Huntley, IL: Deicke Park is Worth the Drive

One of my favorite things to do with my son is to visit lots of local (and even some not-so-local) parks.  It’s the best way for him to burn off some pent-up energy…and it doesn’t cost me a dime.  I’ve been trying to keep my spending in check so we’ve been visiting a lot more free venues and activities for kids.  Just because you don’t have a lot of money to spend doesn’t mean your kids need to stay cooped up in the house, ya know?

Deicke Park Sign

We have visited so many parks in the far northwest and west suburbs and I won’t review them all here, just the ones that we think are extra, extra cool…like Deicke Park in Huntley, Illinois.  It’s one of our favorites, and has a fantastic toddler area, Discovery Zone, for smaller kids.  The entire perimeter of the Discovery Zone area is secured by a black iron fence with only two entrances – so you can rest easier knowing your kids can’t just run right out of the park.  Not to say they shouldn’t be supervised, just a perk of not having to watch them like a hawk either.  A restroom is located just outside of the Discovery Zone area.  Definitely not one to miss if you’re in the area.

Deicke Park Discovery Zone

Here are some of the things you can expect to find in the Discovery Zone.  The first thing my son was drawn to was the GIANT red fire truck to climb on with a couple of slides.  There’s even a panel on the truck that lists 5 rules of fire safety!

Deicke Park Firetruck

Deicke Park has a really large sand area too – one that even has a water element (shown in the photo above).  Fun times for the kids, but I’d bring extra shoes and a change of clothes because things can get very messy in this area.

Deicke Park Sand Area

The music area at Deicke Park is pretty impressive.  If you stomp on the musical notes (inside the red stars) you’ll hear music!  Bring your own chalk if you want to write on the large chalk walk located just on the other side of the music section.

Deicke Park Music Overview

Playing on the percussion instruments is really fun too.

Deicke Park Music

A favorite at this park amongst lots of kids is the railroad crossing sign.  When kids push the red button, the bells start to ring just like the real railroad crossing signs (loudly, I might add).

Deicke Park Railroad Crossing

The schoolhouse area is perfect for little climbers.  The bus actually rocks, there are tunnels to climb through, small rock walls to conquer, and lots of slides.

Deicke Park Schoolhouse

My son’s favorite?  The one he calls the “cylinder” slide!

Deicke Park Cylinder Slide

The basketball area in the Discovery Zone is really cool.  The park has a full-sized court too, but the one here has baskets in varying heights, and cool backboards to “help” the kids score a basket.  Bring your own balls to make sure your kids can play in this area – my toddler loved it!

Deicke Park Basketball

The last time we visited Deicke Park, my son and I decided to take a little walk to see what else this great park had to offer.  One of our favorite finds was the long metal slide.  Kids climb up the steps and take a long, fast ride down the slide.  Some kids were even using their jackets as a sack to get down even faster!

Deicke Park Long Slide

The Discovery Zone isn’t the only playground here either.  There’s another area for slightly older kids with lots of taller slides.

Deicke Park Playground Slides

The climbing wall at the other playground area was pretty cool too – and longer than any at any other park we’ve been to.

Deicke Park Climbing Wall

The other playground also has a smaller are if you have younger kids in tow.

Deicke Park Smaller Playground

Some of the other amenities at Deicke Park include jogging paths, a baseball diamond, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, four picnic shelters, and an over-sized pond.  Deicke Park is part of the Huntley Park District, and is located at 11419 South Route 47 in Huntley, IL.

So tell me?  Wouldn’t your kids love to play at Deicke Park?


Chicagoland Spots: Go Bananas {Coupon}

Go Bananas in Norridge, IL offers Chicagoland’s most affordable, safe, clean, indoor family fun. Ride on 6 kid-sized rides. Climb on a four-level climbing maze. Win prize tickets redeemable for great toys. Enjoy fresh, hot pizza, wings and much more! And, of course, experience KIDS FAVORITE BIRTHDAY PARTIES in a huge party room, or request a private party room. Admission is always free and parents ride for free with their kids.

