Japanese Garden to learn about children's celebrations in Japan. There will be music, folk tales, a tea ceremony, and crafts such as origami and paper doll making.
Where: The Botanic Garden • 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Sat and Sun • 10a-3p

Walk Now for Autism: Head to Soldier Field on Saturday for a 5K (3.1 mile) walk and autism resource fair. There will be kids activities, entertainment, refreshments, information and resources. There is no fee to register but every participant is urged to raise $250 for autism research.
Where: Soldier Field • 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive
When: Saturday • Registration at 8a / Race at 10a

Toad-ally Tadpoles: Every weekend in May, stop by the Toad-ally Tadpoles exhibit at the Morton Arboretum. Kids will learn fun facts about frogs and make a tadpole to take home.
Where: Morton Arboretum • 4100 Route 53, Lisle
When: Saturdays and Sundays in May • 11a-4p


The Alder Planetarium is showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure staring, you guessed it, your kids' favorite Sesame Street characters. Big Bird, Elmo, and a friend from China, discover fun facts about the stars, planets, sun and moon. Weekday shows are at 1p and 2:30p and weekend shows are 12n and 3p. Tuesday 5/12, 5/19, and 5/26 are free admission days at the planetarium. Otherwise the cost of entry plus the show is $19 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-14. 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago.

Brookfield Zoo: In the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit, the Brookfield Zoo has created a Jurassic Park experience minus all the scary stuff. Kids can touch and control the movement of life-sized dinosaurs along a wooded path in an outdoor forest setting. The exhibit also features a dig site that allows visitors to find replica dinosaur fossils. General zoo admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children 3-11. Admission for Dinosaurs Alive! is an additional $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-11. The exhibit runs through October.

Chicago Botanic Garden -Model Railroad Garden: Starting this week, the Botanic Garden is featuring an area devoted to model trains. Seventeen trains travel across bridges, through tunnels, and around various American landmarks in a miniature garden setting. Admission to the Botanic Garden is free but there is a $20 per car parking fee. There is an additional fee of $5 for adults and $3 for kids for the Railroad exhibit.
Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
When: Daily 5/9-10/25 • 10a-8p

Green City Market: Visit Chicago's largest Farmer's Market in the heart of Lincoln Park every Wed and Sat through October 31st. Be sure to stop by the Growing Home booth for your organic produce. My son loves to run around the park and boogie to the live music while I shop for our groceries.
Tip: if you are not a zoo member, consider becoming one. why would i pay to join a free zoo, you ask? zoo membership gives you free parking adjacent to the zoo and a short walk to the farmer's market (as well as a short walk to the nature museum, the beach, etc). plus zoo membership is tax deductible. we usually get an early start on saturday mornings and hit the farmer's market and then make a stop at the zoo. this makes for a full morning of outdoor activities that the entire family can enjoy!
Where: The south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton.
When: Every Wednesday and Saturday 7a-1p

The Kids' Table offers cooking classes for 2-3 year olds almost every day of the week. Classes for 4-6 year olds, 7-10 year olds, and 11-16 year olds are offered several days a week as well. The classes for toddlers and kids are one hour and cost $25. The classes for teens are 1.5 hours and are $110 for a series of four. 2337 W. North Avenue.

Pump It Up: when it is too hot or cold to play outside, Pump It Up offers indoor play in Chicago and the suburbs. Kids can jump, slide, and climb on giant inflatables during Pop-in Playtime on the weekdays. The city location also has a separate area designed for little kids age 1-4. Pop-in playtime is $8 -$10 for 1.5 hours. Hit their website for hours and the address of the location nearest you. Locations include: Chicago, Glenview, Elmhurst, and Vernon Hills. Don't forget socks!

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