Our Summer To-Do List 2014

Mama of 3 Tartlets:

Just added some summer fun photos to our wholesome activity list!

Originally posted on My 3 Tartlets:

The school year comes to an end this week. Maybe it was the long winter, or the fact that I’m nearing 40 and feel time slipping away, but I am really looking forward to hanging with my kiddos this summer! Time is flying and in the fall we will have a middle schooler, grade schooler and preschooler! With such a wide age gap (8 years from oldest to youngest), it’s hard to find activities that will interest everyone over the summer – and NOT break the bank!

I’m not one to over schedule, I’m the anti-scheduler, that’s why our list is on the wholesome side of things versus the “gotta plan! gotta schedule! gotta go-go-go!” In fact, most of the activities are ones that kiddos can do independently of this mama and avoid that dreaded “B” word!

The oldest 2 tartlets brainstormed things they wanted to accomplish this summer –…

View original 153 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday – Frog Farm at Camp Nana & Papa

Frog Farm at Camp Nana & Papa

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Berry Fun to Pick Your Own Berries this Summer!

It’s officially strawberry picking time in Illinois! My kiddos are excited to eat pick the berries at the farm this year! If you live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago – check out these farms with your kiddos! It’s a fun activity with a sweet reward!

Head to the Farm and Pick Some Berries!

I’ve only found a couple of places to pick strawberries and blueberries. If you have places to recommend, I’ll add them!

  • Stade’s Farm and Market – Pick Your Own Strawberries in McHenry is a fun place to take the kiddos for a bit of strawberry picking! After picking up your baskets, hop on the wagon pulled by a tractor and you’ll be in the field in no time! Last I heard, the berries should be ready around June 18 (weather permitting) and will last 3-4 weeks; but check out their website to be sure! There is also the Farmtractions area that is open 10am – 6pm, $6/person (kids 2 and under free). Our family tradition is to pick berries in the morning, and eat a picnic lunch after. I haven’t checked out the Farmtractions area. Berry picking at Stade's Farm
  • McCann Berry Farm – We’ve picked blueberries here, but I hear you can also pick strawberries. They don’t have a webpage, here’s information I’ve found at http://www.pickyourown.org
    18110 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock, IL 60098 , IL 60098. Phone: 815-568-8810. Fax: 815/568-1062. Email:mccannberries@joltmail.com. Open: Strawberries in June; 8 am to 1 pm every day; Blueberries are typically available  from July through mid August; Blueberry picking is on Wednesday and Saturdays only. 8am – 2pm; Call to check on picking conditions. Directions: Take Route 47 N or S to Route 14. Turn NW. to 2nd stop light. Turn Left on Kishwaukee Valley Road 4 miles west of Route 14 ( just past the S curve); 3 miles east of Route 23. Click here for a map to our farm. Crops are usually available in June. Call AHEAD for afternoon picking conditions. Payment: Cash, Check.McCann Blueberry Farm
Posted in Family Life, Ideas for Kiddos | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Northwest Suburban Chicago Activities to do this Summer with Your Kids!

Although it is fun (crazy, chaotic) to pack up my 3 kiddos and drive the van an hour into Chicago for a busy day at the zoo and beach, I would MUCH rather stay locally and explore what the northwest suburbs have to offer. And let me tell you – there is A LOT to do out here!

Want to take the family to a baseball game, but have no time to head to the Friendly Confines? Check out the local farm teams in northwest Chicago! Pack up your car with popcorn and snacks and watch a movie at an outdoor theater, or grab your fishing rod and head to one of the parks or fish farms for an afternoon of fishing!

From splash parks to horses and tanks to art classes – there is so much to do with your kiddos this summer, without breaking the bank!

If you are looking for a family outing in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, here are a few that sparked our interest! They cost a bit, but not a lot (here are a bunch of FREE ideas) and kind of go along with what is on our Summer To-Do List. (If you have ideas you’d like to share – leave us a comment! I’d love to add it to our list!)

