Looking For A Great Way to Kick Off The Holidays In Chicago?

Looking For A Great Way to Kick Off The Holidays In Chicago?

Are you looking for a great way to kick off the holiday season in Chicago this year?  Two events always mark the beginning of the holidays for my family: The Chicago Toy and Game Fair and The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.  Both events occur this coming weekend and are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Starting Saturday, November 17th, you can get your game on at Navy Pier.  It is the 10th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair where families can preview, play, and yes, purchase the latest hot new TOYS and GAMES from around the world.  But don’t mistake this fair for a glorified Toys-R-Us showroom!  At this show you actually get the chance to meet the inventors of some of your favorite games like Twister and Operation!  Last year we spoke with a variety of people marketing interactive games that you can use on the iPad.  This year, those same games are being sold at the local toy stores and…yes, the prices have gone up.  This is your chance to learn about this year’s IT games.

“This is not the Jenga game you are looking for.”


One of the highlights of this fair, something that you rarely see at other events is the Young Inventor Challenge.   We loved strolling through aisles of  toys and games invented by kids ages 6 to 18.  Maybe you have to be a kid to understand what other children like to do?  To be quite honest, my family felt that lot of the toys and games in this section of the fair topped the adult’s toy and game concepts.  In the end, we spent MUCH more time talking to children about their ideas rather than spending time with the adults on the other side of the Expo Hall.

By the time we are finished checking out the many toys and games at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, it is hard to convince the adults in our party to hang out for The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.  If you’ve never experienced the majesty and fun of this event, you really need to grab another Soy Latte and get your second wind!  I promise you, this event is not to be missed by children and adults!

The first time that Adam and I experienced this event, we weren’t even aware that it was going on.  Imagine our surprise when we saw Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a float traveling down Michigan Avenue.  Of course the second time, we were even less prepared.  We couldn’t figure out why the American Girl Place was so crowded that Saturday afternoon?!  Now, we get it and are ready for the crowds and the feeling of awe as over a million lights on trees up and down North Michigan Avenue are illuminated at this magical holiday celebration hosted by Mickey, Minnie and their friends from Disney Parks.  Mickey flips the switch at 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 17, and with the lights come exciting marching bands, gigantic balloons, celebrity appearances and more.  Of course, like any significant event in Chicago, the evening ends with a spectacular fireworks show over the Chicago River.

Yes, it’s exhausting to try to master both events in one day.  I get that.  However, I am frequently reminded (usually by my child) that your kids are only young once.  With each passing year, I feel that K is slowly slipping away from believing in the magic of the holiday season.  Well, at least that’s what I tell myself when I consider how exhausted I am while waiting for the lights to be illuminated on Michigan Avenue.  Oh, I also remind myself that I can take a nap tomorrow.  Unless, of course, I am being dragged to Day 2 of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair to get one last look at the must-have game of the year!


Last year’s show. Will we still be all smiles by the end?




The Tooth Fairy Has A Sister: The Switch Witch

The Tooth Fairy Has A Sister: The Switch Witch

Just read about the Switch Witch on www.modernmom.com and just HAD TO SHARE IT!

It’s no secret, we get 400 Trick or Treaters in our ‘hood every Halloween.  And since my child is hitting all of the same houses that the other 400 are visiting, she will be coming home with A TON of candy in which to indulge.  Or so she thinks….

Because the Switch Witch is coming to our house tonight.

Here’s the concept: On Halloween night, after she has exhausted herself by visiting all of the houses on the block, she will come home to count her loot.  Once she has sorted the best and tossed the rest of the gross candy, my daughter will be allowed to keep 10 pieces of the best candy.  She will put the rest of it in a bag and leave it on the porch for our buddy, the Switch Witch!

The Switch Witch is a witch that comes by Halloween night and scoops up the candy that is left on the front porch.  She  leaves behind a small gift in exchange for the candy. While her sister is busy making houses (or whatever she does) with our children’s baby teeth and leaving money in return, the Switch Witch is cleverly taking our children’s candy and leaving them a small gift of love–I’m thinking cool earrings this year.

Tomorrow morning, I will encourage my daughter to take the dog out for her daily constitutional (i.e to pee and poop.)  Low and Behold!  There will be her gift!  A great pair of FABULOUS earrings for her to enjoy and show her friends.  Of course, there will need to be a note explaining why she received this lovely gift (i.e. save her teeth and make sure she doesn’t ruin her braces)  and thank her for giving away the candy.

This year’s Halloween preparations have been bittersweet.  We (accidentally) donated our inflatables and other outside decorations to Good Will.  (I swear it was an accident.)  We didn’t even get a chance to carve all of our fabulous pumpkins.  But the ones that were decorated are AMAZING.  (Make sure you check out Adam’s photos on Facebook tonight.)  We didn’t even coordinate costumes this year.  But…I know that K is going to have a great time trick or treating with her buddies and I can’t get enough of her enthusiasm for the Zombie costume she picked out this year.

Adding the Switch With to the equation is just one way to keep the Halloween spirit alive for one more day of the year!