Thursday, October 23, 2014

No DEET No Skeetos With Guardian Wilderness 8hr #WeBeatDEET #EcoFriendly #GreenLiving

I'm all about keeping my kids Deet free and Guardian limits the bites without toxic chemicals.

Parenting is full of tough choices. Hmmm. Poison or Pests?! DEET or skeets?! How about neither!! Here at ChiIL Mama we LOVE to ChiIL out outdoors, go fall camping, & hit the archery range. 

Guardian Repellent Wilderness 8 hour DEET free works GREAT. I'm stoked to know it's out there. 

Disclosure: Thanks to Influenster Guardian VoxBox for our complimentary sample for review purposes. As always, all opinions are our own.

Joy! I keep my kids far away from DEET but we love to spend time enjoying the great outdoors with our big dogs, and it sucks to get swarmed by blood sucking mosquitos & ticks and come home itchy and covered in bites. Guardian's got your back! This product works great. Highly recommend it. Thanks to Influenster and VoxBox for sending a complimentary sample our way to review. So stoked to know there's a non toxic solution to the bug battle that really works.

Disclosure: Once again thanks to Influenster Guardian VoxBox for our complimentary sample for review purposes. As always, all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: Earth to Echo Now Out On Digital HD, Blu-ray & DVD #ChiILFlixPicks

Earth to Echo
Now Available on Digital HD™ as of October 7 and Blu-ray and DVD October 21

We've been promoting this release for months now, and thanks to our friends over at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, our Blu-ray copy just got expedited to our door. Joy! This contemporary E.T., buddy story is one of our favorite new releases. Highly recommended. This is a great addition to any home collection.

We just spent an awesome family movie night together, all watching Earth to Echo, and the adults enjoyed it every bit as much as the kids did! This little tech savvy, Owl shaped alien is sure to steal your heart.

This wonderful journey, “full of adventure, bravery, excitement, and friendship…has something for audiences of all ages” (Claudia Puig, USA Today). The “lively and likable” (Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times) tale is told through the eyes of Tuck, Munch and Alex, a trio of pals who make an out-of-this-world discovery. After receiving signals on their phones, they meet Echo, a small, but amazingly energetic, alien trying to make his way back to his home planet. As they race to help their new friend, the boys will discover that little Echo has touched their hearts in unexpected ways and changed their lives forever.

Blu-ray Special Features
Creating the Truck Scene
Casting the Characters
“We Made That!” The Making of Earth to Echo
Friends No Matter How Far
Six Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer

DVD Special Features
Friends No Matter How Far
Theatrical Trailer

Earth to Echo Blu-ray
Street Date:
October 21, 2014
Prebook Date:
September 17, 2014
Screen Format:
Widescreen 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
English / Spanish
Total Run Time:
133 minutes
U.S. Rating
Closed Captioned:

Earth to Echo DVD
Street Date:
October 21, 2014
Prebook Date:
September 17, 2014
Screen Format:
Widescreen 1.78:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
English / Spanish
Total Run Time:
106 minutes
U.S. Rating
Closed Captioned:

About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programing. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and Digital HD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Download Your Dragons TODAY -- How to Train Your Dragon 2 Soars onto Digital HD

Happy Wingsday! 


Here at ChiIL Mama we LOVE the How to Train Your Dragon series--the movies, the episodes and the LIVE touring show! We're particularly enamored with How to Train Your Dragon 2, where they aged up everybody's favorite Viking dragon tamers, Hiccup and his friends. 

We're so happy that this series has strong, female characters, handicapped heroes, and celebrates brains over brawn. The writing and animation are phenomenal. We could watch it time and time again. This is a keeper!

We're not the only ones impressed with How to Train Your Dragon 2. It's undoubtedly one of the year's best family films, and it's now available to purchase on digital--which means Hiccup, Toothless and their friends are just a click away!

Still hesitating? To celebrate the release, we've got an infographic with a humorous, retro look at the multiple benefits of buying films in the digital format. Dig those cat glasses! 

Easy as pie. What are you waiting for? 

“The best animated film of the year…fun for the whole family”
– Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun Times

Catch the all-new animated adventure, DreamWorks DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS, exclusively with the Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD Double Pack and Digital HD

Soaring past the $500 million mark at the global box office, DreamWorks Animation’s HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 is not only one of the best reviewed films of the year, but also 2014’s highest grossing animated film to-date and one of the top ten grossing films of the year in any genre.

The thrilling second chapter of the epic HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago when Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment releases DreamWorks Animation’s critically acclaimed HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 on Digital HD October 21 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD November 11.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, the next chapter to the Academy Award® nominated film released in 2010, is “sensational…an instant animated classic,” proclaims Access Hollywood. A hit with audiences and critics alike, the film received an outstanding audience reaction with a coveted “A” CinemaScore® and certified 92% fresh on Variety’s Peter Debruge declares the film is “Braver than ‘Brave,’ more fun than ‘Frozen’…Dragon delivers.” It’s a must-own title for the whole family!

Fans will get even more excitement, adventure and, of course, more dragons when DreamWorks Animation releases DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS, an all-new animated adventure featuring the original voice cast. A hunt for lost sheep soon turns into a high-flying sprint in the all-new epic adventure as Hiccup and friends battle to become the first Dragon Racing Champion of Berk! DRAGONS: DAWN OF THE DRAGON RACERS will be available exclusively on the Blu-ray™ combo pack, DVD double pack and Digital HD.

The all-star film talent features Jay Baruchel (This Is The End), two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Craig Ferguson (“The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”), America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), Academy Award® nominee Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Neighbors), T.J. Miller (“Silicon Valley”) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).  The film also adds the voice talent of Academy Award® nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) and Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”).

The Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD feature hours of bonus materials that explore the world of dragons and more. Furthermore, the Blu-ray™ and Digital HD contain four exclusive featurettes, deleted scenes and a 60-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film, shot and created by the film’s writer and director Dean DeBlois.

DreamWorks Animation How To Train Your Dragon 2 Blu-ray™ & Digital HD include:  

Feature film in high definition 

Special Features:
  • Fishleg’s Dragon Stats – How much do you know about your favorite dragons? Explore the Dragon 2 Guide and learn more about your favorite fire-breathing friends!
  • Drago’s War Machines – Gobber the Belch narrates this inside look at the fierce creatures and “high-tech” weapons used by Drago to expand his growing dragon army.
  • Berk’s Dragon World – Explore the massive stable created to house the dragons of Berk, along with other changes made on the island to promote harmonious living.
  • Hiccup’s Inventions in Flight – Learn the secrets of how Hiccup and Toothless work together to form the ultimate high-flying team in this fascinating interactive tour.
  • Deleted Scenes -- The awesome adventure continues with telling deleted and extended scenes, including action-packed footage you couldn’t see in theaters!
  • Commentary by Simon Otto, Bonnie Arnold, Dean DeBlois, and Pierre-Olivier Vincent
  • Where No One Goes: The Making of How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Writer-Director Dean DeBlois and his team take you behind the scenes of creating the film’s eye-popping visual effects and epic story
  • Dragon Races – Catch the thrilling aerial action and exciting play-by-play commentary as you cheer on your favorite riders in a spectacular dragon race!
  • Image Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • World of DreamWorks Animation – Move to the music videos from your favorite  DreamWorks Animation feature films

DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series and live entertainment properties, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE® Magazine for five consecutive years. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation ranked #12 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation’s feature films are produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 29 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Puss In Boots, and The Croods.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programing. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and DigitalHD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Alice Opening At Lookingglass And Closing At Upended #theatre

The Chicago Theatre scene is a microcosm, a world of it's own full of magical coincidences and oddly interwoven themes. This season is no exception. We're way beyond stoked here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows that one of our favorite stories is springing to life in parallel universes in very different ways. 

Alice (of Wonderland fame) is popping up in mirror worlds across town, at the aptly named Lookingglass Nov 12-Feb 15 and all over Andersonville (beginning at the Neo-Futurarium) in an "ambulatory, multi-disciplinary theatrical experience" through Nov. 2. These productions are both highly anticipated remounts and we can't wait to catch it all!


Photo: Johnny Knight

8 Andersonville venues, 9 artists, 12 chapters, 6 rabbits, 1 wild afternoon. Noelle Krimm gives audiences a seat at the tea party with a re-imagining of her 2004 hit, Alice. The show runs through with tours beginning at 1:00 p.m. and leaving every 15 minutes until 2:00 p.m. All tours start at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. Space is limited and advanced purchase is very highly recommended. Don't be late!

Recommended by The Trib, The Sun-Times, The Reader, Newcity Stage and more, here’s what some of the critics had to say about 2004’s Alice.
Upended Productions’ Alice – The reviews are in!!
“Throughout the whimsical and comic episodes, there are consistent reminders of the subjective nature of reality, a medicine that goes down easily, delivered as it is with a bit of sugar—not pepper—and a wry touch. Attend Alice with an open spirit and light heart, or arrive as a grump and a cynic and leave with a smile and a less-heavy step nonetheless.”                    -Erika Mikkalo                                                    
“Other standout vignettes include the most interactive portions, like the tea party and croquet game led by the ShowParty! collective. A headier but equally captivating highlight is the eleventh chapter from Sid Branca & Amanda Fink, staged in a pet supply shop, wherein the trial over the tarts becomes a sort of nonsensical polemic attack on meaning and ownership while revealing much truth through almost aggressive wordplay.”                                                              - Raymond Rehayem                                                                               
“But Alice is more than its ambulatory conceit—it also features witty and imaginative writing that gets to the emotional core of the original. Chad the Bird’s meditations on humans and animals seemed both apt and fitting for a story that is filled with many anthropomorphic animals. A final scene towards the end of the play poses a choice between dreams and the reality that inspires them. Alice is ultimately a fun production that is at times unfaithful to the letter of the original, but fully faithful to its spirit. It invites you to stroll through its Wonderland, but urges you to eventually wake up, refreshed, from the dream.
                                                                                            - Ivy Perez
And perhaps most importantly...
“People who would like this show are people who like bunnies, insanity, and lollipops. I think should definitely see this show. It is so funny, and I had so much fun, and I think you should bring all your best friends to it because they will have a lot of fun. It is basically like you get to go on the experience of going to Wonderland with your friend.”                               -Ada Grey
Alice is an ambulatory, multi-disciplinary theatrical experience. The audience, traveling in groups of 15, follows a white rabbit to various locations throughout the Andersonville neighborhood. Ducking into storerooms and back patios, through bookstores and taverns and galleries, the audience IS Alice and the Andersonville neighborhood becomes a wonderland. Chapters of the book are divided amongst Chicago fringe theater companies, visual and film artists and performed in various locations throughout the neighborhood.
Locations include: The Neo-Futurarium, Simon's Tavern, The Landmark of Andersonville, Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities, Rad Vintage, George's Ice Cream and Sweets, The Swedish American Museum, and Women and Children First Bookstore.
(Wow! Just WOW. So many of our favs are representing here.)  Alice features original work by: The Neo-Futurists, Striding Lion Performance Group, The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre, ShowParty, Sophisticated Cornbread, David Kodeski, Corrbette Pasko, Emmy Bean, Josh Zagoren, Greg Allen, Bilal Dardai, Dina Walters, Logan Kibens, John Randle and other special guests.
Don't sit in the dark and wait to be entertained. Be Alice. Chase the rabbit!
Noelle Krimm states, "I originally created the show for The Neo-Futurists in 2004. It was a great success and I have often thought of remounting it. This fall is the 10th anniversary of the first production and it falls at a time when I think we all need to be able to look around and see a little wonder."
Noelle Krimm (Creator/Rabbit) After being thoroughly educated in theater/musical theater performance at the Florida School of the Arts and Florida State University, Noelle became a Neo-Futurist ensemble member in 1999 where she wrote and performed regularly in their signature show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind for 10 years (and still comes back every once in a while). While with The Neo-Futurists, Noelle also created several full-length original shows including The Neo-Futurists' first full-length musical, City Girl!, which had an extended run in Chicago in 2002 and went to the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2003 where it won Artists' Choice and Critics' Choice for Best Musical. In 2004, Noelle created and curated Alice for The Neo-Futurists which involved more than 50 cast members from numerous experimental theater companies and took place over an entire city block of Andersonville. Using a similar model, she created Fear in 2009 which, touted as "a thinking man's haunted house, " involved dozens of different artists who worked in mediums from graffiti to modern dance. Fear took place throughout the fairly creepy building which houses The Neo-Futurarium. The 2014 production of Alice is the inaugural show for Krimm's new production company.
Upended Productions was founded by Neo-Futurist alumni Noelle Krimm in the summer of 2014. After creating Alice and Fear for The Neo-Futurists, Noelle became really interested in creating theatrical events that collage the work of many different artists into one semi-coherent piece.
Upended Productions' Alice is part of Chicago Artists Month 2014, the 19th annual celebration of Chicago's vibrant art community presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. For more information, visit

Sign up for a specific tour time by purchasing tickets at Tickets are $20 or $15 with a valid student ID. All performances begin at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. For more information, visit or call 773-817-3956.

Lookingglass Alice
Adapted and Directed by David Catlin
From the works of Lewis Carroll
Produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium

November 12, 2014 – February 15, 2015
Press Opening: Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2pm
Location: Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson  
Tickets: $35-$45 previews, $45-$75 regular run

Imagination soars and laughter and awe abound when this signature production returns with all its gravity-defying spectacle and breathtaking theatricality.  Lookingglass Alice is a marvel for all ages, transporting audiences down the rabbit hole to a circus-infused playground for an exhilarating wonderland adventure inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.

Lookingglass Theatre Company announces casting for the return of signature Lookingglass production Lookingglass Alice, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin from the works of Lewis Carroll, produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium. Artistic Associates Lauren Hirte and Lindsey Noel Whiting both return to share the role of Alice. Lookingglass Alice runs November 12, 2014 – February 15, 2015 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. Tickets are currently on sale to the general public and can be purchased through the box office at (312) 337-0665 or  

Lookingglass Alice features Ensemble Members Kevin Douglas (Mad Hatter) and Anthony Fleming III (Cheshire Cat) and also includes Molly Brennan (Red Queen), Artistic Associate Lauren Hirte (Alice), Samuel Taylor (White Knight) and Artistic Associate Lindsey Noel Whiting (Alice).

The creative team includes Ensemble Member Daniel Ostling (scenic design), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costume design), Artistic Associate Alison Siple (associate costume design), Artistic Associate Christine A Binder (lighting design), Production Affiliate Ray Nardelli (sound design), Sarah Burnham (properties), Artistic Associate Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi (choreographer) and Lee Brasuell (rigger). Jeri Frederickson is the stage manager for Lookingglass Alice.

Imagination soars and laughter and awe abound when this signature production returns with all its gravity-defying spectacle and breathtaking theatricality.  Lookingglass Alice is a marvel for all ages, transporting audiences down the rabbit hole to a circus-infused playground for an exhilarating wonderland adventure inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.

FACT SHEET/Lookingglass Alice

Dates:  Previews:  November 12 – 21, 2014
            Regular run:  November 25, 2014 – February 15, 2015

Times:      Tuesdays:                    3:00 p.m. (Dec 23 only)
7:30 p.m. (Nov 25; Dec 23 and 30 only)
Wednesdays:                1:00 p.m. (Dec 24 only)
3:00 p.m. (Nov 26, Dec 31 only)
7:30 p.m.
Thursdays:                   3:00 p.m. (except Nov 13, 20, 27; Dec 25; Jan 1, 8, 22; Feb 5 and 12)
7:30 p.m. (except Nov 25, Dec 25 and Jan 1)
                 Fridays:                        3:00 p.m. (Nov 28, Dec 26 and Jan 2 only)
7:30 p.m.
                          Saturdays:                    3:00 p.m. (except Nov 15 and 22)
7:30 p.m. (except Nov 22)
Sundays:                      3:00 p.m. (except Nov 23)
7:30 p.m. (Dec 7, 14, 21; Jan 11 and 25;
Feb 8 and 15 only)

Performances:  Touch tour/Audio described performance, Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 3 p.m.
Open captioned performance, Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 3 p.m. Partial support for open captioning provided by Theatre Development Fund.

Location:          Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.  
Prices:      Previews are $25 - $40
Regular Run is $40 - $80
A limited number of student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with valid student ID.
Groups of 8 or more patrons save up to 20%. Call the box office for details.

Box Office: Buy online at
or by phone at (312) 337-0665
The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works,
821 N. Michigan Ave.

About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive.  Collaborative.  Transformative.  Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students.  Now in its 27th season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company has staged 62 world premieres, received 101 Joseph Jefferson awards and nominations, and work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis.  Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States.