Make sure to also take advantage of these great savings by printing a Go Bananas coupon for 200 Game Tokens for only $30 (Valid Any Time) PLUS a Large one topping Pizza and Pitcher of Pop only $10.99 (Valid Monday through Friday).

This is an exclusive offer brought to you by WindyCityKidsGuide!

Chicagoland Spots: Exploration Station Exclusive Coupon

Here’s another local spot to take the kiddies to:

Exploration Station…a children’s museum.


Come Explore 10,000 square feet of hands on learning. Fix a tire in our Wreck Resort Auto Center, serve a sundae in the Lickety Split Soda Shop, shop for groceries in our Shop-a-Lot Market, and set the table in My House. Children and parents can get lost in imagination and time in our 2 story Castle. For our younger visitors they can explore and climb in our New Little Squires Toddler area for ages 2 years and under. Don’t forget to take to the sky in the Exploration Station Airliner, and dig for Dinosaurs in Dino Tracks. Our Museum is known for creating an environment where children get lost in imagination. Come Join us and experience it for yourself. Admission: $6

Got Cabin Fever! Get out of the house and explore in the Exploration Station…a children’s museum. My readers can save $1 off Admission with this exclusive coupon!

Exploration Station is located at 459 Kennedy Drive in Bourbonnais as part of the Bourbonnais Township Park District.

I plan on heading there too so I’ll be sure to post a review on what I find. :)

This is an exclusive offer brought to you by WindyCityKidsGuide!

Give the Gift of Children’s Art

Looking for a fun gift for a child (ages 2+) that will get their creative juices flowing?  I can’t wait to try a Kelly Kit!

Kelly Kits encourage art play using a wide variety of creative tools & materials beyond what coloring books can offer and are the perfect holiday gift for your creative kiddo!  For 72 hours only Kelly Kits is having a site wide sale where all products are 10% off!  Get your favorite little artist a year’s worth of art kits or a special gift pack with 5 activities that explore the five discipline of art:  Drawing, Painting, Print Making, Collage & Sculpting!

This year, give the gift of a children’s art kit! For a limited time only: Get 10% off Kelly Kits Art Kits for 72 hours only Nov. 23-25! Use Promo Code: HOLIDAY10

Christmas is only a few weeks away…don’t wait to get this great deal!

Chicagoland Spots: Kohl Children’s Museum

Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Boulevard
Glenview, IL


The Wonderful World of Oz on Exhibit: Now – January 6, 2013


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz exhibit features larger than life pop-up books that dazzle the eyes and stimulates the mind. Each section of this exhibit, based on the book published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, is an oversized three-dimensional page from the original story. Experience science, art and history through the magic of this timeless story and instill a love of reading and storytelling in young children.

My readers receive $1 Off Child admission with this coupon.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was developed by the Great Explorations Children’s Museum.

Disclosure: I will receive free admission to the Kohl Children’s Museum.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Chicagoland Spots: Purple Monkey Playroom

Chicagoland Moms:  Here’s a fun Halloween activity for the kids on October 27th!  Another great kid-friendly activity:

Purple Monkey Playroom!

The Purple Monkey Playroom is located at 2040 N. Western Avenue in Chicago (near the intersection of Armitage & Western).  Join Purple Monkey Playroom on Oct 27th for a fun, festive halloween-themed celebration tailored-made for toddlers and preschoolers. Space is limited so make sure to register or get more information on the Not-At-All Spooky Halloween Party today.

Purple Monkey Playroom is a bright, nurturing destination for young children, parents and caregivers nestled in the heart of Bucktown.  As the venue and the entertainment all rolled into one inviting play space, Purple Monkey Playroom makes planning your child’s birthday as easy as walking through the door. Our playroom can comfortably seat up to 30 guests, and can accommodate a total of 50 celebrants. We welcome any outside food, drink and decoration and can also help coordinate any “extras” in which you might be interested.

