Monday, July 28, 2014

WIN ($119.80 Value) Family 4 Pack of Tickets to Deep River Waterpark & 4 $5 Food/Beverage bands

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Travel Kids at Deep River Waterpark!

Deep River Waterpark is located in NW Indiana, east of I-65 on US Hwy 30. They're THE largest waterpark in the area and easy to get to for the northern 1/2 of Indiana including Indy, Southern Michigan & the Chicago Metro Area. They're just about an hour away for us, coming from Avondale/Logan Square and just 30 minutes for our readers in Chicago's south suburbs. 

Check back with ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Travel Kids like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll have a photo/video filled recap of our Family Adventures at Deep River in the near future. We're rockin' the regional day trips this summer. We're your go to source for ChiILin' out in Chi, IL and beyond!

Disclaimer: ChiIL Mama is thrilled to partner up with Deep River and thank them for giving us review tickets for our family as well as tickets for our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.

Click HERE to enter to WIN ($119.80 Value) 4 2014 admission tickets + 4 $5 Food/Beverage bands. Enter through midnight 8/3/14! Tickets good through Labor Day 2014. 

Winner must be 21 or over and present valid ID at the park will call counter located in the group sales office.

What's ChiIL About Deep River?
Deep River Waterpark's prices are competitive and they offer many ways to save. 

Deep River Waterpark has staying power. They've been around for 20 seasons!

Deep River Waterpark is owned by Lake County Parks and is rated by Aquatics Magazine one of the top 3 publicly owned waterparks in the USA.  

They feature 46 acres of family fun and have attractions for all ages and intensity levels.

ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Tips List:
Bring a cooler to Deep River. No that's not a typo! As long as you leave the glass, knives and alcohol at home, you are welcome to BYO food! Deep River is THE only waterpark we know of that allows you to bring in coolers. 

Parking is also free, which rocks, and you even get a weather guarantee! Deep River has a policy that allows patrons a return visit if the park suspends operations on their visit due to bad weather. How cool is that?!

Want to keep it easy and let them feed you? There are loads of great on site options for chowing down including ice cream, pizza, Mexican food and more. Click here to check 'em out.

Check out Deep River on Facebook or Twitter for more great deals.

Disclaimer: Once again, ChiIL Mama is thrilled to partner up with Deep River and thank them for giving us review tickets for our family as well as tickets for our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.

Pandora Presents Cold War Kids Lollapalooza Kick Off Party at Concord Music Hall FREE With RSVP (21+)

You are invited to the first ever Pandora Summer Party in Chicago! 

Come ChiIL out in Chi, IL with ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama THIS Thursday.  Click HERE to join us.

Date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Time: 7pm - 10pm
Location: Concord Music Hall - 2047 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

Kick off the biggest festival weekend in Chicago with Pandora!  Join us for an exclusive, free performance by Cold War Kids, giveaways and cocktails at one of Chicago’s hottest concert venues.

Join the concert conversation with #PandoraSummerParty and follow @pandora_radio on Twitter!

RSVP will be on a first come, first served basis and capped at venue capacity.
RSVP does not guarantee admission if capacity is reached.


ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and Fly With iFLY
My 13 year old son, Dugan, are I are going flying today!  Check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often, for our photo filled recaps and reviews of our adventures! 

All ages can now enjoy the excitement of an aerial free-fall at iFLY, Chicago’s indoor skydiving experience. iFLY’s second Chicago area location at 1752 Freedom Drive in Naperville is now open for walk-in flights from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Beginning Friday, July 4, visitors can experience iFLY during its regular business hours, Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Anyone who has ever wanted to feel the singular rush of skydiving, from age three to 103, can make their dream a reality at iFLY.  The experience perfectly replicates the adrenaline-charged sensation of a skydiving free-fall while eliminating the daunting leap out of an airplane. Following a brief training session, all fliers are outfitted in a flight suit, helmet and goggles before entering the wind tunnel. To begin their flight, patrons simply lean forward onto a cushion of air (toward their friendly, certified iFLY instructor) and the rushing air allows them to float. First-time flyers are given the opportunity to learn basic belly flying. Like any skilled sport, with additional training, flyers can progress to advanced aerial gymnastic maneuvers.  

“We wish iFLY a lot of success,” says Naperville Mayor George Pradel. “I am excited for people to fly and experience the thrills of iFLY and all of the other attractions that Naperville has to offer.”

The iFLY experience is made possible utilizing a technology called the “vertical wind tunnel,” which was historically used by the military and professional skydivers for training. Four powerful, high-efficiency axial fans are mounted at the top of the building, channeling air down the side tunnels into the basement, and then up through the floor of the 14-foot-wide circular flight chamber, creating a strong upward draft.  This upward draft, which ranges in speed from approximately 80 to 175 miles per hour (depending on the weight and expertise level of the flyer), creates a stable, safe, wall-to-wall airflow that gently pushes guests aloft and makes it possible for them to fly.
From first-time flyers to professional skydivers, different flight packages are available based on level of experience, number of people and preferred flight time. The basic, beginners-level package for an individual includes two flights, complete with a personalized flight certificate for $69.95. Each flight is 60 seconds in length—actually longer than the approximate 45-second free-fall descent experienced when jumping out of an airplane. Double-length flights are also available at a reduced rate. Flyers who return to iFLY within three months of their last session are classified as “Return Flyers” and offered discounted packages. Experienced flyers also have the opportunity to fly in groups with others of the same skill level in the tunnel. 

The new iFLY Indoor Skydiving facilities are located in Rosemont at MB Financial Park at 5520 Park Place Rosemont and in the Freedom Commons at 1752 Freedom Drive in Naperville More information can be found at Guests can book flight reservations online at Walk-in flights are also accepted.

About iFLY
Austin-based iFLY Holdings is the world leader in the manufacturing, sales and operations of wind tunnel systems for recreational indoor skydiving, competitive skydiver training and military training. Under the brand names iFLY, SkyVenture, Airkix, Paraclete and Freezone, the company has 30 facilities operating around the globe, with expansion plans rolling out over the next few years.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Sunday August 3rd 2014, 1-3pm, free, all ages.
Woodlawn Cemetery, 7750 W Cermak Rd, Forest Park IL, 60130.
East of Des Plaines Ave. Western end of cemetery.

Need more info? 

(Inter)National CLOWN WEEK observance at SHOWMEN’S REST is a loving and festive remembrance of circus artists past, held in the nation’s most well known final resting place for circus artists, remembered especially for its elephant statues and roustabout headstones. This event includes speakers, placing of flowers, circus arts performances, lots of fun stuff for kids including activities and entertainment and contests with prizes, snacks and drinks, and many many many clowns.

The event is for kids of all ages. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and a youthful attitude. Children’s entertainers are welcome to come and share your talents after the ceremony.
Please Check out the Facebook Group!! Click HERE!!
Please Check out the Facebook Event Click HERE!!!!
Grab our 2014 press Release and Poster!! Click HERE!!!

Useful links:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Losing Gracefully

It's emotionally easy and exciting to win. But what do you do when they don't?! For naturally competitive kids it can be devastating.

My daughter had a tough time Sunday. The annual Chicago Beach Meet is a playful, fun, gymnastics competition that's outside, on the beach. But don't let the sand, sun and the relaxed dress code fool you. The competition is crazy fierce. She won a medal at Beach Meet her first year, as a 7 year old, and hasn't been able to place since. The past 3 years she's been zen about it, shrugging it off and jumping in the lake with friends. This year was different.

In theory, I know winning isn't everything... you can't win 'em all... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger... and all the platitudes and cliches. They all popped into my mind, but never made it out of my mouth. Her heartbreak was so raw that all I could do was hug her silently

I don't have all the answers. It's incredibly painful as a parent, to watch your kid get her hopes and dreams shattered. It's tough love to let them learn how to fall and fail. I told her it was fine to take a day and cry and rage and embrace her emotions. Then we watched a few funny movies, ordered pizza and made ice cream sundaes. Comfort is key. 

That night, even in her sleep, she tossed and turned and cried. The following day she was scheduled for team camp 9-noon, but she was mortified that all talk would be of the Beach Meet, and that she might cry in camp and that the other girls would make fun of her. So I made the executive call to let her take a down day. She was so happy and relieved at the reprieve. It was a simple call, and made a huge difference in her emotional well being & stress level. 

Once she was over the initial waves of anguish, we were able to talk about the meet more rationally, watch the video footage constructively, and put things into perspective. She had a lot to be proud of. I told her, she could give in and give up or take this as a challenge and rise to it, and after a day she was finally ready to hear that message and take it to heart. By Tuesday (today) she was eager to go back to training... kicking butt and taking names.

I've always been a pretty laid back parent--not overly pushy on the competitive front, but my daughter is uber competitive and hard on herself by nature, despite our efforts. Still, I've raised my kids to know they are fully loved and supported, and that I'm always proud of them no matter how they place or don't. And my daughter has matured a lot over the years, learning to control her emotions rather than be controlled by them. But here on the cusp of adolescence, with all it's tumultuous mood swings, I sat by helpless while she drowned in a sea of disappointment, anger, loss, fury, jealousy and self reproach.  But after the initial emotional tsunami, something must have sunk in, because she rebounded like a champ.

Sure, winning take a LOT of hard work, training and conditioning, but emotionally, winning is easy compared to losing! I told my daughter sometimes it takes more bravery, courage, and strength NOT to win. 

My 11 year old has gone to state 4 years in a row and won 24 blue ribbons & even a first place all around state trophy over the years she's competed. She trains 12 hours a week year round and 15 in the summer. But for every sport that has winners, there are also those kids who don't. What happens when a competitive kid gives it their all and it isn't enough? How do you teach a sobbing child how to lose gracefully?

Only 6 kids from her gym competed this year and they were in teams of 3 for the floor routine. The other 5 girls in her gym all got from 1 to 3 medals. She came home empty handed and sobbing her heart out.
The group she wasn't in placed for their routine and also got group standing medals. And all but one of the others placed in their individual events too.

At the beach meet each girl only competes one event plus floor (unlike all the other meets where they all do 4). Sage was slated for vault--her strongest event, but swapped in the final days because another girl had to get stitches and couldn't swing the bars.

As an 11 year old, she was finally one of the oldest in the 11 and under category and she really thought she had a good chance to place. Her bars routine was tight, she stuck her landing, and she rocked challenging moves. Still it wasn't enough.

It was heart wrenching to watch and know I couldn't just swoop in and make it all better. But in the long run, learning losing will be an invaluable lesson. No life fully lived escapes loss, and defeat (though never fun) is a powerful teacher. From the agony comes empathy. My daughter is already much more understanding and kind to others when she wins, having known how much it aches not to. Losing meets are just the first of many losses she may encounter--loves, jobs, possessions... And learning to weather those engulfing emotions, and come out standing, is one of the biggest wins possible.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gone Phishin' Thanks To The Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series! #APMusicSeries

I seriously felt like I WON The Illinois Lottery when we got the e-mail asking ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows if we'd like to partner up with Illinois Lottery and cover the Phish Concert Saturday night! My friend, D'Arcy, and I got the VIP treatment courtesy of The Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series! The view from the VIP deck at First Merit Bank Pavilion, Northerly Island was fabulous and we had a rockin' good time.

Disclosure:  Thanks to The Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series for providing me with 2 VIP tickets. As always, all opinions are my own.

Of course I couldn't get my pro camera in, so I made do with the kids' point n shoot and my phone, so the photos don't do the experience justice. If you follow ChiIL Mama on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook you've already had a real time sneak peek. 

It was truly a night to remember! Here's our Full Slide Show and we've embedded favorites below.

We had both ends of the continuum represented. My +1 D'Arcy had never seen a Phish show, so it was an incredibly fun way to see a first show. 

And I've been seeing Phish for 20+ years.
I've traveled to see them at The Gorge in Washington State, Las Vegas, Alpine Valley, Deer Creek, NYE 2000 in The Everglades and every Chicago show possible...UIC Pavilion, Northerly Island (back to the early days when they fit in Aragon Ballroom and even further back to the tiny Cubby Bear!)  

My kids both heard Phish in utero (and jumped around, kickin' to Fishman's drums) and then saw a bunch of shows in jogging strollers and baby backpacks. Phish is a great, family friendly show with all ages appeal. In fact, we saw quite a few kids and babies in slings. There were numerous pregnant women on the VIP Deck.

The last time I caught them before this, my now 13 year old son went with me to Northerly Island for Phish's last tour. I've lost count of how many shows I've seen, but even my kids (11 & 13 have seen 17 & 27 Phish shows respectively).  VIP is just 18+, though, so this time was a well deserved and much needed Mamas' Night Out.

Phish fans have somewhat of an undeserved reputation for being homeless hippie nomads. Phish attracts a wide range of ages and types of fans and many are intellectuals with advanced degrees and well paying jobs (despite fashion sense that includes renditions of drummer Fishman's infamous red doughnut dotted MuMu that he wears at EVERY show.)

Their fans are some of the kindest, most colorful & creative folks out there. Phish are hilarious, accomplished musicians who really know how to bring out the energy in a crowd and create a microcosm of magic and wonder. They truly shine live. 

We lounged around on pillowed chairs (cushy & down to earth) with candle light for most of the first set, with a great, front on view of the stage. Then we went to our actual seats Section A--Row 1--Seats 1 & 2!! which were pretty rockin' awesome too. 

The whole set was phenomenal, but I was stoked to hear "Carini", one of their darker, more intense songs and a favorite of mine. I also loved the geeky & glorious "Grind", where they do an acapella, Barbershop Quartet(esque) piece in which they sing their individual actual and combined ages broken down by days they've been alive! I was also happy they began the show with "Moma Dance", a sailing song and a play on word "The Moment Ends"-- a great choice for Northerly Island's lake side digs. It was especially amusing to me because I had JUST finished telling D'Arcy about Moma Dance as a primo example of classic Phish style, humor, wit... when they launched right in and played it. 

They've always had that type of energy around the shows. It's the same magic way we walked right up and found a whole group of my friends (even some in from other states for the shows), in the lot outside, among thousands, without using cell phones or even looking for them! 

Watching the light show with the Chicago city skyline as a back drop and Chinese Lanterns launching was a breathtaking immersion. Chris Kuroda, Phish's lighting designer, improvs the lights along with the evolving set, and has a devout following of his own! Unlike most arena shows on tour, where every night is more or less the same and the lights are a predictable cycle, Phish create an utterly unique show every night, and Kuroda steps up to feature them in the best possible light!

One of the high points of our evening was running into Jim Pollock, one of Phish's renowned poster artists on the VIP deck. He's a great guy, super personable and immensely talented. I've met him (and his wife and son) a few times over the years and he's very down to earth. His ties with Phish go way back to college days at Goddard when he roomed with Page McConnell. Since then he's done numerous t-shirt designs and highly coveted, numbered collector posters that have become crazy valuable.

He's also married to an amazing children's author, Esme Codell, which impressed my Montessori teacher friend D'Arcy more. I think her exact quote was, "Oh WOW. Cool! I love her books. I'm waaaay more impressed you're married to her. No offense, but I don't really know anything about you." That said, I'm impressed with Pollock's prints, and I'm lucky to have seen his studio where he hand prints his carvings. Collectors the world over agree! It was a treat to bump back into him Saturday and it's all thanks to our smokin' VIP seats via The Illinois Lottery. 

We'd hoped to meet some of the AP Music Series people, to thank them in person and shoot a few photos, but Phish was on a 3 night run and they worked the night before we were there, but not Saturday. 

Still, we're nothing but ecstatic at the opportunity, and thrilled to be chosen. It was a stellar experience.  Want to find out more about the Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series? Click here for all the details.  You too could have a lucky live show experience!

ChiIL Mama's Phone Favs:
(highlights from our real time social media blitz during the show on FB, Twitter & Instagram)

Carini -- one of Phish' darker, heavier songs and a long time favorite of mine!

ChiIL Mama ChiILin' in Chi, IL with Jim Pollock, Phish artist, and musician, Christopher Ferrer!! 

Cobalt blue nails, or as D'Arcy said, "Tardis blue". Goes great with a Kuroda light show!!

VIP Selfie!

Section A... Row 1... Seat 1... Feeling #1 special thanks to The Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series! 

 Rock Star Seats!!

Thanks again Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series. You made my summer!

Disclosure:  Thanks to The Illinois Lottery Anything’s Possible® Music Series for providing me with 2 VIP tickets. As always, all opinions are my own.

WIN a Free 1/2 day Browns Canyon trip on the Arkansas River for 2 people ($134 value) #WhiteWaterRafting #Travel #Coupon

ChiIL Travel Kids and ChiIL Mama are giving away rafting trips!

If you're considering a Buena Vista, Colorado getaway before August 31, 2015, enter here to win a FREE 1/2 day Browns Canyon trip on the Arkansas River for 2 people.  Our family went White Water Rafting last summer in Vail, CO and it was a high point of our trip for our then 10 & 12 year olds. My husband and I had both been rafting multiple times but it was the kids' first foray into the fabulous fun of Colorado White Water rafting. Get out and make some memories of your own. We'll even help some of our readers do it for FREE!

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is happy to partner with US Family Bloggers for this giveaway. Thanks to The Adventure Company for providing the trip.  All opinions are our own.

ChiIL Mama's daughter, Sage, and husband, Dug, enjoy some river fun in and OUT of the raft during the still waters between rapids. Photo Credit: M. Hripko (a fellow rafter brave enough to bring his camera!)

WIN a Free 1/2 day Browns Canyon trip on the Arkansas River for 2 people ($134 value). Enter HERE. Entries accepted through midnight August 4, 2014. 

This popular trip is 9.5 miles of exciting class III whitewater, spectacular canyon scenery, and amazing mountain views! Meet in the morning or the afternoon at our Adventure Base Camp in beautiful Buena Vista, CO. Minimum age of 6. Offer expires 8/31/2015. 
NOTE: Winner must agree to Post a Trip Review on Trip Advisor.

Special Offer For All Our Readers:
FREE WETSUIT PACKAGE (a $16 value - see coupon for details).
The rivers in Colorado are certainly flowing this summer! As a result of the above average snowpack we received this past winter and the cooler spring temperatures that prevented rapid early season snowmelt, river flows have been very sustainable this season.
Photo Credit: The Adventure Company

Since 1987, The Adventure Company has been setting the standard for top quality white water rafting! In order to ensure our guests have a safe and fun trip, we only hire guides that have at least four years of commercial white water guiding experience. As the only company in Colorado with this strict guide experience policy, our guests will have an expert guide even on a beginner trip.

The Adventure Company guides are able to share their knowledge of the river, canyon geology, point out wildlife, and tell stories to their guests because their high level of experience and confidence means they are not just focusing on getting through the rapids. Our guides know the river like the back of their hand and they give their guests an education and fun experience.

To ensure the safety of our guests The Adventure Company takes extra measures by doing the following:
-ONLY hiring guides that have a minimum of four years of commercial white water rafting experience

-Adhering to state regulations regarding river flow cutoff levels for commercially guided trips

-Employing an expert "safety kayaker" on trips to direct and assist any guest if they become a "swimmer" and are no longer a "rafter." This helps ease the guest and ensures that their time in the water is greatly minimized.

-We add a 2nd guide to the boat for added safety and security during high water if our guests are challenged in any way, of a young age or elderly.

-Keeping our boats on the river close together and establishing an organized sequence so that should a rescue arise, our boats have the ability to help each other very quickly.

-Training for safety and rescue protocol and requiring our guides to be CPR/First Aid certified. Most of our guides also have advanced certifications and Wilderness Medicine training

-Ensuring our equipment and rental gear is always updated, maintained and operable.

Photo Credit: The Adventure Company

Disclosure: Once again, ChiIL Mama is happy to partner with US Family Bloggers for this giveaway. Thanks to The Adventure Company for providing the trip.  All opinions are our own.

WIN A Pretty Muddy 5K Entry $69.50 Value Each (2 Available) #PrettyChi #fitness

WIN a $69.50 Pretty Muddy Women's Mud Run Entry for Milwaukee WI, Chicago IL, or Richmond, VA (2 available)!

Here at ChiIL Mama, it's been our great pleasure to be part of The Team Pretty Muddy Blogger Network for all 3 years of their existence now. Last summer I was in their first Family Wave EVER, right here in the Chicago region with my two kids and a friend of ours who is the daughter of a breast cancer survivor who ran in an earlier Pretty Muddy wave with a group of survivors.  We had a BLAST and highly recommend it!!

Click here for our full photo filled (& mud filled) recap.

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is elated to be partnering again with Pretty Muddy for the 3rd year. Thanks to Pretty Muddy for providing our giveaway tickets. As always, all opinions, photos, and experiences are our own.

Enter HERE for your chance to WIN!

We're giving away TWO entries to Pretty Muddy to 2 of our lucky readers. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and do something great for your body and spirit. Mud runs are FUN!  Pretty Muddy also donates to cancer research, so you can do some social good by running as well.

Entries open nation wide and can be used in ANY upcoming 2014 Pretty Muddy races. Enter through midnight Tuesday, July 29th. Spread the word via social media for additional entries. Check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often for more great giveaways, interviews, news, reviews, original content & photo/video filled features. 


August 2nd Milwaukee, WI
August 16th Chicago, IL
September 20th Richmond, VA

Super Grrrrrrrrls, Sage & Leah.

Team ChiIL Mama Vs. MUD.  Bring it!! Dugan, Sage & Leah are ready.

Go at your own pace. Walk-run-slither-crawl... Stay and play or do fun obstacles as many times as you want. Everyone who crosses the finish line gets a medal!

Kids 13 and under (female or male) are just $25 and run in the Family Wave at 1pm

Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventurous obstacle course mud run for any woman who wants to get outside, spend time with friends and have fun.

– 5k Course (3.1 miles, run or walk)
– Women Only (sorry, guys)
– Mud (lots of it!)
– Architectural Obstacles (much better than shabby hay bales and shaky plywood)
– Pretty Epic Finish Line Party (Entertainment, music, drinks & celebration galore)

Click here for more info and to register today.

Disclosure: Once again, ChiIL Mama is elated to be partnering again with Pretty Muddy for the 3rd year. Thanks to Pretty Muddy for providing our giveaway tickets. As always, all opinions, photos, and experiences are our own.

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