Day at the Zoo

This weekend the Racine Zoo had a kids day so all kids (15 & under) were free.
We used to this zoo ALL the time when they boys were little. It is smaller than some of our other (localish) options but it’s close and it used to be just an optional donation for entry. It’s now $8 for adults and (normally) $6 for kids. And there’s no charge for parking however there’s not an official lot, though there’s a decent sized lot with in a couple blocks and on a cooler day like Saturday was finding close street parking wasn’t an issue.

Because it was a cooler day some of the animals weren’t outside but it also meant there weren’t TOO many people to contend with to get to see stuff.

We also took advantage of an opportunity we’d never done before…the boys got to feed giraffes (an additional $5 fee at the time of feeding).

You can do this at several times through out the day, times posted at the giraffe exhibit. They teach you a little about giraffes in general, like did you know their tongues are dark purple so they don’t get sunburned, and the specific giraffes there. We learned that the larger one is actually the smaller one’s uncle.

Such a cool thing to watch!!


kangaroos and wallabies



penguins (my fave!!)


And of course we had to visit the petting zoo!


On the way home we stopped in downtown Kenosha for dinner (and donuts for dessert) and took a walk by the lake.

Autumn Drive

Fall, or autumn, is my absolute favorite season. So when friends suggested we pack up our families and do this Autumn Drive event, it sounded like a great idea.  The weather ended up being absolutely gorgeous so all the places were PACKED but we managed to check out a few cool antique shops, a lot of craft vendors and enjoy some good food and finished up the afternoon at the pumpkin farm with apple cider donuts and fresh cider.

Pumpkin farm fun with friends…










Yummy chocolates…



Make Memories This Summer at Medieval Times #sponsored

This post sponsored by Medieval Times but all opinions are my own.


If you’ve always wanted to take the family to Medieval Times to enjoy the exciting tournament while feasting like a king now is the time with this great LIMITED Time Four Pack Offer for JUST $128!

Four Pack includes:

  • Four Admission Tickets
  • Four Course Feast Fit for a King.. or Queen!
  • Two rounds of Select Beverages
  • Two Hour Action Packed Show
  • And Parking is ALWAYS FREE!


If you visit before the end of the month your kids can train with the knights.  My boys did this about 4 years ago and enjoyed it!

Read all about our first family visit to Medieval Times Chicago here!

The Wizard of Oz at Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Thank you so much to the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences for inviting my family and I back for the newest production, The Wizard of Oz.IMG_20141122_094641When we sat in our seats (of which there are NO bad seats at Marriott Theatre) the boys began to wonder how in the world will they make a yellow brick road?  Since out last show (School House Rock) had minimal scenery I was admittedly curious too.  But we were not disappointed.  Beautiful costuming, great fun choreography, fabulous singing and some stage magic made for an amazing production.  Wizard of OZ_Alex Goodrich, Jeff Max, Dara Cameron, George Keating

When I told the boys we would be seeing the Wizard of Oz, the smallest of our crew grew nervous.  He was afraid that it would be too scary.  After thinking about how afraid of the talking trees and flying monkeys I was slightly nervous too. But since this production was specifically geared towards kids I looked up photos of the cast and shared them with him and then put my trust in the cast and crew to deliver a memorable but not too frightening performance of what was one of my absolute favorite movies as a child, despite those scary monkey!  And they did exactly that.  Of course there were witches and monkeys but I thought they were just the right amount of wicked to get the point across without being terrifying.

Wizard of OZ_Susan Moniz as Wicked Witch

I also worried slightly that the Wizard of Oz might not be ‘manly’ enough for my eye rolling tweens.  But I should know better. Raised to appreciate a quality show they too loved it (but maybe don’t tell their friends, k?).  And I was even able to convince them all to watch the movie that same night with me!  I had truly forgotten how much I love the story and the music from the Wizard of Oz.  I was clearly enchanted with the whole thing as I was shocked to discover during the Q&A afterwards that one of the actresses played two different rolls.  (If you go let me know if you noticed before they told you, be honest!!)

While our family is always up for a show just about anywhere, Marriott Theater is a definite favorite and these Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences are an amazing way to introduce your kids to the theater or keep their love going!