The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003.  In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.

Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Andrew White, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Artistic Director Philip R. Smith, Artistic Director of New Work Heidi Stillman, a 24-member artistic ensemble, 15 artistic associates, 11 production affiliates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman Joe Brady of Jones Lang LaSalle and President John McGowan of CTC | myCFO (a part of BMO Financial Group). For more information, visit

OPENING: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS Nov 6-30th at Allstate & United Center #ChiRingling

Iconic 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

Here at ChiIL Mama we're HUGE fans of the circus arts and we love it when the big shows come to town. This one looks particularly incredible as we're also enamored with mythological beasts! Get your tickets now for this unique melding of circus stars and the creatures of legends. We also dig the multicultural flavor that comes from having some of the top performers in the world from 25 different countries all collaborating.
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.
Find Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and follow the latest updates on Twitter @RinglingBros #ChiRingling.

About Feld Entertainment:
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment's productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Nuclear Cowboyz®, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information on Feld Entertainment is available online at

WIN 6 Tickets To Aquatic Experience & Live Shark Encounter November 7-9th #giveaway

Second annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago
makes a splash at 
Schaumburg Convention Center
with additional 130+ tanks of tropical fish,
return of Live Shark Encounter and 
Kids Aquarium Contest

**ChiIL Mama is giving away tickets for 2 adults & up to 4 kids. Click HERE to enter through midnight 10/27.**

November 7-9, 2014

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

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and our photo filled recap from last year. Here's our full slide show. Favorites are embedded below.

We had a great time last year. My daughter, Sage (10) won a Beta in a ball toss game and we found lots of great deals for our 30 gallon tropical aquarium. We got creative with some super cool sea glass and picked up some extra fish food for a song. Come on out and explore the Aquatic Experience and LIVE Shark Encounter. Family friendly fun.

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. 

** Check out the cool Kids Aquarium Contest for children ages 5-16! Registration 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

FOODIE TUESDAY: Mini Pumpkin Pie Brûlées Recipe & Seasonal Fun From Our Friends at Pepperidge Farm #recipe

Looking for easy, unique snacks for school lunches, Trick or Treat goodies beyond candy, and seasonal pumpkin desserts? Pepperidge Farm has some sweet ideas for you. Here at ChiIL Mama, Goldfish Crackers and Pretzel Goldfish are a school lunch staple. We've also been know to enjoy a Milano cookie... or two.

Seasonal pastry pleaser – Kick off  the crisp fall season with easy-to-make Mini Pumpkin Pie Brûlées. Simply fill Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Cups with a rich pumpkin mixture and bake until golden. Dress each cup up with a caramelized sugar round and they’re guaranteed to earn you that A+. (Full recipe included below)

PREP: 20 minutes
BAKE: 20 minutes
COOL: 20 minutes

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.  Spray 36 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups with vegetable cooking spray.  Beat the egg yolks, pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk. 
  2. Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square.  Cut the pastry into 36 (2-inch) squares.  Press the pastry squares into 36 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture into each pastry cup.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown and the filling is set.  Let the pastries cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes.  Remove the pastries and let cool completely on the wire racks.
  4. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 450°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Create 18 (2-inch) circles of sugar on each baking sheet, using about 1/4 teaspoon sugar for each circle. 
  5. Bake one baking sheet for 5 minutes or until the sugar circles are bubbly and a deep caramel color.  Let the sugar circles cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack.  Repeat with the remaining baking sheet.  Using a small metal spatula, remove the sugar circles from the baking sheets.  Press 1 sugar circle at an angle into the top of each pastry.

Snacks for everyone – Easy to carry, easy to eat, single serve Goldfish crackers in 20 count variety packs are a back-to-school must for lunches & Halloween parties too.

Sweet cookies, ready to serve – Pepperidge Farm Cookies make it easy to say hello to a new teacher or parent committee. Wrap of a few of your seasonal favorites – no baking required –  in small cellophane bags that match your school’s colors for an instant spin on the classic cookie basket. For an extra seasonal twist, use Pepperidge Farm Milano Pumpkin Spice cookies or Dessert Shop Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies!

