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NWI Parent
NWI Parent

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

June 29th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Photobucket

Live on stage this summer at Navy Pier is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. We are big fans of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and can not wait to see the show on Sunday! While I think this “tale as old as time” is a story for boys and girls of all ages, Ivy and I are making it a girls’ day out and taking my Mom, sister-in-law, and niece Abby. We’re especially excited that audience members can even meet the cast in the lobby following each performance!

Check out the Chicago Shakes website for fun activities before and after you see the show.

Navy Pier

The show runs through August 26 and tickets are $18–$25, available at the box office, online, or by phone. Be sure to get your parking ticket validated to save 40% on parking at Navy Pier.

We love to grab lunch and walk around the pier before and after the show. Such a great way to take in the city with the kids- and with a classic like Beauty and the Beast, this one is sure to be a hit! Definitely one for the memory books.

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Disclosure: Chicago Shakespeare Theater provided four complimentary passes to enjoy the show.

photo credit: matthew cameron

Elementary Expressionism in Valparaiso

June 5th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Valpo Redevelopment Committee art project

Last fall, the Valparaiso Redevelopment Committee commissioned their eight elementary schools to decorate the city’s brand new bike lockers. Each school’s art teacher chose an art style and famous artist to inspire the students to paint or draw one of the community’s landmarks for this exciting project.

Kandinsky VU Chapel by Noah Precourt #Valpo

A few pieces from each school were selected and reproduced to be put on the locker. My son Noah did a painting of the Valparaiso University chapel, based on Expressionism and Wassily Kandinsky. His artwork was one of the pieces chosen from Thomas Jefferson Elementary’s art teacher Lori Gathman. You can see it on the bike locker at Campbell and Lincolnway, in the Chicago Dash parking lot! Every locker around town is different- definitely something you’ll want to check out when you’re out and about in Valparaiso!

Valpo plans to do this fun idea again, changing the art every three or four years.

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Filed under: parent. Tags: , .

Oh Steam Mop, Where Have You Been All My Life?

April 30th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

While staying with my sister-in-law and family over spring break in Michigan, I admired their steam mop. Yes, their steam mop.

It sanitized while it shined their bathroom floor. We left and it’s all I could think about. I had to have one.

So I began researching these magical steam mop things- what kind should I buy? They aren’t that cheap. I wanted to spend wisely. Ultimately I decided upon the Oreck Steam-It Steam Mop. I planned to buy it on Target.com so that I could get my free shipping and 5% off thanks my Target Red Debit card (you do have one of those, right?)

Anyway, I didn’t make the purchase right away and while I was at Walmart one day - there are just some things that I can’t get elsewhere and so Walmart it is - I happened to stop by the steam mops while I was there. And whattya know, there was my Steam-It Steam mop on CLEARANCE. Like, $80 cheaper than the Oreck site. Needless to say, I loaded that baby up in my cart.

I’ve yet to try out all the amazing features, but I’m looking forward to the grout and bath fixtures attachment as well as steam-cleaning the walls (yes walls.) So far I find it absolutely worth making our kitchen and bathroom floors actually visible again.

Do you have a steam mop? What other awesome things can I do with mine?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Call for Auditions: Listen To Your Mother 2012

February 28th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana 2012 call for auditions

Calling all moms or people with moms!

Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana is in search of original essays on any aspect of motherhood for the second annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 7PM.

People of all ages, types, and backgrounds — and writers of all experience levels are invited to audition to read. Although mothers are welcome, you need not be a mother to audition. Funny, sad, moving, hilarious, thoughtful - any subject or perspective!

Auditions will be held on Sunday, March 11 at the Memorial Opera House by appointment only.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER will be in 10 cities this year and I am so excited to be a part of Northwest Indiana’s show. It is a community-oriented celebration of the beauty, the heartbreak, the trials and triumphs that are MOTHERHOOD directed and produced in Northwest Indiana by (me) local mom, writer, and blogger Stephanie Precourt. No previous stage experience is necessary.

Bring your original, humorous, poignant, painful, joyful and soulful words on mothers or mothering. Previously published work accepted as long as the author retains full rights or has express permission to read the work for this event. Oh, and it’s a reading- no memorization required! :)

Commitment for cast members includes two group read-throughs (dates to be determined), a pre-performance run-through, and one 7:00 p.m. performance on May 10.

To schedule a March 11 audition, email stephanie.precourt@gmail.com. Your audition piece should be no longer than 5 minutes when read aloud (please time yourself and edit if needed.)

LTYM-Cast-2011

Listen To Your Mother Show Northwest Indiana 2011 cast

View the past Listen To Your Mother shows and find Northwest Indiana’s 2011 Listen To Your Mother Show here

Spread the word! If you know someone perfect to read at Listen To Your Mother, let them know! Find Listen To Your Mother on Facebook and Twitter @LTYMshow and be sure to check out Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana online here.