Right now you can Save $4 off Drop In Plus $100 on Parties at the Purple Monkey Playroom plus other great deals!

I am loving all the fun, kid-friendly things to do in Chicagoland!  How about you?  Have you been to Purple Monkey Playroom?  Did’ya like it?

Disclosure:  I will be given complimentary admission to Purple Monkey Playroom in exchange for this post thanks to Windy City Kids Guide.


Chicagoland Spots: Nibbles Play Cafe

Hey Chicagoland Moms!  I found another great activity to do with your little ones!!!

Nibbles Play Café!

Nibbles Play Café is located at 13 Huntington Lane in Wheeling, IL (near the intersection of Dundee Road and Huntington Lane).  Nibbles Play Café is a fusion of an indoor play center and family-friendly restaurant. It’s a place where moms connect with other moms over coffee, lunch and more while their children enjoy a great play experience. They have a variety of play areas for children 0 to 7 years of age including dress up, train table, an arts and crafts area, a baby area, and more!  Check their website calendar for daily activities, special dinner events, brunches, and kids programs.  Nibbles Play Café is great for playdates, a rainy day activity, birthday parties and other special family occasions.  They also have FREE WiFi.

Daily admission for children between ages of 1-7 is $7.50 for 1st child; $3.75 for additional siblings. Group rates are available.

But for the awesome readers of Thoughts from Her, I have a coupon for One FREE Admission with $10 Food Purchase at Nibbles Play Café!  How awesome is that?!?!  If you head out there, be sure to let me know how you liked it!

Disclosure:  I will be given complimentary admission to Nibbles Play Café in exchange for this post thanks to Windy City Kids Guide.

Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove #Review


Last night I took my mom and son to see the newest Disney on Ice production of Treasure Trove (the husband opted to stay home to catch the Bears/Packers game – Bears lost, BTW…surprise, surprise *ahem*).  I was a little bit apprehensive to take my not-quite-two-year-old to an arena show that I knew would be loud and super-crowded.  Too add to that, it was a cold, gloomy, and rainy night in Chicago and I really was not looking forward to driving all the way to the Allstate Arena only to have to turn around and come right back if my little guy started throwing a tantrum (oh yes, he has those!).  But, while extremely nervous about the prospect of having to turn the car around, in the car we went and took the trek to the Allstate Arena.  I figured that we’d never know how he was gonna act if we never took him in the first place, right?!?!

With his favorite person in the whole wide world: GRAM!!!

We arrived at the arena a few minutes after it started (traffic was horrendous!) and I heard Mickey Mouse’s voice as we walked towards our gate.  Evidently so did my son because you could see him start to look around, probably wondering “Where’s Mickey?”.  We get to our seats just as Mickey and the gang skated off…dang.  At that point I was crossing my fingers that they would return since I promised the boy that he’d get to see Mickey!  Once we were settled in our seats…

The.  Boy.  Was.  Mesmerized.

He didn’t miss a single second!

He was utterly and completely still throughout the entire show.  I guess Disney just does that to ya!  I was shocked (an inwardly doing a happy dance) that he could be so captivated by a loud and intense arena show.  The vibrant colors of all the characters and stage set helped a lot too, I’m sure.

The big finale!

What I enjoyed most about the show were the mini-acts of so many of my favorite Disney Movies: Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and so many more!  Oh, and Mickey and the gang made a few appearances between the acts too…phew!  My little man is still talking about how he saw Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy.  “Mickey – we saw him.”, is like on a constant loop in his head because I heard it all day today.

Bottom line: If you have a child over the age of 1, they will enjoy the show. Immensely.

You can still save money (20% or 40%) on your tickets by using the promo code MOM3 on Ticketmaster.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, he’s been playing with his brand-new light toy ALL DAY!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the show to facilitate this review.  However, all stories stated here are 100% my own.