For a Fee:

  • Movie and a Cause: On June 12th, hop on over to the Amphitheater in Citizens Park, Barrington to see a family friendly movie outside! For a suggested donation of $5, you and your family can watch Night at the Museum, beginning at dusk. Proceeds from the night will benefit JourneyCare’s Camp Courage, providing summer day camp opportunities to kids who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • Mundelein Park & Recreation Spray Park – At $2 for non-residents – you cannot beat this spray park! Bring your swimsuit, sunscreen, change of clothes and a picnic for hours of fun! The park is open from 10am – 2pm; 2:30 – 6:30 and free 7pm – 8pm.
  • Independence Grove Visitors Center and Forest Preserve in Lake County is full of activities for the family! If you are a Lake County resident, parking is free – for all others it will cost you $5 (Mon – Thursday) and $10 (Friday – Sunday and weekends) – so load up your car with your family and friends. You can rent boats (small fee), paddle boards; go biking (free if you bring your own bike), enjoy free concerts, enjoy catch and release fishing (you can buy a fishing license there) and much, much more!
  • McHenry Outdoor Theater – Get your kiddos in their pjs, pop some popcorn, grab a cooler full of juice boxes and head to the drive-in! Adults are $10 and kids 11 years old and under are $5. They play great movies all summer long! McHenry Outdoor Theater
  • Cantigny Park in Wheaton – For $5/car load, you can explore the Idea Garden, playground, tanks (oh yes, TANKS – you can climb on and explore), paths and more! Borrow a Discovery Backpack (Gone Buggy, Birds of a Feather, Geocaching, In the Garden) or Family Pack (football, frisbees, horseshoes and more). AND – Wednesday’s are Wild for kiddos 3-10 years old; between 1-3pm at the Visitor Center’s backyard for nature theme activities (weather permitting).
  • Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park – Beach and Sprayground: For a small fee (3 years and under – free; ages 4-17 – $6; 18 years + – $9) you can have a full day of fun in the sun! Beach, brand new playground, splash park
     and more! You can fill an entire day at this local beach!
  • Sunday Family Day at Arlington Park – Enjoy a sunny Sunday at the beautiful Arlington Park! Kiddos can enjoy horse rides, face painting, magician, petting zoo and other activities from 1pm – 5pm. Each Sunday – from Memorial Day to Labor Day is sponsored by great organizations such as: Museum of Science and Industry, Santa’s Village, LEGOLAND, Shedd Aquarium and more! You can bring a picnic or buy your lunch there! (Adults – $8; Kids – $2. Though prices do vary) Fun at Arlington Park
  • Are you or your kiddos new to fishing? Head over to Lake Julian Trout Farm for a fun time fishing! The trout pond is a great place to start – bring your poles and bait and go at it! The friendly staff is nearby to give you tips (and will even clean your fish for 70 cents/each) and if you need supplies, the tackle shop can help you out! You’ll be charged $6.50/pound. Want a bigger variety? Try fishing at the Big Lake for a larger variety of fish and a bit more money.
  • JoAnn Fabric and Craft has several options for Kid Camps for ages 8 years and older – from sewing to cake decorating! Check out your nearest JoAnn’s for times and availability!
  • Michael’s – From 10 – 11:30 and for $2 – your kiddo can explore their creativity for 30 minutes, while you shop in the store. Better yet, sign your kids up for Michael’s Passport to Imagination – $2 for 2 hours! Depending on the activity – there are age restrictions and you will need to register in advance.
  • Cinemark Movie Theaters and Regal Theaters have $1 movie days, family friendly movies, usually starting around 10am.
  • Kids Skate Free – Have fun with your kiddos at the roller rink! Dust off your wheels and grab your knee highs for a fun, energy releasing skate-fest!


Baseball with familyTake Me Out to the Ballgame!