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Many Many Valentines

February 12th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

Valentines

Early Saturday morning, right after our awesome big breakfast of homemade egg Mckmuffins and hashbrowns, I had each of the kids sign their Valentines. I did not want to wait until the last minute for this - with three kids in school and 30 Valentines for each of them… we got it done!

Of course it’s been impossible to avoid seeing everyone’s suggestions for DIY Valentines on Pinterest and Facebook but I didn’t even give it a thought. Target had Angry Birds Valentines! And Lego Star Wars! Much easier and cooler, right? Oh my goodness. Not very.

Valentines 2

I had to separate all 90 of those things, on the perforated lines, then fold them, then help the kids insert each little mini tattoo or sticker or whatever they had with them.

Valentines 5

Thankfully this year they could address and sign their own. But still. Maybe making our own next year will be smarter? How do you do your Valentines?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

What does your house look like at dinnertime?

January 25th, 2012 - By Stephanie Precourt

THANK GOD there are no cameras in my home but if there were, around 5:00 in the evening tonight you would have seen me getting ready to make dinner. And as I prepare something I think is pretty fabulous and not-microwaved: steaks in the broiler and homemade mashed potatoes, I wonder how in the world moms in the past did it without trashing the place. Like, it would just be so awesome to cook a fully-from-scratch meal but then not be completely exhausted afterward. And then have all that clean up still.

So, in between pre-heating the broiler and peeling potatoes you’d find me also assisting Gray with his Kindergarten vocab work. Ten problems and he needs help with every single one. Ivy is at the kitchen counter reminding me that she’s so starving every three minutes. Oh yeah and there’s also a tent in the living room, still up, from last weekend’s fun “let’s go camping indoors!” adventure and then no one ever actually got in it.

I finish up the potatoes and get them boiling on the stove. We clean up the homework and other various items from the table so we can, like, eat there. Turn the steaks. Remind Ivy again that we’ll be eating dinner in a few minutes. “Someone turn that flashlight off and get it off the floor!” “WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS?” “Get your dinosaurs out of the sink, please.” The smoke alarms go off. One child is on back door duty: open and close really fast like a fan. One goes to the front door, and I whip my kitchen towel at the alarm to get it to shut up. The other two children run into the tent with their hands over their ears.

Believe me when I say that I mashed those potatoes. I mashed them real good. Finally it’s all done and on their plates and cut up just so and we sit down and eat. That’s right about the time Noah asks “What’s for dessert?” and I give him my angry eyes.

I redirect their conversations to not include crap or fart at the table. Now that the older ones are capable, I don’t get up from the table anymore. Someone needs a drink or a second helping? Brother will get it for you. Dinner is over disturbingly too soon considering all the time and prep to make it. We clear the table. I crank up the Cold Play and wash the dishes by hand (I don’t have a dishwasher, I’m over it, it’s no big deal) and cut up strawberries (that’s what’s for dessert.)

I am much too tired to put away the dishes, so I let them air dry and collapse into the nearest chair/bed/wherever I land until bedtime. When a whole other routine begins…

What’s it look like at your house come dinnertime?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

5 ways I am going to be a better mom in 2012

December 31st, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Family Photo

So, I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions anymore — mainly because I can never keep them, and also they are just too much pressure. But, I do have some ideas in my head that I hope can happen in the coming year, and I definitely have dreams for 2012. I just don’t want to say them outloud.

In my heart I feel like the end of the year is also a great moment for an attitude adjustment for me as a mom. Just keeping it real… here are 5 ways I will be a better mom in 2012:

1. I will use a softer voice and bring back whisper Mondays
2. I’ll read to the kids more, and with feeling!
3. I’ll be sure the kids (and I) play games around the table, together
4. I’ll help them keep their rooms tidy (and this means me, too. I need to set a better example)
5. We will go on more adventures, even if for just 1 hour a weekend

Do you have any goals as a parent for 2012? Oh, and Happy New Year!

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography

Filed under: parent. Tags: , , .

Happy Holidays! And a little gift guide.

December 9th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Christmas Ivy

I honestly was in shock when I realized that Christmas is just 2 weeks away. I thought there was PLENTY of time to still think about Christmas shopping — and there is still time — but only if you get on it now!

I thought I’d do a little round up of some great gift ideas from local shops and online as well, to get the gifts on your list in time to really enjoy the holiday.

We were in Piper Boutique in downtown Valparaiso this morning to get Ivy some new boots. I had planned to give them to her for Christmas but wanted her to try them on and then it DID snow today, so. She got them early!

ecosnooper

They also have some really awesome holiday dresses and coats on their 1/2 off clearance rack AND the cutest animal purses & backpacks (for boys and girls) by Eco-Snoopers. Awesome prices, too- starting at just $13. The perfect gift idea especially for that kid who has you stumped!

Know a new or preggy mama? Mothering By Nature Center on Indiana in Valpo has got it ALL. Cloth diapers, slings, BabyLegs, teethers, toys — and at great prices, too. Definitely the best selection in all of Northwest Indiana!

