Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hold a Baby Lamb

I'm a sucker for cute baby animals - who isn't? So I love this upcoming event - "Hold a Baby Lamb!"

The Lambing Barn at Enjoy Pioneer Farm is open on Fridays and Saturdays in March from 9am-3pm for kids - and parents - to see what it's like to hold a baby lamb. And this year, the Farm also has chickens, chicks hatching, goats, rabbits, piglet and a llama to see and hold.

Lambing Days are an opportunities to get up close to a sheep and feel their wool, and kids can learn about where their wool clothes come from by watching a sheep shearing demonstration.

And while you can't take any of these cute little animal babies home, you don't have to leave empty handed. The farm sells seasonal products and produce, including farm fresh eggs.

Admission is $5 per person, or a maximum of $11 per family. Enjoy Pioneer Farm is located at Enjoy Pioneer Farm is located 17 N 400 Big Timber Rd., Hampshire. Find more information on the web site at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Neighborhoods of the World at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is honoring some of the many different ethnic communities of Chicago with events every Sunday that honor these parts of the world. Every Sunday through April 3, enjoy a taste of cultural flair with an afternoon of music, dance, costumes, authentic cuisine and local vendors selling folk arts from the regions.

Here's the schedule starting with this Sunday's event:

February 27, 2011
Kick-Off to St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
Chicago Neighborhoods: Beverly, Mount Greenwood
Performances by Trinity Irish Dancers, Joe Cullen, Irish Music School of Chicago, and Anish.

March 6, 2011
Celebrate Poland
Chicago Neighborhoods: Jefferson Park, Harwood Heights, Avondale
Performances by Lechici Dancers, Soloists from the Lira Singers, Lajkonic Dancers, Academy of Music of the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra, and The Polish Highlanders.

March 13, 2011
Chicago Neighborhood: Little Italy
Midwest Premiere performance by La Rossignol (from Castelleone, Italy), plus Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan, and more.

March 20, 2011
Celebrate Mexico
Chicago Neighborhoods: Pilsen, Little Village
Performances by Mexican Dance Ensemble, Tarima Son, and more.

March 27, 2011
A Greek Journey in the Windy City
Chicago Neighborhood: Greektown
Performances by the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society and the Chicago Hellenic Choir.

April 3, 2011
Chicago Neighborhood: Lincoln Square
Performances by Pieptone!, Paloma Band, Amazonen, Fanfaren Corps of Chicago,
BGTV D'Lustigen Holzhacker Buam, Egerlander Tanzgruppe, and Amazing Mike.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Play Cafe - Little Beans Cafe

Unless you're living under a rock, or an ice-encrusted record-sized drift of snow, you've probably heard about Little Beans Cafe. While I had been anxiously awaiting the opening and planning to visit last week, I seemed to be fighting fate to get there. After making it thru an 8-hour carpet installation, our first trip the ER (1am!) with our toddler, a week without our babysitter, 2 days on the phone with web tech support - and a little blizzard - I finally made it.

Little Beans does not feel like a kid's play place when you walk in the door. It's a sophisticated coffee shop, with a regular seating area in the front and a nice selection of drinks and snacks. At the back is the play area, which includes a kiddie town with a fire station, a burning house (it took some time to convince my daughter that the house "on fire" was not really on fire... and it's cute, not scary), a gas station and grocery store. My daughter (almost 3) was first drawn to the reading area, when she caught a glimpse of Knuffle Bunny, sitting amongst some other popular kids books.

In addition to the kid town and reading area, my daughter very much enjoyed sitting in a little wooden fire truck. Her friend that joined us was instantly drawn to a doll house before heading over to the play buildings. There's also a nice area for crawlers to play.

In addition to open play, Little Beans offers a variety of classes like Family Yoga, Mommy Time Yoga, Music & Movement and Imaginative Art.

Little Beans is located at 1809 W. Webster Ave. and has open play from 9am-5pm Monday - Friday; 9am-2pm Saturday; 9 to 11am Sunday. Visit them online at

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Best Valentine's Day Cookie Recipe

Valentine's Day is probably not the holiday that conjures up the most childhood memories for people. But for me, it always reminds me of the special Valentine's Day cookies that my mom used to bake. They're still my favorite cookies, and if you feeling like baking a love-filled treat for your kids, give this recipe a try!


1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon McCormick's pure peppermint extract
red food coloring
1 cup rolled oats (long-cooking type)
powdered sugar
7 to 9 Hershey's milk chocolate bars (no nuts)
1 ½" Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter


Beat together butter and sugar.
Blend in egg and vanilla extract.
Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
Add peppermint and food coloring, creating a pink dough.
Stir in oats and mix well.
Divide dough in ½ and wrap in plastic wrap to chill in refrigerator a few hours.
Roll out dough on surface sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Cut with floured 1 ½ inch heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
When removed from oven, immediately place 1 ½ to 2 rectangles of chocolate bar on a hot cookie and press another cookie lightly onto the chocolate to create a sandwich cookie. Cool.

Makes about 40 cookies. Freezes well.