Top Picks: December 19 – 21, 2014

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Martinez_top_picks_revised“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….” What a great weekend this is going to be! There are still quite a few events happening around town– even on the final shopping weekend prior to Christmas. So in the spirit of making “lists,” get ready to make your list of the places you want to go with your kids! And while you are skimming the list below, make sure to check out the “Sneak Peek” event ads from three of my valued sponsors.

In my Top Picks for December 19-21, enjoy a Winter Solstice celebration, a movie, ice skating, holiday lights, Candy Bar Bingo, ice sculpture demonstrations, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a glimpse of cultural traditions during the holidays! Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP! And if they ask who sent you…tell them ‘The Mommy’ did!

DISCLAIMER: Although I am careful to report accurate dates and times as they are provided, I realize that sometimes I receive inaccurate information, events may be cancelled or I simply make a boo boo. I strongly encourage you to confirm the information before heading out and/or to click the link that is provided for each activity to check the details.

FRIDAY
Friday, December 19, 2014

Event: Candy Bar Bingo
Town: Bartlett, IL
Where: Bartlett Nature Center, 2054 W. Stearns Rd., Bartlett
Age: 5+FOSS_PNG_300x250_WEB_Ad
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: A Bingo game without any money involved. The winnings are candy bars!
Cost: $5 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-540-4800

Friday, December 19, 2014  (*repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Friday, December 19, 2014 (*repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry (donations appreciated). Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales and zoo opens at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***
{sponsored post}LILKICK_2015 open house_revised
Saturday, December 20, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities. Note that the Open House event (see adjacent ad) takes place on January 3rd with complete details HERE.

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Event: Touching on Traditions (*event repeats Sun.)
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: The Elgin Public Museum in Lords Park, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 12:00 Noon to 4:00 p.m.
Description: See displays featuring objects of holiday traditions from around the world (this is a MBTR fave!).
Cost: Adults $2; Kids under 12 $1
Information: Website or 847-741-6655

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Event: Movie: “Home Alone” (PG – 103 mins)
Town: Carpentersville, IL
Where: Cinema 12, 100 LW Besinger Dr., Carpentersville
Age: See movie rating
Time: 9:00 a.m. doors open; 10:00 a.m. movie
Description: When doors open, enjoy pre-movie activities, including a chance to take a photo with Santa. (Bring your own camera!) Treats and other surprises!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website
Special Note: Compliments of the Rotary Club of Carpentersville

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Event: Old Town Festival of Lights: Carriage Rides
Town: Bloomingdale, IL
Where: Old Town Park, 111 Third St., Bloomingdale
Age: All ages
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides around the premises
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-529-3650

Lake in the Hills-GO-MommyByTheRiver-300x250_hi_resSaturday, December 20, 2014  (*repeats Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – Noon to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note: On Saturdays, the rink is closed to the public in the morning. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Saturday, December 20, 2014 (*repeats Sun.)
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry (donations appreciated). Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales and zoo opens at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

SUNDAY
Sunday, December 21, 2014

Event: Ancient Cultural Traditions and the Solstice
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: The Elgin Public Museum in Lords Park, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Description: Learn about the Winter Solstice and the significance of the harvest to ancient peoples, drink warm cider and enjoy treats.
Cost: $5 per person
Information: Website or 847-741-6655

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Event: Old Town Festival of Lights: Ice Sculpture Demonstration
Town: Bloomingdale, IL
Where: Old Town Park, 111 Third St., Bloomingdale
Age: All ages
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Description: Don’t miss an artist at work!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-529-3650

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Event: Touching on Traditions
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: The Elgin Public Museum in Lords Park, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 12:00 Noon to 4:00 p.m.
Description: See displays featuring objects of holiday traditions from around the world (this is a MBTR fave!).
Cost: Adults $2; Kids under 12 $1
Information: Website or 847-741-6655

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 6:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note: Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry (donations appreciated). Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales and zoo opens at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

Lil’ Kickers Winter Open House

Disclosure: This is a sponsored postLILKICK_2015 open house_revised

Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids has done it again…not only do they offer FREE (there’s that word I love) trial classes, high-intensity fun, and skilled coaches, now they have added another dimension to their offerings in Elgin….the Skills Institute! Mommy By The River is super excited to give readers an opportunity to mark calendars for the upcoming Lil’ Kickers Winter Open House taking place at the Intra Sports Complex in Elgin on Saturday, January 3, 2015 (scroll down for complete details). As with all of my favorite “picks,” this event will be included in my Top Picks list for the weekend of January 2-4, 2015, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek so you can plan to attend and maybe bring along some friends too!

pic2As with the previous Lil’ Kickers Open House in September, this event will once again provide kids of all ages an opportunity to sample what the Lil’ Kickers soccer programs are all about through a variety of games and activities. However, at the January Open House, they will now offer Skills Institute classes for soccer enthusiasts who are looking for a more structured program to help him/her improve their skills! I guess you could say there is something for everyone: classes for a child as young as 18-mos. who has never played soccer to classes for a 12-year old child whose passion in life is to be on the soccer field!
And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

kickers_logo_smallerBackground:
If you are not familiar with Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids, it is a nationally renowned, non-competitive child development soccer program founded in 1999 that now serves 650,000 boys and girls nationwide. The Intra Sports Complex in Elgin is one of only a few locations in our immediate area to offer the program. What I love about Lil’ Kickers is that they have developed a program that understands how kids learn best. Through child development professionals, they have created classes that aid children in social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills. From the regular classes that offer kids an opportunity to learn the game of soccer through a highly creative approach (i.e., fun, fun fun) to the Skills Institute classes that offer a more personalized, skills-focused approach, Lil’ Kickers offers a broad range of programming to suit your child perfectly!

Little Kickers IllinoisAbout Skills Institute:
Now before you get all hung up on the word “Institute,” let me explain. Established in 2001, Skills Institute is Lil’ Kickers’ soccer development program for kids age 5 to 12 years old who are looking to take their passion for soccer to a new level.

Developed by USSF A-Level coaches, Skills Institute focuses on improving a child’s soccer skills through a fun, fast-paced learning environment that offers a variety of objectives. These objectives include the following: Technical (passing and receiving the ball, running with the ball, turning, shooting and ball control); Tactical (attacking principle, possession, combination play, defending principles and finishing in the final 3rd); Physical: (acceleration, coordination/balance, agility, perception/awareness and reaction); and Psychosocial: (motivation, self-confidence, cooperation, concentration, respect and discipline).

Since its weekly classes offer an 8:1 student-to-coach ratio, kids receive lots of one on one attention. Through fundamental skill building and competitive drills/games they will develop self-confidence in practice and game situations.

Lil Kickers soccer ElginLil’ Kickers Enrollment:
If you are interested in enrolling your child in Lil’ Kickers’ classes, the Winter Session for all classes is now in progress! Classes are 50 minutes in length and offered on a variety of days and times to suit your schedule. Enrollment is always open so kids can join at any time (classes are pro-rated). BONUS: If you enroll your child in the Winter Session at the upcoming Open House on January 3rd, they will throw in a FREE Lil’ Kickers’ jersey! (new participants only).

Can’t make the Open House?
Never fear. You can always schedule a FREE Trial Class!

Open House Details:
Date: Saturday, January 3, 2015

Event: Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids Open House

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Doors open at 9:45 a.m.). Classes for all ages will run every 20 mins., so arrive at any time! Event ends at 1:00 p.m.

Town: Elgin, IL

Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin

Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 12 yrs. plus parent

DesSkills Institute Lil Kickerscription: Enjoy soccer games and exciting activities. At the event, kids will be separated into three separate age groups: 18 mos. – 3 yrs. (parent participates in class); 3 yrs. – 6 yrs. beginner level (parent watching); 6 yrs. – 8 yrs. intermediate level (parent watching). Skills Institute classes will be separated into two separate age groups: 5 yrs. – 8 yrs. And 9 yrs. To 12 yrs. (parent watching). Please note that these age groups are specific to the Open House. If your child enrolls in the Winter Session, there are a total of seven (7) groups, separated by age for the regular classes and three (3) groups for Skills Institute.

Cost: FREE

Information: Lilkickersintra.com, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com

Special Note: You may register in advance for this event or register on-site when you come to the event. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Photos courtesy of Lil’ Kickers –  Elgin, IL

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Top Picks: December 12 – 14, 2014

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Martinez_top_picks_revisedHello to my faithful readers! Can you believe that Christmas is just 2 weeks away? I am happy to report that I am officially done with my Christmas shopping and my cards are ready to be mailed. However, our artificial tree is still ummmm….naked, shall we say? I did manage to fluff out the branches, but I have not yet decorated it yet. I plan to get it done this weekend!

And speaking of this weekend…In my Top Picks for December 12-14, enjoy science, a movie, ice skating, holiday lights, Santa, reindeer, a traditional Mexican celebration, soccer, LEGO trains, a Winter Fest and a bird feeder craft. Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP! And if they ask who sent you…tell them ‘The Mommy’ did!

DISCLAIMER: Although I am careful to report accurate dates and times as they are provided, I realize that sometimes I receive inaccurate information, events may be cancelled or I simply make a boo boo. I strongly encourage you to confirm the information before heading out and/or to click the link that is provided for each activity to check the details.

FRIDAY
Friday, December 12, 2014

Event: Science Magic Science Night
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: The Elgin Public Museum in Lords Park, 225 Grand Blvd., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a variety of hands-on, science activity stations that will be set up around the museum.
Cost: $2 per person
Information: Website or 847-741-6655

Friday, December 12, 2014 (*repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Toons! The Adventures of Chuck & Friends (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Friday, December 12, 2014  (*repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Friday, December 12, 2014 (*event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry. Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales begin at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***
{sponsored post}
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities. Note that the Open House event (see adjacent ad) takes place on January 3rd with complete details forthcoming.

Saturday, December 13, 2014StCBT_ALL_2014_JSReindeerVisitBlog_WebAD
{sponsored post}
Event: Visit Santa & His Reindeer*
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Elgin State Bank, 1001 S. Randall Rd., Elgin (also Geneva Bank & Trust and St. Charles Bank & Trust–see Special Note below)
Age: All ages
Time: 9:00 a.m. to Noon
Description: Santa’s reindeer will be stopping by the bank for a special visit! Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and juice while you make a special holiday craft. Kids, don’t forget to bring your lists, because Santa will also be on hand to take your holiday gift requests!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-888-7950
*Special Note: Geneva Bank & Trust, 514 W. State St., Geneva and St. Charles Bank & Trust, 411 W. Main St., St. Charles will also host this event with reindeer only (not Santa). Don’t forget your camera!

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Event: Christmas Posada
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Description: Bring your family to enjoy crafts, candy, stories, Mexican punch, and traditional Christmas carols in Spanish
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-742-2411

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Event: Breakfast with SantaFOSS_PNG_300x250_WEB_Ad
Town: Marengo, IL
Where: Marengo Park District, 825 Indian Oaks Trail, Marengo
Age: All ages
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a light continental breakfast, coloring contest and a  photo with Santa
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 815-568-5126

Saturday, December 13, 2014 (*repeats Sun.)
Event: LEGO Train Show
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cantigny Park (Visitors Center), 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a LEGO wonderland!
Cost: $5 vehicle parking fee only
Information: Website or 630-260-8162
Special Note:  Cantigny will waive the parking fee if you bring a new, unwrapped toy donation for the Marine Toys for Tots drop boxes inside the Visitors Center. Also, stop by the Robert R. McCormick Museum where seven (7) Christmas trees are on display, each decorated with a different theme.

Saturday, December 13, 2014  (*repeats Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Event: Santa’s Craft Corner
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a visit with Santa, make a craft, and enjoy refreshments!
Cost: $5/family suggested donation; $3 per printed photo with Santa
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: The Festival of Lights begins at 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Stay for the lights!

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Event: Winter Fest
Town: Hoffman Estates, IL
Where: Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club, 1400 Poplar Creek Drive, Hoffman Estates
Age: All ages
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Description: Crafts, gingerbread decorating, fun in the snow (if we have it) and sleigh rides
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-285-5432

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Event: Eat Like A Bird
Town: Barrington, IL
Where: Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road, Barrington
Age: All ages
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Description: Make a bird feeder and learn about winter birds
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-381-6592

SUNDAY
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Event: LEGO Train Show 
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cantigny Park (Visitors Center), 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a LEGO wonderland!
Cost: $5 vehicle parking fee only
Information: Website or 630-260-8162
Special Note:  Cantigny will waive the parking fee is you bring a new, unwrapped toy donation for the Marine Toys for Tots drop boxes inside the Visitors Center. Also, stop by the Robert R. McCormick Museum where seven (7) Christmas trees are on display, each decorated with a different theme.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Top Picks December 5 – 7, 2014

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Martinez_top_picksHappy December! I hope your month is starting out well and that you make time for some fun this weekend amidst shopping for gifts for those you love! A big thank you to reader mom Diana M., who sent in a photo of her kids Daniel (9), Isabel (7) and Sophia (5)  who are my Top Picks models for the month of December!  Please forward your favorite Winter-themed kid photos to me at editor@mommybytheriver.com. Who knows…you may end up being my Top Picks models in the near future!

In my Top Picks this weekend, enjoy many holiday-themed festivities, crafts, a tea, movies, soccer, Santa, police department fun and ice skating. Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP!

And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

FRIDAY
Friday, December 5, 2014 
(*repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Dickens in Dundee
Town: East and West Dundee, IL
Where: Throughout. Please see web site for complete details
Age: All ages
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. today and various times throughout weekend.
Description: Horse-drawn carriage rides; tree lighting; photos with Santa; living windows with the Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol theme; See schedule for more events 
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-551-3800

Friday, December 5, 2014
Event: Christmas Walk/Tree Lighting
Town: Geneva, IL
Where: Throughout Geneva. Please see website for complete details
Age: All ages
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Description: Tree lighting/Arrival of Santa Lucia & Santa Claus (6:00 p.m.) in downtown Geneva (in front of the old courthouse) at South Third Street, between James & Campbell with Santa Lucia (Swedish symbol of the season) arriving in a horse-drawn carriage;  Santa Claus will help light the tree shortly after; roasted chestnuts; strolling carolers, living nativity; ‘live’ windows, candy cane pull and more. See schedule for more events this evening
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-232-6060

Friday, December 5, 2014 (*repeats Sat. & Sun.)StCBT_ALL_2014_JSReindeerVisitBlog_WebAD
Event: The Adventures of Chuck & Friends (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***{sponsored post}
Saturday, December 6, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Event: Accent Kids! Make & Take Art Projects for Kids
Where: Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Ct., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Description: Kids enjoy making holiday crafts. All supplies provided!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-429-2276

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Event: Holiday Tea
Where: Elgin Area Historical Society Museum, 360 Park St., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Description: Holiday treats, punch & tea; listen to a trio of opera singers; see Old Main decorated with holiday exhibits and enjoy ornament making!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-742-4248

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Event: Window Wonderland & Tree Lighting
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Downtown Elgin and Civic Plaza, 150 Dexter Ct., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Noon to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Decorated windows; live reindeer; chestnuts; tree lighting ceremony with Santa arrival; ice skating; and music. See websites below for details.
Cost: FREE
Information: City of Elgin website, Downtown Elgin website
Special Note: City Skate outdoor ice skating rink: *Rink hours – 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times. Please call 847-931-6140 for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Event: Winter Open House
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Elgin Police Department, 151 Douglas Ave., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Noon to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Child fingerprinting, McGruff, tactical response team, facility tours, hot chocolate/cider/coffee, kids photo “selfies,” coloring table
Cost: FREE
Information: City of Elgin website

Saturday, December 6, 2014
Event: Celebrate the Seasons: Holiday Festival
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Rd., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Description: Live reindeer, ice carving demonstrations, children’s craft, music, face painting ($1), sleigh rides ($1), Santa & Mrs. Claus and more!
Cost: $2 per car parking fee only
Information: Website or 630-668-5161

Saturday, December 6, 2014  (*repeats Sun.)
Event: Dickens in Dundee
Town: East and West Dundee, IL
Where: Throughout. Please see website for complete details
Age: All ages
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today
Description: Christmas parade, Santa, petting zoo and more. See schedule for more events.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-551-3800

Saturday, December 6, 2014 (*repeats Sun.)
Event: The Adventures of Chuck & Friends (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SUNDAY
Sunday, December 7, 2014

Event: Skate with Santa
Town: Hoffman Estates, IL
Where: Triphahn Ice Arena, 1685 W. Higgins Rd., Hoffman Estates
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Description: Ice skate with Mr. & Mrs. Claus! Santa will be available for photos after skating, so bring your camera. Cookies and hot chocolate will be provided.
Cost: FREE (free skate rental also!)
Information: Website or 847-885-7500
Special Note: For your safety, please do not bring cameras onto the ice.

Sunday, December 7, 2014
Event: Dickens in Dundee
Town: East and West Dundee, IL
Where: Throughout. Please see web site for complete details
Age: All ages
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. today
Description: Make a Christmas ornament, visit with Santa, refreshments
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-551-3800

Sunday, December 7, 2014
Event: The Adventures of Chuck & Friends (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

 

Host A Kickin’ Birthday Party At PRO Martial Arts

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Opinions are 100% my own.

PMA_Logo_smallerAre you short on time to plan a birthday party? You say you don’t want to deal with cleaning a house, planning activities, and buying food? Are you not even sure you have enough room in your home to host a party? I have a simple solution for you…take the party to PRO Martial Arts! It is a super fun birthday party experience for your child and a stress-free party plan for you!

This past Fall, my son turned 6. Due to a number of family-related issues, we had zero time to plan a celebration. Besides lacking time, I absolutely had no room in my brain to think about one more thing. Although I had never hosted a birthday party outside of our home, this was  definitely the year I was ready to try it.

Now, you have to understand… class2in my career in marketing (a.k.a. my “day job,”) I have had lots of experience in event-planning, so I have had some headaches dealing with different venues and even experienced near catastrophes because important details were left out. However, when I contacted PRO Martial Arts (the Hoffman Estates facility) to book the party, details were very clear and communication was prompt and professional. After booking the date, I received complete details on everything the birthday party would include. Here they are:

Karate Birthday At PRO Martial Arts:rockyfinal
The party is 90 minutes in length: It includes a 30-minute karate lesson, 30 minutes to eat, and 30 minutes for an additional activity (run an obstacle course or watch cartoons on their big screen). PRO Martial provides 4 extra-large pizzas (you choose the toppings); drinks (soda, juice or water); and plates, napkins, cups and plastic cutlery. If you want to bring in a cake/some other form of dessert, and some decorations you are able to do so.

The party package provides for up to 15 kids (but you can pay a little extra per child if you go over that number). Besides two instructors, their mascot, Rocky the Rhino, joins the party to visit with the kids and will take photos with them. At the end of the party, every child receives a certificate for 2 FREE Karate lessons and a FREE karate uniform. The staff at the studio even takes care of set-up, serving the pizza and cleaning up! obstaclefinalParents are asked to complete a waiver when they arrive and are also welcome to stay and watch. If they want to leave and come back at the end of the party that is fine too! Please note that since their classes start at age 3, the majority of the kids in attendance should be age 3 or older.

More details: Since we had a knight theme, we arrived a few minutes early to owenfinaldecorate, set out our goody bags and castle cake. There were hooks for coats, easily accessible bathrooms and as you would imagine, plenty of space for the kids to run around. The highlight of the party was the karate lesson and activity–the kids absolutely loved breaking a board (they all were successful), which Rocky the Rhino signs and they get to keep! They also get to throw some kicks and punches and experience a super fun obstacle course where they jump over and crawl under obstacles!

Not only did they have a blast, but they learned some karate moves and got some great exercise! At the end of the party, each child received a certificate for attending and a guest pass for 2 FREE Karate classes and FREE karate uniform to be redeemed at the studio in the future. Please note that the studio contacts your guests the following week to schedule your FREE classes. Oh and by the way, the four extra-large pizzas provided more than enough food for all of the kids (we had 10) and several of the parents who stayed to watch. We actually brought 2 pizzas home with us! My party planning experience with PRO Martial Arts was free from stress and made my son’s birthday an event to remember!

For complete information and costs on booking a birthday party, pizza party or enrolling your child in lessons, click here to contact the PRO Martial Arts studio most conveniently located to you!

coupon_version3Not ready to do a party, but want to try a Karate class for FREE?
Well, you can…two absolutely FREE classes! Click here to register for your FREE trial today!

Try these locations below or click on the link for more options in the Chicago area.

PRO Martial Arts, 2509 W. Golf Rd., Hoffman Estates, IL – 847-252-4100

PRO Martial Arts, 2422 W. Main St. Unit 4c, St. Charles, IL – 630-584-2340

***Opening January 2015***
PRO Martial Arts, Prairie Shops, 9525 Ackman Rd., Lake in the HIlls, IL 847-802-4170

And if they ask who sent you….tell them The Mommy did!

Top Picks: Nov. 28 – 30, 2014

LKF-Ads-Web-IntraSportsComplex-728x90-web(2)

walsh_kids_blog2A very Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Today, my little family and I will head to downtown Chicago at the (yawn) crack of dawn to enjoy the FREE(ish) McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on beautiful State Street. I say FREE(ish) because yes, the parade itself is FREE, but if you count the $32 parking, then it doesn’t really fit into my FREE & CHEAP category. But sometimes, a splurge like this fantastic parade is totally worth it.

Before I dive in to my “Picks” I want you to know that I am so very thankful for YOU! I’m glad that you find the information on my blog helpful and that you keep returning to see what fun things are available to you in our community! I sincerely wish you a very blessed day with your family!

And now…here are my Top Picks for the weekend of November 28-30, 2014. In my Top Picks this weekend enjoy ice skating, movies, soccer, parades, holiday lights, visits with Santa, and sleigh rides. Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP!

And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

FRIDAY
Friday, November 28, 2014
  (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Friday, November 28, 2014 (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Friday, November 28, 2014
Event: Festival of Lights Parade
Town: Crystal Lake, IL
Where: Downtown Crystal Lake–The parade route includes North Caroline Street, Crystal Lake Avenue, Grant Street, Woodstock Street, and Williams Street.
Age: All ages
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Description: Parade with beautiful, light-decorated floats. Santa arrives at the end of the parade in his horse-drawn sleigh to light the downtown Christmas tree. Then, he will begin visits with children at his house at Brink Street Market.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website

Friday, November 28, 2014 (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry. Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales begin at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

Friday, November 28, 2014
Event: Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Display
Town: Arlington Heights, IL
Where: North School Park, Eastman St. & Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights
Age: All ages
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Description: Enjoy the annual tree lighting with a beautiful holiday display featuring 70,000 lights: a carousel, ice skaters, train, dump truck, interactive sleigh and much more!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-577-3000

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***{sponsored post}
Saturday, November 29, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Event: Holiday Homecoming–Lighting of the Lights
Town: St. Charles, IL
Where: 1st Street Plaza, downtown St. Charles
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Description: Watch Mayor Rogina illuminate the city. Special performance by the St. Charles East and North High Schools’ Chorales. Appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-443-3967

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Event: Holiday Homecoming–Electric Christmas Parade
Town: St. Charles
Where: On Main St., between 6th St. and 4th Avenue, downtown St. Charles
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Description: Beautiful, fully-illuminated parade
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-443-3967

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Event: Holiday Movie, “The Polar Express”
Town: St. Charles
Where: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Description: Watch the movie “The Polar Express” (Rated G, 1 hr. 40 mins)
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-962-7000
Special Note: Seating begins at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Event: Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides
Town: St. Charles
Where: 1st St. Plaza, downtown St. Charles
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Description: Horse-drawn sleigh ride around the downtown
Cost: FREE
Information: Web site or 630-443-3967

Saturday, November 29, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Visits With Santa
Town: St. Charles
Where: 1st St. Plaza, downtown St. Charles
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Drop by Santa’s house for a visit! Bring your list and camera!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-443-3967

Saturday, November 29, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: *Rink hours – Noon to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are Noon to 9:00 p.m. See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  *Rink closed to the public in the morning due to ice skating lessons (Saturday only). Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Saturday, November 29, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry. Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Web site or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales begin at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.) (*this event repeats Sun.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SUNDAY
Sunday, November 30, 2014

Event: City Skate outdoor ice skating
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Civic Center Plaza between the Hemmens Cultural Center and City Hall, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: Rink hours – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Warming shelter hours are 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., See special note below for more info. on times.
Description: Ice skating
Cost: FREE or $4 per person for skate rental (must bring I.D. and exchange shoes)
Information: Website or 847-931-6140
Special Note:  If you don’t need to rent ice skates, you can start skating at 9:00 a.m., but there will be no warming shelter available until posted hours. Please call phone number above for daily update on ice conditions and most current schedule. No hockey playing is allowed, which includes skating with a hockey stick.

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Event: Festival of Lights and Tree Sales
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy Cosley Zoo decorated for the holidays with over 20,000 twinkling lights and special displays. Visit the animals and purchase hot chocolate, trees, wreaths and holiday gifts.
Cost: FREE entry. Fee for concessions, trees, etc.
Information: Website or 630-665-5534
Special Note: Tree sales begin at 9:00 a.m., but the lights begin at 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Event: Visits With Santa
Town: St. Charles
Where: 1st St. Plaza, downtown St. Charles
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Drop by Santa’s house for a visit! Bring your list and camera!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-443-3967

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Top Picks: Nov. 21 – 23, 2014

LKF-Ads-Web-IntraSportsComplex-728x90-web(2)walsh_kids_blog2Hello to all of my faithful readers and the new ones who are visiting my blog for the first time. I’m so glad you are here! Welcome to my Top Picks for the weekend of November 21-23, 2014. Historically, this weekend has offered a “sparser” line-up as far as events. However, the holiday festivities will be going full tilt Black Friday weekend, so be sure to check in with me after Thanksgiving for a very full listing!

In my Top Picks this weekend enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, reading activities, and planting seeds in a prairie, as well as soccer, swimming and movies! Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP!

And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

FRIDAY
Friday, November 21, 2014
Event: Tot Time Swimming
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Adventure Island Pool at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
Age: Children from birth thru 5 years with adult
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Description: Adult swims with their kids in the Adventure Island leisure pool
Cost: $3 (resident) or $4 (non-resident) per child. Adult is FREE.
Information: Website or 847-531-7030
Special Note: If you like this event, you may opt to purchase the Passport 2Play punch pass. More information on this program may be found on the website.

Friday, November 21, 2014 (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***
{sponsored post}
Saturday, November 22, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Horse Drawn Wagon Rides
Town: Schaumburg, IL
Where: Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley, 201 S. Plum Grove Rd., Schaumburg
Age: All ages
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a 15-minute wagon ride around the grounds. Tickets are sold 15-minutes prior to the first ride of the day and until 15-minutes prior to the last ride of the day.
Cost: $3 per person admission. Children 3 and under are FREE.
Information: Website or 847-985-2100
Special Note: Rides begin/end next to the Farm Visitor Center. Wagon holds a maximum of 15 passengers. Please note that rides may be cancelled due to inclement weather. Call for most updated ride information.

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Event: Discovery Weekend Family Events at Barnes & Noble
Town: West Dundee, IL
Where: Barnes & Noble Spring Hill Mall, 1468 Springhill Mall Blvd., West Dundee
Age: Ages 4+ (see description)
Time: 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Description: 11:00 a.m. – Learn to Draw Like Mo Willems – Storytime & Activity. Kids age 4+ will enjoy the storytime book, “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus,” then learn how to drawn the Pigeon! 1:00 p.m.- Puppet Making & Holiday Sing-Along. Kids age 4+ will create a puppet and sing along with their puppet friends!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-426-5614

Saturday, November 22, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SUNDAY
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Event: Prairie Planting
Town: Barrington
Where: Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington
Age: All ages
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Description: Sow seeds in a prairie.
Cost: $3 per person admission. Children 3 and under are FREE.
Information: Website or 847-381-6592
Special Note: Dress for the outdoors. Sturdy shoes also encouraged!

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Event: Discovery Weekend Family Events at Barnes & Noble
Town: West Dundee, IL
Where: Barnes & Noble Spring Hill Mall, 1468 Springhill Mall Blvd., West Dundee
Age: Ages 4+ (see description)
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Description: Snowmen at Night – Storytime, Crafts & Activities. Read this fun winter tale, then create a snowman to bring home!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-426-5614

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Event: Horse Drawn Wagon Rides
Town: Schaumburg, IL
Where: Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley, 201 S. Plum Grove Rd., Schaumburg
Age: All ages
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy a 15-minute wagon ride around the grounds. Tickets are sold 15-minutes prior to the first ride of the day and until 15-minutes prior to the last ride of the day.
Cost: $3 per person admission. Children 3 and under are FREE.
Information: Website or 847-985-2100
Special Note: Rides begin/end next to the Farm Visitor Center. Wagon holds a maximum of 15 passengers. Please note that rides may be cancelled due to inclement weather. Call for most updated ride information.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Top Picks: Nov. 14 – 16, 2014

LKF-Ads-Web-IntraSportsComplex-728x90-web(2)

walsh_kids_blog2Um brrrrrrrr……If this weather is any indication of what is coming over our long winter (and this is still considered autumn!), then let’s hope I can find a lot of fun indoor events for you in the upcoming months! Welcome to my Top Picks for the weekend of November 14-16, 2014.

In my Top Picks this weekend enjoy weather science, a model train exhibit, an interactive music event, learning about mammals, and an outdoor “almost winter” festival, as well as soccer, swimming and movies! Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP!

And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

FRIDAY
Friday, November 14, 2014
Event: Tot Time Swimming
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Adventure Island Pool at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
Age: Children from birth thru 5 years with adult
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Description: Adult swims with their kids in the Adventure Island leisure pool
Cost: $3 (resident) or $4 (non-resident) per child. Adult is FREE.
Information: Website or 847-531-7030
Special Note: If you like this event, you may opt to purchase the Passport 2Play punch pass. More information on this program may be found on the website.

Friday, November 14, 2014 (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Friday, November 14, 2014
Event: Weather Science Night
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Elgin Public Museum, 225 Grand Boulevard, Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Description: Enjoy an interactive study of the skies and atmosphere. Learn about rain, snow and extreme weather events through hands-on activities throughout the museum.
Cost: $2 per person.
Information: Website or 847-741-6655

SATURDAY
***FEATURED EVENT***
{sponsored post}
Saturday, November 15, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available by age group.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: Call or click here to register for a free trial class. You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Event: An Almost Winter Day
Town: South Elgin, IL
Where: County Park, 11 W. Plum St., South Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Description: Horse-drawn sleigh rides, petting zoo, children’s activities, cookie decorating (limited supplies), s’mores making, bonfire, pony rides ($2 per ride), letters to Santa ($2 per letter), concessions, Santa (4:30 p.m. arrival), tree lighting (5:00 p.m.).
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-742-5780

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Event: Model Train Exhibit
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton
Age: All ages
Time: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Description: See over 2,000-ft of track in this model train exhibit that operates on a loop the 3rd and fifth Saturday each month.
Cost: FREE–donations welcome!
Information: Website or 630-210-4941

Saturday, November 15, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SUNDAY
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Event: Keys 4 Kids Interactive Music Program
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St., Elgin (The Professional Building, downtown Elgin, 8th Floor)
Age: Kids age 5+ with adult (feel free to drop your kids off if they are age 6 or older)
Time: 2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Description: Pianist Brooke Hage hosts this musical event with sing-alongs, games like musical chairs, the opportunity to create music-inspired artwork, free style dance, a raffle and snacks!
Cost: $5 suggested donation per person
Information: Facebook, 224-829-9631 (see special note) or bhagestudio@gmail.com
Special Note: An RSVP that you will attend is preferred. Call or text to phone number above. Street parking available.

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Event: Mammals: Ice Age to Late 1800s
Town: Barrington, IL
Where: Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington
Age: All ages
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Description: Learn about caribou, mammoths, bears and horses–mammals who have called Illinois home through the ages
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-381-6592

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Lia Sophia® Jewelry Giveaway Winner

Mommy By The River is proud to announce the WINNER of the “Mommy Wants Some Bling” Great Jewelry Giveaway 2014. The winner will enjoy a piece of jewelry–her choice–up to a $170 value from the Fall/Winter 2014 Jewelry Catalog.

Congratulations to: Rachel McCabe!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. There were 74 entries and the winner was drawn at random with the help of random.org via Rafflecopter.

So you didn’t win? Well, you can enjoy some beautiful Lia Sophia® Jewelry by ordering something you like or even hosting a party with reader mom and Lia Sophia® consultant, Kim Montag! Click HERE for more information. And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

Disclosure: Mommy By The River was compensated for this giveaway.