The Bargain Barn in Valparaiso has a great selection of Melissa & Doug items. I’m planning on stopping in there tomorrow to get some puppets for all my kids. Ever since we saw the Muppets, they are so into puppet shows! (Speaking of which, movie theatre gift certificates make GREAT stocking stuffers! And don’t forget iTunes. My boys have iPods and want a new app, like, every day!) PS Bargain Barn will probably have something for every single person on your list. You just have to stop in there. You shall see for yourself!

Ichoosejoy

My friend Janelle makes beautiful hand-stamped jewelry at Grace Tags and is offering 15% off your order through tomorrow! Use code CHRISTMAS at checkout. The I Choose Joy necklace [$24] is a personal favorite. Fab for mom, grandma, or tweens.

For the shabby chic friends and family on your list you must stop into It’s Just Serendipity. One of my favorite places to shop for gifts (and myself!) There’s something for all ages there. While you’re in Hammond, stop and see Santa at the Welcome Center at Christmas Story Comes Home, too. That’s where we see Santa every year. And you can even get a leg lamp for dad while you’re at it. LOL.

santa
Carter tells Santa what he wants for Christmas at Christmas Story Comes Home last year

What’s on MY list? I’m so glad you asked! Well, really the big thing I want this year is new boots for myself actually. Silcott’s on Washington in downtown Valpo has the best selection of UGG and Emu boots that I’ve seen so far and I think the lattice cardi UGGs in a fun color would really cheer me up. Just sayin.

Where are you doing all your shopping this year? What’s still on your list?

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph And be sure to like Your Family on Facebook..

Family Game Night

November 29th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

So, we aren’t big on board games in our house — mainly due to certain little ones that steal all the pieces. Jeff taught the older boys to play poker and they LOVE that, but it’s something I crinkle my nose at. No fun for me.

There are, however, a couple games we got recently that I’ve found myself playing with after the kids have gone to bed. Let’s talk about the Bop It XT. Have you played this game? Can you say addicting? I have a whole workout routine going with this one, and it didn’t take me very long to beat the novice level (you have to get up to 100.) I will say the expert round has totally got me stumped.

Perplexus

The other one that I think is really too hard for children is the Perplexus. Now, we were given this one at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair a couple weeks ago. There is an easier version recommended for kids (the Rookie.) The one we have is the Original and, um, I haven’t gotten very far with it AT ALL. But, I still keep picking it up to try again. Often.

While we were away this past weekend in Grand Rapids we visited the old log cabin in the Children’s Garden of Meijer Gardens. There was this wooden ball-catcher toy that I’d like to get for the kids for Christmas. We also played Skittles- this amazing wooden spinning top bowling-type game that I’d never seen nor heard of before. This is the best photo I could find of it.

I’d like to add more games to our game night lineup. What do you enjoy playing most as a family? What games are on your kid’s Christmas wish list this year?

Dear Santa (ALREADY?!)

November 18th, 2011 - By Stephanie Precourt

Dear Santa

I am NOT the kind of person that skips Thanksgiving and goes straight to Christmas as soon as we hit November. I actually really wish people and STORES would slow it down. Sheesh. But. It’s hard not to be influenced by the things around us. Seriously, in the grocery store on November 1st they were playing Holiday music. I’m talking Wilson Phillips singing Hey Santa! and you know what? It’s been stuck in my head ever since.

And, the kids. Well, they have already started making their Christmas lists. The toy catalogs that stuff our mailbox daily aren’t helping either. I admit I put the Magic Cabin and Nova Natural copies at the top and try to recycle hide everything else. Noah is convinced he’s getting an iPad. Seriously. I want an iPad.

THANKFULLY we remember to be thankful and absolutely celebrate Thanksgiving and all the fixins. We are grateful!

But in the morning, we are attending the big & awesome Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier (the largest public toy and game fair in the US!) and I have a feeling… well… the Dear Santa letters are going to be pretty fat when we get home.

(I do have a special coupon down below for $2 off admission if you’re interested in attending this weekend or click here to download.)

The fair runs this weekend, November 19-20. Admission is $10 for adults - $5 for children - free for ages 3 & under, and FULL of toys to preview, play, and purchase. Go to kick-off your holiday shopping or just be in the know about the hottest new toys and games!

Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet the inventors of the toys and games on exhibit, and enjoy live entertainment, contests, Star Wars Breakfast, costumed characters, and more!

More info available at Chitag.com

I’m REALLY looking forward to it! Hope you can check it out, too!

Have your kids already started making their wish lists for the holidays?

ChiTAG 2dollar off coupon

Stephanie is Mom to three boys & a girl in Valparaiso, IN and blogs daily at Adventures In Babywearing . Follow her on Twitter- she’s babysteph .

Disclosure: my family is attending a special breakfast at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair tomorrow and received free passes for admission.

Photo credit

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