There are some great minor league teams in the area where you can catch a game at a pretty reasonable price – and special family days make the trip even more memorable! Be sure to check their calendar’s for kid’s and family days!

Looking for more things to do with your kiddos? Check out these posts!

Free Activities in Northwest suburban Chicago

It’s Berry Fun to Pick Your Own Berries

Our Summer To Do List 2014

Kid Approved Activity – Foam Lightsabers 

Preschool Activity – Tent Time

ThinkFun’s Move and Grove Game

Today’s Preschooler Approved Activity

Up-Cycling for the Band – Preschool Activity

 Don’t forget to like us on Facebook too!

Posted in Family Life, Ideas for Kiddos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FREE Summer Activities in Northwest Suburban Chicago

The sun is shining! The kids are out of school! What are we going to do?!

This is our 2nd summer living in suburban Chicago and we are still searching for great activities to do during the summer with our kiddos. Although we’ve come up with a pretty extensive Summer To-Do List (link your family’s to-do list with us!), there are times this family of 5 wants to leave the house and explore, without breaking the bank!

Chicago offers so many great things to do with the family, but what about the suburbs? I’ve been looking high and low for free or relatively inexpensive activities. Here is a smattering of FREE things you can do in and around the northwest ‘burbs of Chicago! This is by no means everything there is to do and I would LOVE to hear from YOU and add to our list! Please, leave a comment if you know of a place that is free, or relatively inexpensive and will be a hit with the family this summer!

FREE Things to do With Your Kiddos:

  • Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg – Pack a picnic and step back in time at this 1880s German working farm! Discover what living on the farm was like, wash clothes, explore the barnyard animals and MORE! My kiddos loved  getting hands on with some of the exhibits!Volkening Heritage Farm, meeting a cow
  • Crabtree Nature CenterCook County Forest Preserve: Tie up your walking shoes and head over to one of the many trails at Crabtree, spend time at the kids play area – explore, search, climb! Don’t forget to stop in the nature center to see the indoor critters, or ask to borrow binoculars and a Kid’s Adventure Kit!

Crabtree Nature Center

  • Take a playground tour! There are some pretty amazing playgrounds around the area. Head to a different one every week or every couple of days! New playgrounds = new fun, for you AND your kiddos!
  • Cruise Night, Farmer’s Markets – Most towns and villages have special nights that you can enjoy old cars and people watching.
  • Your local library is sure to have a summer reading program with incentives to get your kiddo reading all summer long! Over the summer, children lose valuable reading and comprehension skills – encouraging them (with incentives from your library) is a win – win for all of you!
  • John Deere Pavilion – If you are up for a drive, head to Moline and enjoy the John Deere Pavilion. I hear it is small – but well worth the visit – and it’s FREE! I know my farm loving kiddos and I are heading there this summer and will enjoy the Mississippi River too!


  • Kids Bowl Free – but there’s a catch! Yes, kids bowl free all summer, but you need to register and parents have the option to purchase a Family Pass (so adults can bowl too), Pass prices start at $24.95 and includes 2 games per day for the entire summer. It’s still a great deal, especially if your family loves to bowl!
  • The Home Depot – Kids Workshops: Did you know that The Home Depot offers free workshops for kids on the first Saturday of the month? Check out your local HD for events and be sure to register!

Home Depot Kids Club


  • Pottery Barn Kids has several events over the summer – reading challenges, Super Hero Celebrations and story time, just to name a few! Be sure to check with your local PBK for dates and times.
  • Apple Camp – Do you have a movie maker at home? Kids ages 8 – 12 can take part in iMovie making over a 3 day period. Be sure to sign up with your email address to be notified of when sign up for this class begins!

**Find even MORE ideas and activities on our Facebook page! Like us! **


Do you know of activities for the family that are free? Please share! I’ll include them in our list too! Thank you!!

Posted in Family Life, Ideas for Kiddos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment