Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TONIGHT: World Book Night, Shakespeare is 450, & Rare Lyrid Meteor Showers! #WBN2014 #Shakespeare #LyridMeteorShower

Books, Bards and Stars... Oh MY!

If you thought Easter and 4/20 coinciding this year was big... check out the forecast for 4/23!  Tonight brings thousands of FREE books being given away on the streets, to reluctant readers around the world, Shakespeare's 450th birthday, and an ultra rare Lyrid Meteor Shower peaking. It only orbits the sun every 415 years... so maybe you can celebrate the bard under the same shooting stars that inspired HIM!

Our undying affection for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Short Shakespeare Series continues with their awesome production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (see our full set of shots in the slideshow above).  Public shows have ended, but we'll give them another shout out since they're still touring schools and inspiring kids through the end of April. 

We LOVED the David Bowie-esque wigs for the fairies, (by Melissa Veal) reminiscent of the Troll King in Labyrinth. The wigs were custom made on site for the show! It was such a cooler, punk look and made their trickery (and plan to steal the changeling child-sound familiar) all the more sinister. Great edgy costume choices and so much more refreshing than the usual fairy tulle and flowers. 

An enchanted Titania (Lanise Antoine Shelley) desires Bottom (Alex Weisman), surrounded by her fairy attendants (left to right: Max Fabian, Justin Cornwell, Wesley Daniel, Michael Finley). Photo by Michael Brosilow. - See more at:

We also really dug the use of simple objects in unusual ways, like the umbrellas and the ever changing string that blocked & opened paths through the forest.

Puck (Steven Lee Johnson, far right) concocts magical mischief in the woods while Hermia (Tiffany Yvonne Cox) sleeps cradled in the boughs of a tree created by the fairies. Photo by Michael Brosilow. - See more at:

Demetrius (Ryan Hallahan) finds himself ensnared in the shadowy vines of the woods. Photo by Michael Brosilow. - See more at:

The whole show is packed up on tour now, making the rounds and blowing the minds of school kids all over Chicago. ChiIL Mama had a great chat with resident Scenic Designer, Scott Davis, and he gave us the scoop. They pretty much tour with the whole cast and most of the set... except the moon which is just too huge to move. 

You might recognize it from the recent production of Cyrano.  It's not only too big to tour, it's too big for the Chi-Shakes set storage area! So it just may be waxing poetic over more productions before it wanes.  That's cool with us. That orb is pretty impressive and worth mooning over.

Our predictions on this production:

  • A new generation is realizing Shakespeare wasn't as snooty as they thought and he wrote about wacky, cross dressing, unfaithful, confused, hilarious, murderous, magical characters.
  • A zillion jr high and high school students are crushing on the charismatic cutie, Puck (Steven Lee Johnson)! It was already starting with the tweens as early as opening day-- "No... you go talk to him..." "No, YOU. Giggle giggle."
  • More than a few students are inspired to see more theatre and/or try their hand at writing plays and poetry.
  • More than a few students are inspired to check out more circus arts, thanks to the best. wall. ever. and his uber creative block juggling work. Kudos to you!

David H. Bell Director
Scott Davis Scenic Designer
Melissa Torchia Costume Designer
Lee Fiskness Lighting Designer
Ethan Deppe Composer and Sound Designer
Melissa Veal Wig and Make-up designer

Nate Burger Lysander
Justin Cornwell Starveling/Fairy
Wesley Daniel Flute/Fairy
Max Fabian Snout/Fairy
Michael Finley Snug/Fairy
Don Forston Egeus/Quince
Ryan Hallahan Demetrius
Steven Lee Johnson Puck/Philostrate
Eric Parks Oberon/Theseus
Lanise Antoine Shelley Hippolyta/Titania

Bewitched by a fairy’s spell, Bottom (Alex Weisman) is transformed into an ass. Photo by Michael Brosilow. - See more at:

As queen and king of the fairy kingdom, Titania (Lanise Antoine Shelley) and Oberon (Eric Parks) share passion both in love and in conflict. Photo by Michael Brosilow. - See more at:

Next Up:  Henry V.  We can't wait!!

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Tips for Chi-Shakes:
  • Kids love to get their programs signed by the actors who pose for photo ops and gladly sign in the lobby after each show at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
  • Go to the TOP floor and check out the coolest bathroom view in the city that we know of! Seriously. Go already.
A view from the loo:


  • Sure Navy Pier is all torn up and inconvenient at present, but snap some photos. We love to see things in the development stages... in the process of becoming.  It'll never look like that again, even in a few days. Catch & keep that moment in time. 

  • SUPPORT THE ARTS:  Buy some of their fun Shakes swag. Their water bottles and mugs are remarkably reasonably priced and they have unique gifts like Shakespearian insult bandaids, dolls, tees and Shakespeare quotes playing cards!

Birthday Bashes

First--Happy Birthday to the bard. Shakespeare is 450 today! Here at ChiIL Mama, we dig the bard. I was in Twelfth Night in college and even now I catch every show at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Shakes and non alike--they have a diverse, world class lineup of shows!)  My kids have see at least 3 different productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, multiple Macbeths and a host of others.

We'll be reviewing Henry V opening night as well as Joffrey's Romeo and Juliet, so check back with ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often!

**Today is talk Like Shakespeare Day: April 23**
Everyone is dared on Shakespeare's Birthday on April 23 to break out your "thee-s" and "thou-s" and stock of Shakespearian insults in observation of the annual Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  Today is an opportunity for citizens across the globe to bring the spoken words of Shakespeare into their daily lives. Penning 154 sonnets and 38 plays, Shakespeare is credited with contributing over 1,700 words and countless phrases to the English language, including "bedazzled," "swagger," and "new-fangled." Shakespearean tips and useful expressions can be found at

On the Occasion of William Shakespeare's 

450th Birthday April 23

Chicago Shakespeare Theater joins Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago and Joffrey Ballet in celebration of the Bard’s legacy and lasting vitality in Chicago

"Our City, Our Shakespeare" premieres 

on WTTW Channel 11

Additional Shakespeare Birthday Programs and Collaborations 

Also Announced

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) along with Chicago’s civic and cultural leaders celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday with the premiere of "Our City, Our Shakespeare," a documentary exploring Shakespeare’s enduring presence in Chicago, featuring Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Institute of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, among others. Produced by Emmy award-winning HMS Media, the program premieres May 1 at 8:00 p.m. on WTTW Channel 11. Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on April 23 begins the internationally recognized Shakespeare Quadricentennial Celebration through 2016, marking 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy since his death in 1616. On this occasion, Chicago’s cultural community heralds the prolific poet and playwright’s lasting impact on our lives—through our everyday speech and in cultural institutions, schools and neighborhoods across the city. All Chicagoans can join in on the birthday celebrations with activities, events and performances for everyone, everywhere to bring Shakespeare into their lives.

"Our City, Our Shakespeare" examines Chicago's special relationship with the world's most translated and performed playwright. By weaving together footage from theater, opera, dance and improv performances on Chicago's stages and interviews with civic and cultural leaders, theater critics and artists alike, it is clear that Shakespeare lives on in Chicago. The 30-minute program features interviews with notable Chicagoans, including: Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent/CEO; William J. Brodsky, Navy Pier, Inc. Chairman; Barbara Gaines, CST Artistic Director; Criss Henderson, CST Executive Director; Renée Fleming, Lyric Opera of Chicago Creative Consultant; Anthony Freud, Lyric Opera of Chicago General Director; Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director; Douglas Druick, Art Institute of Chicago President; Martha Gilmer, Chicago Symphony Orchestra VP for Artistic Planning and Audience Development; Amina Dickerson, Arts Advisor/Non-Profit and Philanthropic Consultant; Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune Chief Theater Critic; Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times Theater and Dance Critic; Mike Nussbaum, Ora Jones and Kevin Gudahl, actors; Kirsten Kelly, CPS Shakespeare! director; the Q Brothers, GQ and JQ, actors/writers/musicians; Dr. Karen Boran, John Hancock High School Principal; Vincent Pinelli, Benito Juarez Community Academy Theater Director; Blaine Swen, The Improvised Shakespeare Company Creator and Director; and Robert Kameczura and Maureen Warren, visual artists.

"Our City, Our Shakespeare" producer HMS Media has received 17 Emmy Awards, 23 Emmy nominations, four Ruth Page Awards, the Arts & Business Council's ABBY Award and Gold and Silver Plaques from the Chicago International Film Festival for its broadcast specials about theater, dance, music and social issues, which have aired locally on WTTW and nationally on PBS. "Our City, Our Shakespeare" airs on WTTW Channel 11 on May 1 at 8:00 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m. (WTTW Prime) and 7:30 p.m., and May 4 at 5:30 p.m.

All Chicagoans can join in on the birthday celebration in the coming weeks—whether at the bus stop, around the water cooler, inside the classroom, at home or out and about in the city. The following activities, events and performances offer a way for everyone, everywhere to bring Shakespeare into their lives:

Will's 450 is the New 30 Quiz: April 21–May 11

After all this time, he continues to influence the movies we watch, the books we read, and even the way we speak. To prove it, we created a quiz. When you take it, you’ll get a discount on tickets to our thrilling, upcoming rendition of Henry V and a chance to win awesome Shakespeare prizes.

Proving that Shakespeare's words have passed the test of time, Will's 450 is the New 30 Quiz features multiple-choice questions dealing with Shakespeare in pop culture and everyday speech, such as "Which Shakespearean phrase is the title of a current song?" and “Which of the following Shakespeare quotes inspired the title for a hit TV mini-series?” Not sure of an answer? Quiz-takers are encouraged to Google search answers, so they can see how "with-it" Will still is today. The quiz will be available between April 21 and May 11 at  

Shakespeare at the Newberry Library: April 21 at 6:00 p.m. & April 22–June 21
Those who want to dig deeper into Shakespeare's vast and varied contributions to literature and theater can join CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines in "Conversations at the Newberry" on April 21 at 6:00 p.m. for a discussion. Gaines will share the stage with Gail Kern Paster, director emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library. This free event launches the Newberry's The Bard Is Born exhibition of Shakespeare-related artifacts, including the Library's treasured First Folio and Barbara Gaines's personal annotated copy of the play script for Henry V from CST's inaugural production in 1986. The exhibition is free and open to the public, April 22 through June 21.
Preview of "Our City, Our Shakespeare" on Chicago Tonight: April 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Host Phil Ponce welcomes CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater to Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11 and presents a sneak preview of "Our City, Our Shakespeare" on April 23 at 7:00 p.m. In honor of the Bard's birthday celebrations, Gaines will discuss CST's upcoming production of Henry V and Wheater will preview Joffrey Ballet's Romeo & Juliet.
Shakespeare's Henry V at CST: April 29–June 15
To experience Shakespeare up close and personal, theatergoers can catch a performance of Henry V, beginning on April 29 and running through June 15 in CST's Courtyard Theater. This rousing finale to the 2014 season is directed by distinguished British director Christopher Luscombe in his Chicago debut. Confronted by the ferocity of war on the fields of Agincourt, the charming, freshly crowned King Henry must prove his worth as a man and king in the ultimate test of his leadership.
Joffrey Ballet's Romeo & Juliet: April 30–May 11
Joffrey Ballet presents a modern retelling of Shakespeare's tale of star-crossed lovers set to Sergei Prokofiev's formidable score. Choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor and with live music performed by the Chicago Philharmonic, this production of Romeo & Juliet makes its United States debut at The Auditorium Theatre, April 30 through May 11.
"Our City, Our Shakespeare": May 1 at 8:00 p.m., May 2 at 7:30 p.m. & May 4 at 5:30 p.m.
Produced by HMS Media, "Our City, Our Shakespeare" explores how Shakespeare comes alive in Chicago through theater, opera, ballet, improv and visual art. "Our City, Our Shakespeare" premieres on WTTW Channel 11 on May 1 at 8:00 p.m., with additional broadcasts on May 2 at 2 p.m. (WTTW Prime) and 7:30 p.m., and May 4 at 5:30 p.m.
CST and Chicago Philharmonic in Romantic Rapture: May 11 at 7:30 p.m.
The extended birthday concludes with a collaboration between CST and the Chicago Philharmonic on Sunday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Pick-Staiger Hall in Evanston. Together, the two organizations present Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet as part of the evening's Romantic Rapture event. Directed by Scott Weinstein and conducted by Scott Speck, actors and musicians bring to life one of Shakespeare's most passionate and tragic tales.

For a full line-up of activities and events surrounding Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, see
For more information on Chicago Shakespeare Theater, see

World Book Night 2014

Tonight ChiIL Mama will again be a book giver for the 3rd year. We're proud to have been a part of World Book Night since it's first year in the US. Check out our past coverage here.  Last year we gave away 20 copies of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho--and even gave a copy to a homeless man, looking for something to pass the time.

This year we're giving away 20 copies of Bridge to Terabithia 
By Katherine Paterson at our neighborhood park district.

 Check back for our photo filled recap later this week.

Bridge to Terabithia 
Jess Aaron's greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new kid, a new girl, boldly crosses over to the boy's side of the playground and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. It doesn't matter to Jess that Leslie dresses funny, or that her family has a lot of money -- but no TV. Leslie has imagination. Together, she and Jess create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Then one morning a terrible tragedy occurs. Only when Jess is able to come to grips with this tragedy does he finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him. 

Middle Reader. 

Author biography
Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.

For more information:

About World Book Night

World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. 

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: It’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways—through the sharing of stories. 

World Book Night is a nonprofit organization. We exist because of the support of thousands of book givers, booksellers, librarians, and financial supporters who believe in our mission. Successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night was first celebrated in the U.S. in 2012. Thank you to our U.K. friends for such a wonderful idea!

Thank you for visiting us! We hope you explore our site to learn more about World Book Night, keep updated on new developments, support our organization, and apply to be a World Book Night U.S. book giver!

Meteor Showers 

As if all that isn't enough... April showers are upon us.  The Lyrid Meteor Showers that is!

Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: 
How To Watch Live

"The annual Lyrid meteor shower occurs every year when Earth passes through debris left behind by Comet Thatcher, which makes a full orbit of the sun once every 415 years. At its peak this year — which is expected to happen in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday (April 22) — the Lyrid shower should produce about 20 meteors per hour. You can watch the Lyrid meteor shower webcasts on via the online Slooh community telescope and NASA."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Stork Brings New Fertility Aid To The Privacy of Your Home #ad #TheStork

Sometimes necessity truly is the mother of invention and this invention just may help millions become mothers!

Sure, in the childhood fairy tales, the stork just effortlessly drops a cute little bundle of joy off in the arms of happy prospective parents. Reality just isn't that easy.  That's why, here at ChiIL Mama, we were excited when The Stork and The Motherhood asked us to spread the word to our readers about a new, less invasive, less expensive starting point to boost your odds of conception.

Many many couples today struggle with fertility issues (7.3 million couples in the US in fact, or 1 in 6, according to The Stork's stats!) We've seen more than a few of our friends go the infertility treatment route with varying degrees of success... or not.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Stork and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

When you want to start a family, finding out you're pregnant can be one of the most joyful experiences of your life - and we know that getting to that milestone isn't always easy. To that end, ChiIL Mama (via The Motherhood) is partnering with a company called Rinovum Women's Health to spread the word about a game-changing option for improving the chances of conception, called The Stork.

The Stork was designed as a natural, cost-effective option to help couples bridge the gap between natural conception and more aggressive treatments. It can be used in the privacy of the home without affecting daily routine (which we love) - both for couples with no known fertility issues and for those who are experiencing difficulty conceiving. 

We're also pretty excited that The Stork is a new and improved way for unconventional families to successfully have children. This is so timely with gay marriage finally becoming legal now in so many states.  Here at ChiIL Mama, we also have more than a few friends who rocked the "turkey baster" method so two moms could raise a child together or a single mom could have her family without a messy paternity situation, with someone she didn't want as a life partner. They are all WONDERFUL, loving families whose children are thriving and excelling. And we're thrilled there is a private, easier way for ALL types and configurations of loving families to increase the odds of having a much wanted child.

The Scoop on The Stork:

ChiIL Mama was invited to an informative, on line chat with Steve Bollinger, CEO and Founder of The Stork. He personally experienced infertility issues with his wife, Adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon of Pittsburgh. Here's what we learned and we're happy to share the information with our readers. Chances are good, the info will be relevant to you or someone you know and love.

What is Rinovum?
  • Pittsburgh, PA-based, privately-held women’s health company dedicated to bringing products into the market that will enhance women’s lives and empower them to take charge of their health. 
  • Our first focus is an Rx device – The Stork, driving towards a direct-to-consumer device, for reproductive health to aid in natural fertility and conception in the privacy of the patients’ home.
    Today, approximately 7.3 million couples (1 in 6 couples) in the United States have difficulty conceiving.

    Factors That Add to the Era of Infertility 
  • Increasing fertility issues related to environmental and lifestyle factors
  • Women are trying to conceive later in life
  • Limited options available for those initially struggling: 
  • Couples over 35 suggested to wait 6 months Growing population of same-sex couples
Treatments today are slow, invasive and costly!
40% of diagnoses are attributed to the male, 40% to the female and 20% are diagnosed as unexplained
  • Male Factor: estrogen levels are higher than ever before resulting in low sperm counts, motility and morphology issues 
  • Female Factor: imbalanced vaginal pH, diminishing ovarian reserve, PCOS, endometriosis, etc. 
Females age 20-25, 25% chance per month of conceiving Females age 30-35, 15% chance per month of conceiving Females age 35-40, 10% chance per month of conceiving Female age 40, 5% chance per month of conceiving
Long waiting periods given by physicians before further assistance for help
Under 35 years of age suggested to wait 12 months before seeking medical treatment.  Only 14 out of the 50 states require reimbursement by insurance (many of which are partial).

Introducing the Stork:

Risk factors of other pregnancy methods:
1. Multiple-births: one third of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) result
in multiples
  1. Genetic risks to offspring 
  2. Increased health risks to female 

  •  Women are placed on intensive hormone medications 
  •  Increased rates of breast and ovarian cancer 
  •  Treatment options are stressful which actually reduces the women’s chance  of conceiving 

The Stork Conception System is indicated for assisted insemination in instances where low sperm count, sperm immobility, or hostile vaginal environment has been diagnosed. The system (cervical cap in a condom-like silicone sheath) is used to collect semen into a cervical cap, and then deliver the cap to the outside of the cervix as an aid to conception. It is to be used at home following physician instructions. You can see a full video for how to use The Stork kit here.

Because of the low price on The Stork, many physicians are prescribing couples to do this process three times during a women’s optimal ovulation cycle.

The Stork®
*national average

Cost: $79 for one or $210 for a one-month supply of three individually- packaged Stork devices.

Pre-natal vitamins are also available for both the male and female on The Stork store website.

Benefits of The Stork:
  • Proven technique: Physician technique now available for use in the privacy of
  • Safe: FDA Authorized prescription product. Non-reusable device 
  • Natural: Drug-free product that requires no drugs 
  • Non-invasive: Requires no injections or surgery 
  • Easy –to-Use: Condom-like in collection, tampon-like in delivery 
  • Cost-effective: Compared to “next-step” treatment options 

How to Purchase The Stork
  1. Contact healthcare provider for prescription 
  2. Purchase The Stork from the website
  3. The Stork ships directly to your home
Coming Soon for The Stork:
  • The Stork will soon be available over the counter at Amazon and at CVS in the family planning aisle for their new category of aiding in conception 
  • Follow The Stork to stay updated on news!
    Facebook Twitter

Common Questions/Answers:
Will a prescription be required when it is available over the counter at CVS? What is the anticipated timing of when The Stork will become available in CVS?
You will no longer need a prescription when it is available at CVS. We are shipping product to CVS in July and it should hit the shelves in late August or early September. 

Can you use The Stork with Clomid?
What we do is mechanically make sure that all of the swimming sperm can make it into the cervical mucus and can get as close to the cervix as possible. OB-GYNs will normally give infertile couples Clomid. And if you are already going on a pharmaceutical therapy to increase your egg production and consistency, then it makes sense that you use the mechanical options as well. So you are trying to reduce the additional hormones in your system.

Many physicians now who are prescribing The Stork will either start with just The Stork or The Stork and Clomid, depending on the timing of the couple. We seem to find a lot of OB-GYNs match these two together because they believe it makes the most sense.

Should The Stork be tried before trying other medical intervention, like Clomid? The Storks offers the most natural way of conceiving. The female hormone system is a fragile system. If you don’t need to alter the female hormone system, then I would recommend first trying The Stork before going to the next step!

If CVS doesn’t carry it in the fall, can we order it online without a prescription?
In the summertime, once the FDA gives us final approval, you can purchase online through Rinovum or on Amazon, even before it hits the shelves of CVS in the fall.

After the semen has been collected into the cap, do you have to insert the cap into the vagina right away or can you wait?
We only recommend that immediately after collection, you insert. We have not done the studies for delayed inseminations, but in the future we are looking into a product that will allow for this.

When do you typically suggest someone start using the product?
When sex is no longer for fun, but for propagation—that is your moment to try using The Stork!

If a couple doesn’t have insurance, can they still use The Stork?
This actually isn’t an insurance-based program. The product costs $79 for one device, and we thought this would be a reasonable price for most people. Most couples trying to conceive are spending so much money on other ways to conceive, so this is a small moment to give them a true chance at conception.

Does this product work on woman with a tipped uterus?
Women have always been told they have anteverted or retroverted uteruses, which is inside of the back of the cervix. So the cervix is like a golf ball, and the uterus is behind it —up, down, or tilted in many ways. I tell people to picture a golf ball (the cervix) glued into a back of a balloon (uterus). As long as you dilate the balloon with The Stork device by pushing it in all the way, the device still reaches that golf ball. This is helpful, because The Stork places the sperm right next to the uterus.

How many months does it normally take to be successful with The Stork? How does it compare to IUI?
IntraUterine Insemination (IUI) gives about a 10-20% success rate. To be successful, typically you will need four or five attempts over five months. The Stork product has the same statistical value as IUI. It may take a couple months, but it may not. Infertility is a multifactorial, and every couple is different!

If you leave the cervical cap in longer, does it equal better results?
It really doesn’t. That six-hour window is really interesting. When you leave it in there for six hours, the sperm gets released into the cervical mucus and it actually gets longevity to its path.

Are there side effects?
Because we use implantable grade silicone, the same thing used for body implants, it is the least reactive material and we have had no complications or issues with the device. The only time you shouldn’t use it is if your physicians advises you as such.

Are you marketing to alternative demographics, for instance in place of surrogate mothers or for gay couples?
We love helping people with alternative lifestyles build their families! The Stork really caters to non-traditional couples because all you need is a donor and a recipient.

The crazy, invasive trials and tribulations of infertility treatment can be barbaric and painful. 
Two strong, amazing women I know who went through the experience, turned their physical and emotional travails into two incredible plays! We highly recommend you check them out if you ever have the chance. They're painfully funny productions and have been a great, cathartic, healing process for the performers and the audience! 

Journey to the Center of the Uterus by Kathleen Puls Andrade

This original show takes you on a roller coaster ride through the fertility fray with differing doctors, "supportive" friends who declare "you'd get pregnant if you weren't so fat!", adventures in the "special man room", and so much more. Through entertaining characters, animation by Andrew Eninger, interviews with men and women ages 35 to 85, and funny inventive music by the talented singer/songwriter Marshall Stern, the show promises to make the audience laugh while giving them perspective on the whole conception conundrum. This universally appealing show will make both men and women laugh, gasp, and think.

"Kathleen Puls Andrade's one-woman comedy recounts her taxing, marathon efforts to get pregnant despite being over 40 and having a uterus roughly the size of an "over-roasted cashew." One countrified musical number features... "Goin' down the hoo-ha highway" ( another song she rhymes "tutor us" and "uterus," which ain't half bad). ...the handful of quiet, truthful moments are incredibly moving. A scene where Puls Andrade receives a hope-dashing phone call while standing in line at a Circuit City store had me wiping away tears."
--Zac Thompson , Chicago Reader

Danielle Mari’s one-woman show, Inconceivable: Adventures in Reproductive Endocrinology and Other Absurdities, traces the bizarre and often funny rides at the Infertility Amusement Park. The message, however, reaches beyond personal experience, speaking to anyone who has, in the attempt to attain a dream, little by little, found herself acting like a crazy person.

I've seen both shows performed live, and as fabulously funny and poignant as these two are, we hope that the advent of The Stork age will mean far less invasive, painful, and expensive tortures are in store for more women than ever!  I wouldn't wish the battery of infertility tests and the treatment regime on my worst enemies, let alone my best friends.

Disclosure: Once again, this post was sponsored by The Stork and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

FOODIE TUESDAY: WIN a $50 Fresh Thyme Giftcard to Celebrate Grand Opening 4/23 #Freshthyme #Ad

It's Thyme to Celebrate a new, healthy market! 
ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and Fresh Thyme

Fresh Thyme is coming to Mount Prospect, with many other stores popping up in the area throughout the year.  Here at ChiIL Mama we're all about green living, eco-friendly choices, and eating healthy food, so we're more than happy to welcome Fresh Thyme to the area!  We're also super stoked to see Super Stolie and Miss Jamie from the Farm, Kindie Musician friends of ours, will be there to rock your socks off, with family friendly kids' tunes.  They frequently play Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids, a rockin' weekly kids' series where ChiIL Mama's the press sponsor.

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is elated to partner up with Fresh Thyme and thank them for providing a gift card for our giveaway. We have been paid to share the grand opening info with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own.

**Click Here for your chance to WIN a $50 Fresh Thyme gift card giveaway!  Then check out Fresh Thyme's GRAND OPENING festivities TOMORROW, April 23rd!**

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Announces First Grand Opening in Mount Prospect, IL 
on April 23, 2014

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a new specialty grocer featuring healthy and organic value-priced offerings, is excited to announce the grand opening for the first location in Mount Prospect on Wed. April 23, 2014 at 7 a.m. CST. The Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Arlene Juracek and other village officials will be present for the ribbon cutting at the 211 W. Rand Road store location.

 “The entire Fresh Thyme team welcomes community residents to come out and experience what the market has to offer,” CEO Chris Sherrell stated. “We are eager to meet our new neighbors and hope to see them on this exciting day.”

The grand opening event will feature food samplings and giveaways including a grocery bag giveaway to the first 200 customers on grand opening day. The celebration will continue throughout the week with events for kids including face painting, balloon animals, and performances by Miss Jamie from the Farm.

 “Grocery shopping has become as much a sensory experience as a necessity of life,” said Mount Prospect Mayor, Arlene Juracek. “We are excited that Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has chosen Mount Prospect as the first site for this new locally-focused grocer.”  

It’s time to raise some RUCKUS that Fresh Thyme has finally arrived in Mount Prospect, IL! We think people are going to love this new store and what it has to offer. 

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is thrilled to announce the first store grand opening in Mount Prospect, Ill., at 211 W. Rand Road. Doors open on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 a.m. CST. Fresh Thyme CEO, Chris Sherrell, will join the Mayor of Mount Prospect, Arlene Juracek, and the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce who will assist in the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony and officially welcome the new market to the community. 

Super Stolie helps celebrate Grand Opening!
Wednesday April 23, 11:00am Saturday April 26, 11:00am 

Grand Opening Scheduled Events:
The first 250 guests on Grand Opening Day will receive a limited edition, custom-designed Fresh Thyme reusable bag, created specifically for the Mount Prospect opening. The limited edition bag will be filled with over $50 worth of healthy, delicious groceries! Guests are encouraged to arrive early to reserve their spot in line; limit one bag per household.

Additionally, Fresh Thyme will celebrate Earth Day by giving free reusable grocery bags to the first 5,000 guests. In paying tribute to the ongoing community-wide celebration of 100 years of baseball history for the city, guests who wear their favorite team memorabilia on grand opening day will also be given a free color-designed reusable bag.
6:45 a.m. – Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Community Partners Check Presentation

7 a.m. – Doors Open ~ Thyme to Shop! *The first 250 guests in line receive grocery giveaway bag valued at over $50 of food items! 
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Kids Activities including Boar’s Head Hot Dog Cart 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Complimentary Face Painting and Balloon Animals 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Super Stolie Kids Performance  11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Outdoor Grilling Demonstrations and Samplings 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. Boar’s Head Live Demo Show In-Store

HELP LOCALLY: As part of their commitment to the community, Fresh Thyme will make a financial donation to three different local charities. These charities have shown continual support to the Mount Prospect community, and Fresh Thyme would like to recognize and applaud their efforts and plan to be part of their continued good works in Mt. Prospect and the surrounding area. The local charities include: CEDA Northwest, Mount Prospect Lions Club and the Mount Prospect Parks Foundation. For more information, please visit

At Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets we believe you shouldn’t have to give away the farm to feed your body nutritious food. We’re on a mission to improve the way our communities eat by offering fresh and healthy food at amazing values -all in a vibrant and fun shopping environment, with smiling friendly faces.
The foundation of healthy eating is often based on incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets. Therefore, at the core of our offerings is an abundant produce department, overflowing with fruits and vegetables, fresh from the farm, often locally grown and much of it organic. We’re so passionate about produce that we’ve made it the nucleus of the store, ensuring the bounty of fruits and vegetables is visible from all other departments.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is a new full-service specialty retailer focusing on fresh, healthy, natural and organic offerings, all at amazing values. The stores’ signature offering is an extensive produce department with organic and local fruits and vegetables. In addition, Fresh Thyme’s full-service offerings include a natural meat department, healthy deli foods to go, bakery goods, 400 bulk food bins, natural and organic groceries, dairy and frozen, as well as vitamins and body care products. Fresh Thyme will offer a NEW shopping experience to the Midwest, starting with the first store in Mount Prospect, Ill., opening April 23, 2014, followed by 59 additional stores by 2019. 

You can learn more by visiting, and be sure to keep in touch by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

Fresh Thyme is currently hiring a total of 100 local employees for this location. There are numerous full and part-time employment opportunities available in the Meat and Produce Departments such as meat cutter and produce clerk. 

Anyone interested may apply onsite at 211 W. Rand Road or by sending their resumes to

Disclosure: Once again, ChiIL Mama is elated to partner up with Fresh Thyme and thank them for providing a gift card for our giveaway. We have been paid to share the grand opening info with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own.

Comments left on our blog about Fresh Thyme can be used on Fresh Thyme promotional materials.
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