Last week, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the new Mariano’s grocery store at 7401 W. Lawrence in Harwood Heights, Il. Mariano’s is a grocery store that I’ve known about for a while, since my mother (Mor-Mor) shopped there a while back and came to me raving about how fresh the produce was. She also informed me that it was like a restaurant inside. Color me intrigued. I’m all about the grocery store experience. Usually, I’m by myself, and I enjoy being able to take my time and take in the sights. Yes, I’m a mother of four children, and the aisles of a grocery store happen to be my sanctuary. Let’s just say, my sanctuary has been kicked up several notches. Continue readingPin It
Talk about a gem in the middle of the city! Purple Monkey Playroom was descended upon on a very snowy Tuesday afternoon by me, Mr. Houseful and the three littles. I do have a sneaking suspicion that the cellist would have enjoyed his time there as well, but I’ll let him continue to say otherwise. Located right of of Armitage and Western at 2040 N. Western, this quaint spot provides parents and children alike a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. With free coffee, tea, and wi-fi, parents will love the space as much as their children do. As a mother, I realize the price of peace. And it is listed above. Mr. Houseful and I sat and figured out that if we visited once a week, it would come to more than the annual pass. And I’m sure that during the spring, summer and fall, when I don’t feel like taking everyone to the museum or zoo and chasing them around, this will definitely come in handy. Either way, it won’t be the last time that Jessica (the owner) sees me and my little ones.
As you can see, Lil Miss Twizzler was extremely impressed from the moment she first put on the red tutu.
Right off the bat, the ladybug and Lil’ Miss found these tutus in the dress up area that they had to put on. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had one small enough for Lil’ Miss. They think about the tiny people, and I love it. The balance beam that’s safe enough for little ones. I did hold a hand of each twizzler as they attempted to go across (hence the reason there are no pictures of them walking across.) There was obviously lots of shopping to do, while dressed in that pretty red tutu. Sir Twizzler headed straight for the pony. Dreams of being a cowboy perhaps? There was a tiki-hut of sorts in the north east corner of the play space. Housed under there were a tool counter, and a kitchen. My children played with each area equally. I loved seeing that there were some tools in the refrigerator and some food in the tool case. The area for parents to sit and drink their complimentary tea or coffee while watching their children play the day or afternoon away. The kitchen area. There are various beverages (although no Pepsi – I’ll have to whisper in Jessica’s ear about this) available for purchase, including juice boxes and milk for little ones. The action figure, and blocks area. This is where the collective spent most of their time. This small slide which the twins approached with some sort of trepidation, soon became the go to attraction for the time we were there.
The ladybug loved that there were all types of sparkle and ruffly things to dress up with. And Sir Twizzler who donned his Preacher’s coat and mouse ears went on a task to find as many mouse ears as he could. He maxed out with three pairs.
There was also music playing softly in the background that we took advantage of. All of it was of course kid friendly, and the addition of tutus encouraged massive amounts of twirling and ballerina like moves.
All in all, I would have to say that we had a fantastic time with this little corner of playland that Jessica created. It was also kind of nice to have the entire space to ourselves for about an hour and a half of the two and a half hours that we were there.
And when the day outside looks like this:
It’s always great to have some place to go to shake your sillies out. Purple Monkey Playroom provides just that space. However, be prepared for your children to give you one of these when you all get into the car, or happen to walk home:Pin It
Winner of the 2012 Red Tricycle Awards for Coolest Indoor Playroom and Best Birthday Party Spot, Purple Monkey Playroom is a bright, nurturing destination for young children, parents and caregivers. As the venue and the entertainment all rolled into one inviting play space, Purple Monkey Playroom makes planning your child’s birthday as easy as walking through the door. Our playroom can comfortably seat up to 30 guests, and can accommodate a total of 50 celebrants. We welcome any outside food, drink and decoration and can also help coordinate any “extras” in which you might be interested.
Make sure to also check out one of the great class offers at Purple Monkey Playroom.
Winter class schedule:
All classes are included with the price of admission.
Special offer for my readers - $5 off daily drop-in admission per family (new clients only) Plus save $25 on a full-priced Birthday Party Rental.
This is an exclusive offer brought to you by WindyCityKidsGuide!Pin It
If you haven’t heard, the Chicago Teacher’s Union is participating in its first strike in 25 years. The dividing line is STRONG. Those who are adamantly FOR the teacher’s and those who aren’t.
I happen to be – for once in my life – right in the middle. As a parent I’m very concerned for the loss of days and the timing of the strike. As a volunteer in the cellists’ school, I KNOW how hard these teachers work, and how much they do with what little they have. As a parent, I wish that this would have been finalized before my child spent an entire month getting acclimated to new teachers, new schedules, new policies. As a volunteer, I know that no time is ever the “right” time.