Happy Easter!

Today has been great!  Not much to post, but we started off the morning with a wonderful breakfast of Chorizo & Eggs:

And ended with a fantastic picture of my kids:

I’m not biased or anything, but aren’t they SOOOO cute?!?!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Peeved Out: Yu Can Writ 2

Can you understand this? 

skool sukked i waz soo tired all day i mean y do ppl wanna go ta skool so bad i get to see mii frayndz outta skool lol!!!

 No?  How about this one?

makinggg many different dilicious cookies wt miii grama nd mii fraynd also doinqq sme last minute gift wrapping still gots lots 2 do nd x-mas Eve is 2marroe yilkkerz i thnk i can make it cross urr fingaz…!!!!

Still having a hard time?  Here’s one more:

Hellow mommy Buyyyy sum cerealllll peez cinimon tost crunch fruuut luupps butter nd choc frosteed flaks peez

 These are actual FB posts and text messages I’ve received from my daughter.  My almost 12-year-old daughter.  Straight-A student daughter.  Yeah, her.

You want to talk pet peeves?  There’s mine.  Right there.

Don’t get me wrong…she knows how to spell.  She certainly didn’t receive straight-A’s with that kind of grammar!  But she says that’s how kids communicate now.  Unbelieveable!  Well, I’ve finally learned of a way to combat her “wrtng sklllzz” by simply not replying to anything written improperly.  Just call me the Grammar Police!  Hmpf!

So, maybe my peeve has more to do with this generation of kids growing up than my daughter’s disdain for proper English.  Ummm, nah…it’s both.  Makes me so angry.  This can’t be the future of our language.

So, Miss-Y – it’s time you cracked open the dictionary, start loving those vowels, and show your “friends” the real way we use the English language.

Or you, my dear, will be getting a can of alphabet soup for your birthday.

 I wrote this post for Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop in response to Prompt #1: One pet peeve that shouldn’t drive you crazy, but does.  It drives me NUTS!

Weekend Wrap-Up: I Am Sick & Tired of Weekends!

Yes, you read it right…sick & tired. Uh-huh!

Weekends are exhausting…more so than my 9-5.  Constantly on the go.  Whether it’s running errands, attending an activity, or just doing housework – sometimes I can’t wait to get back to the office on Monday morning.

Honestly, I don’t know how you stay-at-home moms do it.  On the weekends kids have to be accounted for, fed, bathed, and entertained – all while doing whatever else needs to be done that weekend.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Take this weekend for example:

Friday night – my brother and family stop by for dinner (and, yes, I cooked too) followed by a visit from my BFF and her family.  When did I rest?  I didn’t.

Saturday – up at 7am with Baby B.  Morning spent doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, and other housework/wifey/mommy duties.  Then – time to get ready for dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday with family. (Olive Garden – YUM!)  But first, made a stop at BuyBuyBaby for some needed items.  By the time I got home, I was so spent that I fell asleep within an hour of being home.  Fed Baby and knocked out.  On the couch.  With Baby B in his swing. Ugh.  Resting? Not a chance.

Sunday – up at 7:30 with Baby B.  Errands and Costco and Target (had to pick up gift).   Back home to Baby. Fed, bathed, dressed and out the door for a birthday party.  More housework then time for bed. Time to relax? Barely.

See what I mean?  Tired.  Burned-out.  Just plain pooped.

Come Monday morning, I get to drive to the office and sit.  Eight hours of blissful rest.  No matter how busy my day is at work, it’s never as busy as my weekends.  And – I know what you’re thinking – spending time with family is so much more rewarding, stop making so many plans, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I know all this.  But I just have a busy life.  It is what it is.

But, that’s it!  No more jam-packed weekends!  A quick look at my calendar tells me I have no plans this weekend.  YESSS!  Think it’ll happen?  We’ll see…

I did manage to take this priceless pic at the birthday party though…my favorite boys.  Two peas in a pod.

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