Top Picks: November 7 – 9, 2014

LKF-Ads-Web-IntraSportsComplex-728x90-web(2)

walsh_kids_blog2Hello and welcome to my Top Picks for the weekend of November 7-9, 2014. With October behind us, my mind is already focused on the holidays. Can you believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas (and other holidays) are just around the corner?

And don’t you want to look your best when you are all dressed up for one of those special parties or church gatherings you will be attending? Then be sure to enter the Mommy Needs Some Bling – Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest. You can enter to win a piece of Lia Sophia® jewelry valued up to $170–and you get to pick the piece! Talk about fun! Make sure to click HERE for all of the details. You only have until this Saturday, November 8th to enter to win. So do it, now! {sponsored post}

A big thank you to reader mom Michelle W., who sent in a photo of her kids Leah (4) and Shelby (6), who are my Top Picks models for the month of November!  Please continue to forward Fall/Winter/Holiday photos to editor@mommybytheriver.com. I would love to see some family photos (that includes mom and dad too)–and I know many of you are taking them for Christmas cards, so feel free to send them my way too! Who knows, you may end up being my Top Picks models in the near future!

In my Top Picks this weekend enjoy an introduction to lacrosse with Playtime Lacrosse, a kid movie, swimming, soccer, a holiday kickoff event, a nature hike/story, and a farm experience!  Best of all, the events listed are all FREE or CHEAP! And if they ask who sent you…tell them The Mommy did!

FRIDAY
Friday, November 7, 2014 (*this event repeats Sat. & Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

Friday, November 7, 2014
Event: Tot Time Swimming
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Adventure Island Pool at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
Age: Children from birth thru 5 years with adult
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Description: Adult swims with their kids in the Adventure Island leisure pool
Cost: $3 (resident) or $4 (non-resident) per child. Adult is FREE.
Information: Website or 847-531-7030
Special Note: If you like this event, you may opt to purchase the Passport 2Play punch pass. More information on this program may be found on the website.

SATURDAY10.21_Mommy_300x250
***FEATURED EVENT***
{sponsored post}
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Event: Intro to Lacrosse
Class with Playtime Lacrosse

Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 3.5-yrs. to 8-yrs. old with parent
Time:12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Description: Try out lacrosse and learn why this is the fasting growing sport in America! This introduction to lacrosse class is perfect for kids who have either never played before or have minimal lacrosse experience. They will learn proper hold/grip of a stick; cradle, scoop, catch & throw; shooting form and technique; dodging and stick protection; hand-eye-foot coordination; and sportsmanship. Don’t miss it!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 630-220-0329
Special Note: You must register prior to attending the event. Parent will need to complete a waiver form on-site. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for lacrosse activities. All equipment will be provided!

***FEATURED EVENT***{sponsored post}
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Event: Free trial class at Lil’ Kickers Soccer For Kids
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Intra Sports Complex, 37W950 Mason Rd., Elgin
Age: Kids age 18 mos. through 9 years old with parent
Time: Different soccer classes available between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon for all age groups specified. Call or click here to register for a free trial class. Class is 50 mins. in length.
Description: Try out a soccer class. Several different classes available for different ages.
Cost: FREE
Information: Website, 847-488-0088 or lilkickers@intrasportscomplex.com
Special Note: You may register in advance for this event or register on-site. You will need to complete a waiver form. Please make sure your child wears comfortable clothes and sneakers for soccer activities.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Event: Elgin Home For the Holidays Kickoff
Town: Elgin, IL
Where: Gail Borden Public Library, 270 North Grove Ave., Elgin
Age: All ages
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: Live entertainment, holiday photo booth, bilingual storytime with Mrs. Claus, free carriage rides outside (1:30-3:30 p.m.), kids’ crafts, see the Ecker Center Festival of Trees and more!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 847-742-2411

Saturday, November 8, 2014 (*this event repeats Sun.)
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.

SUNDAY
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Event: “From Hog House to Smokehouse”
Town: Schaumburg, IL
Where: Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg
Age: All ages
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Description: All things pork! Find out where bacon comes from, make sausage, smoke hams and more! Plus, children’s activities and a wagon shuttle from the Nature Center to the Heritage Farm. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
Cost: $3 per person or $12 per family of 6 or fewer with each additional member $3 each; Kids age 3 and under are FREE
Information: Website or 847-985-2100

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Event: Children’s Story Time: “When Winter Comes” by Nancy Van Laan
Town: Crystal Lake, IL
Where: Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Rd., Room #210, Crystal Lake
Age: All ages
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Description: Listen to a story, take a hike and then make a craft based on the story!
Cost: FREE
Information: Website or 815-479-5779

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Event: Berenstain Bears (Rated G, 60 mins.)
Town: Wheaton, IL
Where: Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton
Age: See rating
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a movie theater with ultra comfy seating and the option to order food!
Cost: $2 per person admission
Information: Website or 630-480-9557
Special Note: Please make sure to do your own internet research on the movie to make sure it is appropriate for your youngsters.