Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lisle and Witches and Saige Oh My JULY 3 – 6, 2013

JULY 3 – 6, 2013

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama at Lisle's Eyes to the Skies Festival.   We're pretty stoked to see The Wicked Witch in flight!   

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, will be flying its own WICKED Hot Air Balloon, to Lisle, Illinois, for the “Eyes to the Skies Festival.”  Their very own Defying Gravity hot air balloon will appear at the festival July 3 – 6, 2013.  The WICKED hot air balloon is making this special appearance in honor of the smash hit musical’s return to Chicago’s Oriental Theatre Oct. 30 – Dec. 21, 2013.

WICKED is sure to be one of this year’s most treasured balloons at the Eyes to the Skies Festival, which is celebrating its 31st Anniversary. 

Ever since Saige, American Girl of the Year appeared on the scene for 2013, girls across the nation have become obsessed with colorful, gorgeous hot air balloons.   My own 10 year old, Sage, is no exception.   That was the only thing she requested for her birthday!

We read the American Girl book, Saige Paints the Sky, together as a family, in which Saige's dad owns and flies his own hot air balloon that Saige did the design for.   She takes her friends up in it to celebrate her 10th.   We couldn't Paint the Sky with a hot air balloon ride for our Saige, but we all chipped in and bought her the balloon, and took all her friends to Jump Sky High which was a blast!!   (Full photo/video feature coming soon.)

Balloon love is only bound to intensify with the brand new release of the Saige Paints the Sky MOVIE on July 2nd on Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack.  The movie will also air for free on TV Saturday, July 13, at 8/7C on NBC.  

We got a press preview copy and it was a huge hit in our household with the 10 year old girl demographic.   The New Mexico locations are stunningly gorgeous.  The story is a compelling one of inner and outer strength, overcoming fears and obstacles, practicing hard and fighting for the arts.   And Jane Seymour rocks as Saige's Grandma, Mimi.   The Saige movie also introduces Sidney Fullmer as Saige, a talented artist with a passion for horses, in this modern-day story about finding one’s voice.

**Click here to check out ChiIL Mama's prior Saige Paints the Sky movie coverage and enter to win a FREE Blu-Ray/DVD combo of the Saige movie!**  

Then bring the family out for a real live hot air balloon extraganza July 3-6th!

Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival

The festival attracts an attendance each year of more than 50,000 patrons.  Highlights include performances by nationally known musical groups, the best in local band performances, a large carnival, a craft fair, a special children’s area, two food courts and of course, daily launches of hot air balloons and a balloon glow before the spectacular nightly fireworks show.  The Eyes to the Skies Festival has been selected six times as “One of the County’s Top 100 Tourist Destinations” by the American Bus Association.  Since 2009, The Lisle Eyes to the Skies Committee, a not-for-profit  (501c3) corporation, comprised of local citizens and volunteer business leaders, has organized and produced the festival.  Proceeds from the festival are divided up between six local charitable affiliations: The Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Chamber of Commerce, Partners for Parks and the Lisle Education Foundation.  Located in Community Park in Lisle, on 110 acres of beautiful trees, lakes and open space, the festival runs from July 3 through July 6, 2013. The carnival operates July 3 through July 7, 2013.  Please visit for complete details.

There's even a wheelchair accessable balloon that gives free rides to handicapped adults & kids.   How cool is that?!

Serena’s Song

Serena’s Song
Each day, “Serena’s Song,” the nation’s first wheelchair accessible balloon, will be giving tethered rides to children and adults with disabilities from 6 to 7:30 a.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until dusk Friday through Sunday, weather permitting. To reserve a flight, contact SEASPAR at
Flights are on Wednesday, July 3 – Saturday, July 6, from 6:00-7:30 a.m. and from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Tickets are now available for groups of 20 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Individual tickets for WICKED will go on-sale at a later date.  For more information about WICKED, please visit or

Win 10 Family Friendly Freebies To ChiIL Out With This Summer #Giveaways

ChiIL Out with ChiIL Mama This Summer

Here are all our rockin' current giveaways in one easy place.   Enter any or ALL.  Good luck!

