Making a Splash

There are some summer activities that the girls may never outgrow. One of those, is playing in splash pads. We did this one a little differently this year. In years past, we have gone to splash pads at playgrounds, specifically at Maggie Daley Playground. The girls love that playground (although, it stresses me out – there are so many entrances and exits to that playground and kids are running everywhere!) but when we went last summer, several of the splash pad areas were under construction. So, this year, we made the decision to just do two locations that we love….even if they aren’t specifically splash pads.

We hit up Crown Fountain in Millennium Park and the Polk Brothers Fountain at Navy Pier.

 

 

The list:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

An Ode To the Front Yard

One of my favorite things about our house is our yard. It’s not massive. But that means that it’s easier to take care of (or rather, it’s easier for Ryan to take care of…he’s the king of the yard…)

This summer, our girls spent way more time in the yard than they ever have. I am always impressed with how creative they can get with their imaginative play while outdoors. Sticks become swords, sure. But sticks also become magic wands, tools for making food, bows, tracks, and landing areas for dragons.

The girls wanted to be sure that they had time to pick dandelions. However, partly because Ryan is the king of the yard, and probably partly because these girls are frequently running back and forth and back and forth and back and forth around the whole yard – we just didn’t have  many dandelions this summer. But, the girls definitely had a lot of fun in the yard.

There were several days in which all that they wanted to do was have a “mud party.” You can see the aftermath of one of those parties in the pic below lol.

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The list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Many museum days

When the girls added “go to the museums” to our summer list, I know that they had planned on hitting up the Chicago museums on the free days. We do those days every summer. However, many of the free days happened while we were on our epic road trip (more on that in a later post). So, although we did go to many museums, we didn’t hit up all of the Chicago museums. And, honestly, that’s ok with me.

Where did we go?

Adler Planetarium

This was the only free day that we went to. It just so happened to be the week before we started our road trip to Florida. The free days are always busy and it can be stressful if you don’t plan out your day. You can read my tips about visiting on free days by clicking here.

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Elmhurst Art Museum

This is a small local museum that we love. It’s small enough that you don’t leave the museum feeling exhausted but there is enough to see that it can be a great afternoon activity. Keep an eye on their website to see what new exhibits are coming in and when they’re coming.

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The Art Institute of Chicago

Yes, this one was it’s own item on the list. And I already crossed it off. But, I’m listing it again because we just love this museum. 🙂

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  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Bowling and Lunch

I am definitely far behind on my posts so I’m going to try over the next several days to get caught up. Summer is almost over….and we’ve actually gotten most of our summer list done.

Bowling!

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The girls love bowlling! I enjoy it as well and it’s even better if you can eat food during the game that perhaps isn’t traditional bowling alley food.

We enjoy going to Pinstripes for bowling and it’s a great deal during the week. From 11:00am-1:00pm kids can bowl for $3 and a $3 shoe rental. And parents can bowl for free! Plus, you can order from their menu which is definitely a step above regular bowling alley food.

Do your kids love to bowl? Where is your favorite spot to bowl?

Our list thus far –

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Movies Under the Stars

We love seeing movies outdoors! Luckily for us, we are very close to a weekly option for outdoor movies during the summer!

For several Wednesdays during the summer, Oakbrook Center hosts movie screenings on their Lawn.

The movies take place rain or shine. Although, there are people who will just prop up an umbrella and hang out in their rain jacket or poncho, I am not those people. Lol. So, we’ve planned on going to two of the movies this summer and have only been able to go to one. We’re hoping that the rain cooperates so that we can see Incredibles 2 tomorrow night!

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We usually stop upstairs to pick up food from the food court before claiming our spots on the Lawn. (Pie Five for the girls. Cilantro Taco Grill for me.)

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

 

Fireworks! And more fireworks!

There are many options for you if your goal is to see fireworks. During the summer, every Wednesday and Saturday, you can see fireworks at Navy Pier.

If you wanted to, you could see fireworks on the 3rd, the 4th, and later. There were even fireworks last night! (We could hear them from our living room.) However, this post is going to be about fireworks on the 4th. There are so many great places in the suburbs to see fireworks on the 4th of July!

Some tips for seeing fireworks on the 4th:

  • Do your research. Is it a super popular spot? Do people start picking spots early in the day? When are streets closed down? Where are the best viewing areas?
  • Bring food! Bring snacks and/or dinner because honestly, it’s hard to figure out when the start time will actually be for the fireworks. “Dusk” means a lot of different times depending on who is in charge. In addition, if weather is questionable, the fireworks might start earlier or later for safety.
  • Stock up on “things that glow.” I buy glow bracelets and necklaces from the Target Dollar Spot whenever they are available. This year, I was also able to snag glow headbands!
  • Be prepared for the weather. Check the forecast repeatedly and be ready to leave if there’s thunder/lightning.
  • Bring bug spray. Many places will actually spray for mosquitoes in the days leading up to the 4th but you want to be prepared.
  • Have fun! Fireworks are magical and watching them with kids? Even more magical!

 

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Go Take a Hike

Even when it’s super hot (it was really hot today), you can usually find us outside at some point each day during the summer. It’s very important to me that we get outside as much as possible when the weather is good (not storming). And even though this week has been quite warm, the girls and I have gone on several walks in the woods.

The Forest Preserves of Dupage County are an excellent resource for us. There are frequently activities at the many education centers/farms/forests. And there are many opportunities to just get outside.

This week, we went to two of our favorites: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center and Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out these locations. At Fullersburg, you can borrow a backpack of exploration tools to help in your nature exploration. We borrowed magnifying glasses, binoculars, and plant identification cards.

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At Willowbrook, you can witness their work first hand. They take in sick and injured wild animals, they treat those animals, and then release them back into a forest preserve. If an injury or illness can not be fixed, that animal may become a permanent resident of Willowbrook. You can see many of their residents indoors and outdoors.

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Our summer list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

The Summer of Legos

We recently went to Morton Arboretum to check out the Lego exhibit. Well, guess what? Brookfield Zoo also has Legos this summer! There are several life-size and several larger-than-life animal sculptures on display right now. They are very cool and definitely worth the trip to check them out!

There were so many different animals. And, like the exhibit at the Arboretum, each sculpture has a sign nearby that tells you how many bricks were used and how long it took to build. This exhibit also tells you how much the finished sculpture weighs. It was fun to guess how many bricks were used or how long it took to build and then checking the actual numbers on the sign.

This exhibit is an extra cost but it’s worth checking out!

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

So Many Legos!

Last week, we went to Morton Arboretum with the goal of seeing the new exhibit Nature Connects. This exhibit is full of fun sculptures made from Legos. So many Legos! Each sculpture has a sign that lets you know how many Lego bricks were used and how many hours it took to build each one. The numbers are pretty astonishing. So many Legos. So many hours!

It’s a very cool exhibit and is perfect for a lovely (and pretty short) walk outdoors. Plus, after you see the Legos, you can go on a hike or explore the children’s garden!

Our summer list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling. Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Summer List 2019!

It’s finally here! Summer vacation! And as usual, we have a bucket list of things to accomplish throughout the summer.

Follow along as we try to have the best summer ever!

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling. Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Now….some of these things we will definitely do several times throughout the summer. And some of them are on the list specifically because we already know that we are doing them (Disney World).

What’s on your list?