THE WIZARD OF OZ plays most Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 AM and 12:30 PM. Visit or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates vary. Single ticket prices are $15 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows.  To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit

Wizard of OZ_Dara Cameron as Dorothy 2

Monster Jam Heading to Allstate Arena with an Exciting New Competitive Format Featuring #MoreMonsterJam

The boys are already asking if we’ll be going to Monster Jam this year. While it’s always a good time I’m sure they’ll be excited to see the new format!

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The widely popular Monster Jam® tour is heading to the Allstate Arena, Feb. 5-8, 2015, for an explosive new points-paying endurance showdown, featuring more of what the Monster Jam fans have been asking to see – more trucks, more action, #MoreMonsterJam!

Unlike any other show ever seen, this showcase of Monster Jam endurance will feature the biggest and best lineup of world famous Monster Jam trucks highlighted by more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies and more competitive action than ever before. Fans will also be treated to two new competition vehicles, extreme Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs, as they rip through the arenas during combative racing action.

Headlining the tour will be the fiercest Monster Jam athletes, who will be the exclusive drivers of each of the teams made up of Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters, and Monster Jam ATV’s. Each of the athletes will compete against one another in a true test of endurance to earn valuable points during the seven competitive disciplines, unlike any Monster Jam event ever. These athletes will be contending for a bid to the prestigious Monster Jam World FinalsSM held at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on March 26-28.

Monster Jam Teams

Max-DSM: Morgan Kane

Blue Thunder®: Dalton Millican

Grave Digger®: Colton Eichelberger

Monster Energy: Coty Saucier

Scooby-Doo™: Bailey Shea Williams

New Earth Authority PoliceSM: Aaron Basl

Monster Mutt® Rottweiler: Daron Basl

El Toro Loco®: Becky McDonough

Show Times

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 – 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 – 1 pm & 6 pm


Allstate Arena

6920 N. Mannheim Rd.

Rosemont, Ill.

Ticket Information

Tickets are available at or by calling 800/745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster Retail Locations and the Allstate Arena Box Office. All seats are reserved.  Tickets start at $15.

For more information on this new #MoreMonsterJam arena tour of endurance, please log onto  To follow Monster Jam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram log on to and and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel at

About Feld Motor Sports®

Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment.  Feld Motor Sports productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross and Nuclear Cowboyz®.  Feld Motor Sports is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment.  For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit

Follow the yellow brick road to The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences

Last fall we attended our first performance of the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences and we are excited to attend this school years first show The Wizard of Oz.  The performances for young audiences are perfect for introducing kids to musical theater with constant movement and engagement in a high quality production geared to capture the attention of all ages.




Terry James, Executive Producer

Aaron Thielen, Lead Artistic Director

Andy Hite, Artistic Director



November 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Read our review here!

Relive the classic story or experience it for the first time –

live on stage at The Marriott Theatre!

Follow the yellow brick road to The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, for the enchanting musical production of THE WIZARD OF OZ, running from November 7, 2014 through January 4, 2015, with a press opening on Saturday, November 22 at 10AM. The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences favorite Rachel Rockwell will direct and choreograph, with musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson.  Based on the classic 1939 MGM movie, this special one-hour presentation of THE WIZARD OF OZ features the classic songs Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A Question & Answer session with the cast will follow every performance.

After a tornado hits her family’s home in Kansas, Dorothy and Toto land in the magical land of Oz. With the Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy encounters wickedness and wonder as she sets off to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, who promises to make their dreams come true. Click your heels together three times and join the newfound friends as they journey on a quest to find heart, courage, brains and most importantly…home.

THE WIZARD OF OZ features an all-star cast, including Dara Cameron as “Dorothy,” Alex Goodrich as “Tinman,” Jeff Max as “The Lion,” George Keating as “The Scarecrow,” Susan Moniz as “The Wicked Witch,” Johanna McKenzie Miller as “Auntie Em” and “Glinda,” Rob Rahn as “Uncle Henry” and “Oz,” Debbie Laumand-Blanc as “The Mayor,” and ensemble members J Tyler Whitmer and Amanda Tanguay.

The Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences team will be headed up by Lead Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, with Costume Designer Nancy Missimi, Lighting Designer Brian Hoehne, Sound Designer Robert E. Gilmartin, Musical Supervisor Patti Garwood and Stage Manager Angi Adams.

THE WIZARD OF OZ plays most Tuesdays through Sundays at 10 AM and 12:30 PM. Visit or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates vary. Single ticket prices are $15 per person. Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows.  To reserve tickets, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or visit


Aquatic Experience – Chicago Ticket Giveaway

Second annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago makes a splash with additional 130+ tanks of tropical fish, return of Live Shark Encounter and Kids Aquarium Contest
November 7-9, 2014

Everything under one roof also includes:
Fish from Around the World display
Children’s Touch Tank
Two inaugural aquatic competitions
Educational seminars
…and more!

Aquatic Experience - Discus fish

The World Pet Association’s (WPA) second annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago makes a splash Nov. 7-9, 2014, with the addition of over 130 aquariums of tropical fish and return of the popular Live Shark Encounter and Kids Aquarium Contest. Show attendees will find “everything aquatic under one roof” at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, from saltwater and freshwater fish to pond and aquatic plants—including a Fish from Around the World display with Children’s Touch Tank, two inaugural aquatic competitions, educational seminars and a thriving show floor of exhibitors showcasing the latest in aquatic trends and products.

Daily family passes ($25), individual tickets ($10), weekend passes ($99) and Saturday dinner and keynote tickets ($60) are now on sale for Aquatic Experience – Chicago. Registration for the Kids Aquarium Contest for children ages 5-16 is $5 and includes a 10-gallon aquarium kit complete with filter, lighting, heater and thermometer, plus a wristband for free admission to the show floor with a paying adult. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

The new display of over 130 aquariums of tropical fish, presented by the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association, will include a wide variety of tropical fresh and salt water fish farmed in the US and provide inspiration for retailers, advanced hobbyists and fledgling aquarists all three days of the show. Haai Inc’s Live Shark Encounter, the only travelling shark show in the country, returns this year to give attendees the chance to see sharks up close as a diver swims and interacts with these awe-inspiring animals, providing entertaining and educational information.

Aquatic Experience’s educational seminars on hobbyist and retail topics will feature keynote speaker and Newport Aquarium Zoological Operations Manager Jeff Gibula, in partnership with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, taking a behind-the-scenes lighthearted look at public aquariums and their relationship to today’s hobbyists and their home aquariums. This year’s show also hosts two inaugural aquatic competitions: the Aquascaping Live! Contest presented by the Aquatic Gardeners Association, and the Aquatic Experience Fancy Guppy Competition presented by the International Fancy Guppy Association.

Additional aquatic experts presenting at educational seminars this year are Anton Lamboj, Bob Fenner, Brandon McLane, Charles Delbeek, Chris Lukhaup, Eric Bodrock, Francis Yupangco, Heiko Bleher, Jake Adams, Jen Reynolds, Joe Olenik, Jonathan Dooley, Julian Sprung, Karen Randall, Kevin Kohen, Oliver Knott, Oliver Lucanus, Patrick Dontson, Rusty Wessel, Sandy Moore, Sanjay Joshi, Steve Lundblad and Ted Judy. Topics include: aquarium and water garden plants; fish breeding; changes in the aquatic world; specialty stores in niche markets; hiring and training strategies; designing a successful fish room; and aquatic explorations of Thailand and Lake Tanganyika.

The World Pet Association (WPA) is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet and related products and services. WPA works to inform and educate the general public in order to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends. WPA is the host of America’s Family Pet Expo, the world’s largest consumer pet and pet products expo, held annually in Costa Mesa, California. The organization also produces SuperZoo, an annual pet industry trade show that showcases a comprehensive collection of exhibits and offers a variety of informative educational seminars, and Atlanta Pet Fair, the Southeast’s largest competition and trade show for the professional pet stylist. For more information, please visit


Find AquaticExperience on Twitter or Facebook




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS

1429_RB_BTA_Main_r2sIconic Ringling Bros.® Stars Meet Fabled Mythological Creatures in

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDSSM


The Greatest Show On Earth® Set to Capture Chicago Area’s Imagination,

Nov. 6 – 30, 2014

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS, an all-new edition that unites iconic circus stars with living mythological creatures in a celebration of the LEGENDS that have captured imaginations for centuries, is slated to appear Nov. 6-16 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., and Nov. 19-30 at Chicago’s United Center. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson guides Paulo the Legend Seeker on his quest to discover real, living legends from around the world and presents Paulo’s fantastic discoveries to circus fans everywhere.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is where legends live, and we constantly ask our audiences to believe in the unbelievable.  For this edition we’ve combined a number of mythical themes and stories into a lavish production of sight and sound unlike any show we have ever created,” says Producer Nicole Feld.

Mythology meets reality as Paulo encounters the wondrous Pegasus and the amazing Unicorn, as well as circus legends such as big cat presenter Alexander Lacey; the Riders of the Wind Cossack horsemen; and motorcycle daredevils, the Torres Family.  They all come together along with a cast spanning 25 countries in a spectacular production.

Experience magnificent Asian elephants, a twenty-acrobat troupe perched atop only a pair of bicycles, and a never-before-seen double-wide, high-flying trapeze act.


“A legend is something so magical and larger than life that once you see it, you never forget it.  The talent in this show is unprecedented and embodies the name LEGENDS,” says Producer Alana Feld.  “My sister and I were speechless when we saw these acts the first time.  We searched the world for the best of the best and put them together in an unforgettable show.”

The extraordinary talent that can only be seen at Ringling Bros. Presents LEGENDS includes:

·      Hailing from Great Britain, Alexander Lacey’s special bond with lions, tigers and a majestic leopard allow him to present a legendary mixed cat display that has garnered him awards from the renowned International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo and The Festival International du Cirque de Massy (France). With each performance, Lacey demonstrates his lifetime dedication to training and caring for these beautiful animals as he showcases their natural agility, strength and the unconditional respect and cooperation they share.

  • The Riders of the Wind thunder into the arena on the backs of thoroughbred horses and are the protectors of the mythological Pegasus and Unicorn.  These speeding daredevil Cossack riders display their strength and amazing dexterity as they perform intricate maneuvers, including a remarkable five-man high pyramid, while galloping at more than 25 miles per hour in a 46-foot-diameter, specially-designed ring.
  • From Paraguay, the fearless Torres Family shatters records and dares to achieve the impossible by putting eight family members, including one female rider, on speeding motorcycles inside the Globe of Steel. Once locked inside the 16-foot globe, they will orbit at an unprecedented 65 miles per hour with only six inches to spare between each rider, avoiding collision by relying on their rigorous accuracy and confidence in each other.
  • An elite super-group of high-flying trapeze artists from the U.S., Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico, The Solar Hawkspresent a never-before-seen double-wide flying trapeze act designed specifically for The Greatest Show On Earth. This dream team exhibits precision, stamina, strength and perfect form while attempting four consecutive triple somersaults with only seconds between each release.
  • The Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe from Beijing impresses audiences with a number of diverse acts that include fast-paced hoop diving through astonishingly tall and impossibly narrow hoops, an elegant rolling ballet on bicycles where acrobats perform feats and build an incredible pyramid and breathtaking pole climbers executing flips and twists accompanied by traditional, dancing Chinese lions.
  • Also hailing from China, the Jade Statues come to life in a graceful display combining elegant choreography, precise timing and coordination with jaw-dropping diablo juggling skills. The spinning diablos dance in the air like synchronized fountains and are caught by these masterful artists in a unique and memorable performance.
  • A heartwarming presentation of showmanship with an animal menagerie ranging from ten to 10,000 pounds can only be found at Ringling Bros. Presents LEGENDS. Treasured Ringling Bros. Asian Elephants, from the largest herd in North America, are presented in an incredible spectacle that cannot be seen anywhere but at Ringling Bros.Other legendary animals from almost every continent include North American rescue dogs, donkeys from Europe, pigs from Asia, llamas from South America, kangaroos from Australia and a special surprise…Woolly the Mammoth.
  • Under the baton of bandleader Wages Argott, the dynamic, nine-piece Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Bandperforms an original score of over 200 pieces of music arranged by award-winning Hollywood and Broadway composers.

An hour before show time, families can come to the arena floor and participate in interactive, up-close circus experiences, theAll-Access Pre-show and the brand new Ringmaster Zone.

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

For the ultimate circus fan experience, the producers have created a new, exclusive, intimate experience: the Ringmaster Zone. A combined value with the best seats in the house, the Ringmaster Zone offers families an unprecedented look behind the curtain of The Greatest Show On Earth. Fans have the opportunity to walk on the Ringling Red Carpet with Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and the stars of the show, step inside the Globe of Steel, take photos on the ringmaster’s float and have an up-close elephant encounter.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS provides hours of thrilling entertainment that is fun for the whole family for about the price of a movie ticket. A great value in family entertainment, Ringling Bros. is Ticketmaster’s number one most purchased family event. Tickets, starting at $15, are available through Ticketmaster and the Allstate Arena and United Center box offices, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or visiting Additionally, parking is FREE with ticket purchase in all official Allstate Arena and United Center parking lots. Service charges, facility and handling fees may apply. For general show information, call the Allstate Arena at (847) 635-6601, or the United Center at (312) 455-4500.


Kick off ‘Back to School’  With WTTW Kids and Miss Lori at Gurnee Mills.  Miss Lori happens to be a personal friend and is fabulous at inspiring and teaching kids AND adults.  I’m excited to FINALLY get out to one of her Live events with my kids.  I hope you’ll join us.  (Oh and if you don’t believe that we’re friends, check out the pics at the end of this post)





WHAT:           Children and parents alike will spend the morning singing, dancing and enjoying story time, when the WTTW Kids Readers are Leaders Tour makes a stop at Gurnee Mills. This annual event, which is brought to you by WTTW, the Chicago PBS affiliate, will feature a special guest appearance by Arthur, the beloved children’s book aardvark and performances by Miss Lori’s CAMPUS. Plus, the first 200 children in attendance will receive a free children’s book.

Miss Lori, the first-ever live PBS Preschool Block host, created Miss Lori’s CAMPUS to develop and ignite the imaginations of children and their families. Miss Lori’s commitment to children’s health through creative programming and entertainment has been nationally recognized.

WHEN:           Saturday, September 6  at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:         Gurnee Mills (Lake County Food Court in the Macy’s Full-Priced Retail Wing)

COST:            Free


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Another Fabulous Season at The Bristol Renaissance Faire

All thoughts shared are our honest personal opinions

Bristol Renaissance Faire - Copy

If you haven’t been to the Bristol Renaissance Faire you simply don’t know what your missing.  In fact, even if you HAVE been before, you probably STILL don’t know what you are missing.  You see, a single trip isn’t enough time to begin to fully explore the sights, sounds and shows of the Ren Faire.

This is our THIRD trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire and while the boys were slightly disappointed not to get to see a single joust, I was on a mission to see entirely new and different things this time.  At the suggestion of a friend I knew that we needed to check out the “Fire Whip Show.”  And I’m super glad we did because it was very exciting.  I’m pretty sure if it hadn’t been so humid, leading to some decent perspiration…I might have even peed myself at one point.

adam crack fire whip show Bristol Renaissance Faire - CopyYeah, look that’s a flaming whip! Ok, so maybe that isn’t shocking, given then name of the show and all but what he did with a hot, flaming whip may have terrified me just a bit.  But I won’t ruin the surprise for you.  Just take my word and hit the Privies (that’s the bathroom for you contemporaries) before the show.

The other two shows we caught were merely by chance as one of the Swordsmen asked the boys if they liked sword fighting just as we were walking by and let them know their show would start in a just a few minutes.  With enough swinging action for the boys and adult humor for the grown ups, it is another recommended watch as far as I’m concerned.

swordsmen show Bristol Renaissance Faire

And then Barely Balance took place on the same stage immediately following so we stayed for that as well.  And I’m glad we did.  They were super funny and incredibly talented.  These photos simply don’t do it justice, but I highly recommend taking the time to see them!

barely balance show Bristol Renaissance Faire - Copy

One area I didn’t do a good job branching out and looking for something new was the food.  We all craved our previous favorites: ice cream, onion stryngs and pickles.  But I didn’t snap a pic but we did get to sample the cheese fritters thanks to some friends we bumped into that just couldn’t finish them and they were super delicious!

food at Bristol Renaissance Faire - Copy

Whether it’s your first or your fifth trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.  If you’re new to the faire, the shows are spread out throughout the faire and when you enter you’ll get a map with a schedule on the back.  If you’re interested in a specific show, you’ll want to check out the schedule when you arrive as most shows run 2 or 3 times a day so happening to be in the right place at the right time may be unlikely.  But if you aren’t sure what you want to do it’s a pretty good bet, something fun will find you!!  Be sure to take your time as you wander to notice all the small details that really make this an amazing experience.

Check out our first trip to Bristol Renaissance Faire here, and last year’s trip here.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is located just west of I-94’s Russell Road exit, near Kenosha, Wis. Open rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday, July 5 through Sep. 1, and on Labor Day Monday, Sep. 2, tickets are $23.95 for adults and $11.50 for children, ages 5 to 12. Advance ticket discounts are available at or by calling (847) 395-7773.

Have you been to the Ren Faire?