  Enter here for your chance to win loads of books, DVDs/Blu-Ray, CDs, games, toys and more (open to anyone 18+ in the USA) and a ton of sweet Chicago theatre and family concert tickets.

We love summer time and want to share our ChiIL Picks List for rockin' kindie music, movies, eco-friendly finds, events and more with you, so 2013 can be the best summer vacation EVER.   We're giving away great fam friendly freebies all summer long!!  

Disclaimer:   Thanks to all the kindie musicians, theatres, authors, publishers, Warner Brothers and American Girl for providing us with giveaway prizes and review copies.   All opinions are our own. Check back with us like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often, for loads of original content including video band interviews with kindie (kids' indie) favs, reviews, photo filled features, free downloads, new releases, and more great giveaways.

Here's the scoop:

  Click the name of the giveaways below to enter & see our full feature on each.

  #1/#2.  2 ChiIL Picks Book Bonanzas:

*Lost in Suburbia : A Momoir, by Tracy Beckerman (5 paperbacks available/$15 value each) Now extended through midnight 7/30. 
*The Ordinary Acrobat by Duncan Wall (5 hardbacks available/  $26.95 value each).  Enter through midnight 7/30. 

  Watch for loads of our original circus content throughout the month of our giveaway.  We have video interviews with Cirque Du Soleil performers featured in the book, live show clips we've filmed at CircEsteem Shows, and loads of stills from international touring circuses including Cirque Shanghai, performing on Navy Pier all summer in Chicago, and more!

#3/#4.   ChiIL Picks Blu-Ray & DVD Movies

*Jack the Giant Slayer Blu-Ray/DVD combo! Enter through midnight 7/9($44.95 value)

*Saige Paints the Sky (American Girl) Blu-Ray/DVD combo!  Enter through midnight 7/30. ($26.99 value)

#5/#6/#7.    Rockin' 20 Kindie CD Extravaganza 

We're giving away sets of awesome brand new releases along with 2012 & 13 favs of ours.   All entries are open through midnight 7/30.   Winners will be announced on Winning Wednesday, July 31st! It's road trip season ya know.   And time to ChiIL out and kick back with some of the best kindie artists around.   Throughout the month we'll be bringing you our original reviews and full info on each of the 20 CDs, along with original kindie band interviews, live show footage and more.   Enter to win any or all of these sets.   All of these CDs make it onto

  ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List.

  *Set 1:  Great American Tunes  for July 4th & beyond  ($74.95 value)

  Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 One lucky reader will win these 6 sweet CDs:


  • Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz (LA culture mashers known for singing about immigration protests, gang violence & hurricane Katrina they've now expanded their boundaries again and released a rockin' CD of kids' tunes about photosynthesis, spelling, balloons, germs, skateboards and a runaway moose that's so good you won't want to stop playing it the second you drop the kids at camp.  Freakin' hilarious, great musicians bringing quality, multicultural music in a range of genres.) $10

With five Parents’ Choice® awards to their credit, Ben Rudnick & Friends have what it takes to make recordings families love. Families also love their live shows, where the band’s unique dynamic transforms a concert into an event. The events are celebrations.
On July 11, 2008, the band set up at one of their favorite venues, the town green of Lexington, MA. The same green that saw the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Flying high from the string of shows that comes with summer, saying goodbye to their accordion player Mark Yacovone who was moving to Mississippi the next day, and joined by Rob “It’s Saturday Night” Lee on saxophones, the band turned in an unforgettable performance.
Featuring songs from their first six recordings and some favorite cover tunes, Live in Lexington fills every available second on the CD with good time tunes as only they can deliver.
Live in Lexington has garnered BR&F their SIXTH Parents' Choice Award.
ChiIL Mama had the great pleasure of catching the Okee Dokee Brothers for a video interview and shooting their live show at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago, where we sponsor an annual, weekly kindie music concert series.   They're down to earth, cool guys, with an eco-friendly bent and talent to spare.   We've given away copies of Can You Canoe earlier this year.   Now check out one of their earlier albums, Parents Choice Silver Award Winner and one of our favs, Take it Outside. $15

($77.93 value)

*Set 2:   Kidzapalooza Favs ($82 value):  

  Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama at one of the best kindie fests in the nation!   We've covered Kidza all 3 days of EVERY year of it's existance.   We'll be back again for 2013.   To get you jazzed for the fest, we're giving away a CD set including Ella Jenkins' latest release-Get Moving, and kindie favs that have graced the Kidza stage in years past.   One lucky reader will win 6 CDs from these Kidzapalooza Favs:

(These guys are long time favs of ours and we've had the pleasure of shooting their live shows at Kidzapalooza and catching them for a video interview.   They have a new release out--Deep Sea Diver.   But we also adore their last two, In Tents and Flying.)

($82 value) Here's the rockin' 2013 Kidzapalooza lineup!    

  *Set 3:   Windy Kindie CDs ($96.80 value!!) Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Our own home town kids' musicians are awesome.   Look for these Chicago favorites at street fests all summer & at Beat Kitchen's Concerts for Kids again this fall.   One lucky reader will win these 8 CDs by Chicago Kindie favorites:
($96.80 value!!)

  #8.  Mini Bunny Bonanza ($39.95 value)
  Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter:
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

  For those summer days when some bunny needs a nap and some big bunny needs a break!!   Let Randy Travis & Lilly Tomlin take over on the endless story reading detail for a while.   Then watch your little one drift off to sleep to Deborah Poppink sweet, original tunes.   She's an over 40 mom of 2, and she gets it! Hop from Spring into Summer with bunny fun from our ChiIL Picks List for birth to 7 year olds.   *Some bunny will win both a DVD story collection & DidiPop CD! (Since bunnies know how to multiply over the summer months... we'll double this winning!!  2 winners chosen.)

  • Scholastic Storybook Treasures Read Along DVDs--The Springtime Collection featuring Max's Chocolate Chicken.   12 stories on 3 DVDs with narration by Lily Tomlin, Randy Travis and others.  $24.95 
Deborah Poppink is a kindie musician with 2 daughters of her own.  She says DidiPop comes from when I was a kids (“Debbie Poppins”) and because it’s fun to say and sing. The Beatles are my inspiration, and I was raised on pop radio from the 60s and 70s and musical theater. I started playing piano when I was 3, guitar at 9 and songwriting at 17. My mom says I sang the day I was born. I’ve always loved great music, a catchy chorus and interesting story.

“Bunny In The Moon: bedtime songs for falling asleep" is a new album of 14 original songs, designed to wind your child down to dream-land.
The “Goodnight Moon of children’s music. Your child will look forward to turning out the light and listening as s/he falls asleep to this intimate collection of winding down songs. 

Deborah says, as a mother who waited until she was 40 to start having kids, I pour as much art, music and mindfulness into my girls as I can… in small and fun doses. I hope that you will and can give your child music and art that inspires and teaches. I make music for my girls because it was my very best love as a child and it provided me with so much. I hope to share that love and present mindedness with you and your child…through song, rhythm and magic.

ChiIL Out in Chi, IL with theatre & live music:

#9.  Chicago Tickets-Family 4 Pack to Shrek at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre ($100 value) Your choice of any dates pending availability 7/13-9/1!   Enter through midnight 7/9.

#10.   Chicago Tickets-Family 4 Pack to Justin Roberts at Ravinia-Pavilion Seats ($40 value).  
Enter through midnight 7/9.

Check back soon for his brand new release!!   We'll be reviewing it right here and giving one away.

Chicago Tickets-Family 4 Pack to Mindy Hester & The Time Outs at Wilmette Theatre ($40 value).  
Enter through midnight 7/25.

Disclaimer:   Thanks to all the kindie musicians, theatres, authors, publishers, Warner Brothers and American Girl for providing us with giveaway prizes and review copies.   All opinions are our own.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

WIN The Ordinary Acrobat by Duncan Wall (5 Hardbacks Available $26.95 value)

Check out ChiIL Live Shows' exclusive interview with Vladik, juggler with Cirque du Soleil's Dralion who is also interviewed in print in The Ordinary Acrobat.  It was truly a pleasure to chat with the 28 year old who was born into the Moscow Circus.   He now combines elements of acro and dance with his juggling routines.

*The Ordinary Acrobat by Duncan Wall (5 hardbacks available/  $26.95 value each).  Enter through midnight 7/30. 