Monday, October 20, 2014



Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, November 19–December 31, 2014

Here at ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama we've been eagerly awaiting the return of this show since we saw an early version workshopped last season. It's truly hilarious! Some dates are sold out already so don't delay. Get your tickets now, before it's too late.

My son, Dugan, and I had the great pleasure of catching this production last year, when they were still workshopping it and we LOVED it! If you like your holiday musicals filled with scorpions and worms, multiple mysterious diseases, Jamaican Rasta Marley, kickin' tunes, and laugh out loud hilarity... this is SO the show for you!

I know Autumn Equinox has barely happened and Halloween is still a ghost of future coming. It's too early to think about holiday theatre, right? Wrong. This is one of our ultra favorite, top picks here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama. Get your tickets now before the word spreads. It's in the small theatre at Chicago Shakespeare after all. The Q Brothers are geniuses of the rhyming word who will entrance and amuse all ages.

Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of the Hip-Hop genre or if you love Hip-Hop and aren't so crazy about theatre... or holiday classics, or whatever, GO already! Before fall even hit, my 13 year old was eagerly asking if this show was returning and practically begging to go.

Do note, there is some language i.e.: "Merry Chris My Ass Mas" instead of Bah Humbug, so it may be inappropriate for young parrots, that might mortify you with quips like that at the family holiday dinner table. And like the more traditional versions of A Christmas Carol, some of it is a bit grim reaper scary. But we loved it and plan to take both our tween & teen this year.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) brings audiences a fresh take on a beloved classic, A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol, developed with hip-hop sensations the Q Brothers and CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton. After a special work-in-progress presentation last season, Chicago Shakespeare is proud to premiere this hip-hop reinterpretation of the perennial holiday favorite by Charles Dickens. A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol rocks the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespearefor a limited engagement, November 19–December 31, 2014.
Written and performed by GQ, JQ, Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle, this new adaptation takes on the cherished holiday tale and wrestles it from its classic roots with irreverence, an array of music styles and a lot of heart. The story is underscored with beats spun live by DJ Super Nova at the turntables, mashing up everything from reggae and dancehall music, to dubstep and epic rock ballads.

Audiences will encounter Dickens’ familiar characters in new and unexpected forms—from a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge with an erotic passion for cash to a Jamaican Jacob Marley and Lil’ Tim, the tiniest Cratchit with a slew of maladies. The time-traveling Ghosts take Scrooge on a voyage through the hip-hop ages—decade by decade from past to present to future—documenting the evolving musical art form. This holiday treat promises to be as cheeky, intelligent and street smart as audiences have come to expect from the Q Brothers.

A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol marks the third collaboration between Creative Producer Rick Boynton and the Q Brothers, following two Shakespearean “ad-rap-tations”—Funk It Up About Nothin’ and Othello: The Remix. Premiering at Shakespeare’s Globe for the London 2012 Globe to Globe Festival, Othello: The Remix has toured to festival venues around the world, playing to sold-out houses of multi-generational and culturally diverse audiences in Edinburgh, London, Australia, Germany, South Korea and—most recently—Gdansk, Poland. Its extended five-month Chicago engagement broke records for Chicago Shakespeare’s longstanding CST for $20 program for patrons under 35 years of age. Early next year, Othello: The Remix is set to travel to Australia’s Arts Centre Melbourne (February 18–22, 2015), Dubai and Abu Dahbi in the United Arab Emirates with Art for All (March 1–5, 2015) and to New Zealand for the Auckland Arts Festival (March 5–22, 2015).

The design team includes Scenic and Costume Designer Scott Davis, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug and Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal. Developed with Rick Boynton, A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol is written by GQ, JQ, Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle with music by GQ and JQ. Directed by GQ and JQ, A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol is presented in association with Richard Jordan Productions. More at

Weekday Performances
November 25; December 2, 9, 16, 23 – 7:30 p.m.

November 19, 26; December 3, 10, 17 – 7:30 p.m.
December 31 – 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

November 20; December 4, 11, 18 – 7:30 p.m.

Weekend Performances
November 21, 28; December 5, 12, 19, 26 – 7:30 p.m.

November 22, 29; December 6, 13, 20, 27 – 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

November 23, 30; December 14, 21, 28 – 3:00 p.m.

A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol is presented in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, November 19–December 31, 2014. Tickets are $30–48 and may be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visiting

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