Today I was serving jury duty (yeah, you read that right, one day AFTER my birthday – joy) and after dismissal, I was let out right into the streets into a sea of red shirts and placards. Many people were chanting and others seemed to be milling around hugging each other in support of the strike.
For someone who values education as much as I do, I felt that in all of this political bantering and requesting fair wages and classrooms conducive to learning, our children were STILL losing. While overcrowding and lack of textbooks don’t provide the environment that we need in so many schools across the city of Chicago, the children aren’t learning anything while school is out.
By no means does this mean that I support the Board fully either. I just wish that our children were not stuck in the middle of this. I don’t quite remember the strike of ’87, but I’m sure that it was the same story, different day. My parents had their parents around to help watch us. We were in a safe environment, we were in a neighborhood where everyone watched everyone else. That’s not so today.
And the protesters weren’t without protesters of their own. Several non-union supporters were downtown hurling insults back at the teachers. One particular individual made sure to call every teacher he passed “nothing but scum.” Another decided to hurl expletives at every red shirted individual he passed. This made the situation at hand all the more intense and uncomfortable for me.
I know that this is supposed to make the parents sweat enough to call down to the board of education to plead with CEO Brizard to settle on the contract that the CTU has set forth. Our children are out of school and we NEED them back in those seats. We’re falling behind so many other cities when we have the second largest school district in the NATION. It’s not right.
Now we have to sit and wait. Except in this Houseful, the cellist will be starting his own homeschool curriculum and hopefully, this mama can do him some sort of justice.
I happened to take a couple of photos of the signs that some of the teachers were carrying. I would love to hear your thoughts below.
Hopefully an agreement is reached soon. Hopefully.
Lorraine Hansbury – 1930-1965
*photo courtesy of Facts On File database
Yes, I’m loving all of the Black literary greats that were born right here in my very own city. This my dears, is Ms. Lorraine Hansbury who achieved instant fame when, at the age of 28, her play ‘A Raisin In the Sun’ was produced on Broadway. Not only was it HER first play, but the first play by a black woman, to be produced on the great stage.
She is another creative mind that was gone at such a young age. Pancreatic cancer only allowed her 35 years on this earth, and she managed to do quite a bit with it. I wish that every person on this earth could live to their full potential daily. It would make life on this planet so much better.
While she will be remembered for ‘A Raisin In the Sun,’ which was titled from a line taken from Langston Hughes poem ‘Harlem,’ I would be remiss to not mention the other play that she wrote which opened to mixed reviews:
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
I’m intrigued from the small amount of information that I was able to process and also a little bit amazed at a bit of the steps that she took in her day. Mainly that of being homosexual and divorcing her husband – amicably – because of her believe in equal and civil rights.
Does that leave you wanting to read more? Well, I suggest you hop to it! And remember, everyday is a reason to learn something new.
~Make It A Fantastic Day
I won’t even go into how much I love our public library system. I’m sure you all are a bit weary of reading about the current state of it anyway. So, I’m going to transport you back in time a bit, to the hiring of the first female black librarian to grace our cities public library system.
Miss Vivian Gordon Harsh
*photo courtesy of Chicago TributePin It
The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. ~Malcolm Forbes
Today like most Tuesdays, the Houseful gathered up and went on our way to the library. Except today was a little different. In our neighborhood they opened up a brand new library. The Richard M. Daley branch of the Chicago Public Library system. It’s awesome sauce (I got that from the ladybug who got it from I have NO idea.) There is something magical about being one of the first to enter a new building, let alone a brand new library. I was able to grab some action shots of Papa Nicholes reading to Sir Twizzler and the Ladybug, but no more because I was a bit scared that the patrons would think that I was slightly crazy.
We maxed out our borrowing limit and were in LOVE with all of the BRAND. NEW. BOOKS that were lining the shelves. I also must admit something. I’m secretly hoping that no one comes to this library for a while with good reason. It was so nice to just have an entire edifice to ourselves for a bit. Almost like our own little secret hideaway from the rest of the busy hustle and bustle of our city. Our own private space.
My genre for this trip was all homeschool literature. I don’t think that I announced yet that we will be homeschooling the Ladybug this year and we’re starting off with LOTS of books reinforcing the alphabet and music – since our Public Library System has a summer reading program lovingly named Book Beats and books with that theme are easy to come by. It is also a great choice because while the Cellist practices for tap dance or cello, we can discuss things that we see him doing while also supporting his interests at the same time. Brilliant, no?!
The cellist is reading a Rick Riordan series and Eldest. Eldest looks to have the same thickness as War and Peace. We’ll see what he has to say when he finishes it.
Thanks for stopping by and remember:
Make it a FANTASTIC Day!Pin It