Watch for loads of our original circus content throughout the month of our giveaway.  We have video interviews with Cirque Du Soleil performers featured in the book, live show clips we've filmed at CircEsteem Shows, and loads of stills from international touring circuses including Cirque Shanghai, performing on Navy Pier all summer in Chicago, and more!

It was our great pleasure to meet author Duncan Wall at City Winery on his book tour through Chicago this spring.   Here are our stills from the reading and we'll have lots of video from that night up in the coming weeks.   

City Winery

Our home base for circus arts, Chicago's own CircEsteem, is also referenced in the book.   My kids have studied there for 3 years come fall.  The night of the reading, we heard Maribeth Joy, the Executive Director of CircEsteem speak on Circus Philanthropy and saw performances by alum, Will, on diablo.   We had to leave before instructor, Brian P. Dailey, gave a juggling demo that night, but we have sweet video footage and stills of him performing with El Circo Cheapo to share instead.   

Click the link below for your chance to win one of 5 copies of this fascinating read through midnight 7/30.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who is Pinstripes? #coupon #AD #foodiefun

We haven't had a chance to check them out yet, but Pinstripes has invited us to come out soon for dinner and give our readers a full review.   For the time being, here's what they have to say.

Our distinctive 40,000 square foot dining and entertainment venues feature a bistro with exceptional Italian/American cuisine and wine; bowling and bocce; a year-round outdoor patio and fire pit; and event space/party rooms accommodating 20-600 people.  Enjoy lunch or dinner, private parties, weekend live blues and jazz, wine dinners, mom & tot play dates, clubs and leagues and other exciting promotions.

Pinstripes has three locations in the Chicago area- Oakbrook, Northbrook & South Barrington. You can check out their website for more info.

Enjoy our bottomless chopped salad and spaghetti & meatballs every Monday. Served family style.

When booking a kids birthday party, the birthday guest of honor is complimentary and will also receive Pinstripes Logo Cap. For children 12 and under, groups from 10-25.

Enjoy $5 bowling for kids while moms bowl free. Mom & Tots bowling is from 10am - noon Monday thru Friday. Shoes are included. limit 4 kids per adult. First come first serve. There is a breakfast menu available.

WIN 4 Pavilion Seats to See Justin Roberts at Ravinia Sunday 7/7 at 1pm #giveaway

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama.   Win FREE pavilion tickets to see Justin Roberts in a rockin' outdoor afternoon show at lovely Ravinia 7/7! ($40 value).   Enter through midnight July 4th.

Oh yes, it's R-E-C-E-S-S!
GRAMMY Nominee Justin Roberts Hopscotches into Summer with a National Family Concert Tour
Celebrating the July release of 'Recess'

Sunday, July 7th, 2013 1:00 PM
Ravinia - Pavilion
200 Ravinia Park Road
Highland Park, IL 60035

Price: $10 Reserved/$5 Lawn
**New CD Recess will be available for purchase for the first time!**

Click the Rafflecopter Link Below For Your Chance to WIN.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Justin Roberts, whose 2010 album, Jungle Gym, took the nation by storm with a Grammy nomination and a raft of critical acclaim, will release Recess, a new collection of high-energy pop songs for the whole family, on July 23rd. Roberts and his band mates, the Not Ready for Naptime Players, will celebrate this ninth family music release with a full slate of summer concerts, including the Ravinia Festival in Chicago.

With the July 23rd release of Recess, Justin Roberts “continues to craft universally likable pop songs that adhere to the brain like flypaper” (

Justin Roberts is a Chicago-based artist who logs thousands of miles on the road each year while performing concerts around North America. He has won numerous national awards (including seven Parents’ Choice Gold awards and six NAPPA Gold awards), and critical recognition from the likes of Parents, School Library Journal, Newsweek, People, and Time magazines. Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players consistently dish out intelligent and whimsically engaging music. 

USA Today calls Roberts “hands down, the best songwriter in the genre.”

Remaining Summer 2013 'RECESS' Tour Dates:

  • Sunday, June 30, Grandview Heights Public Library, Columbus, OH
  • Friday, July 5, LL Bean’s Summer in the Park, Freeport, ME
  • Sunday, July 7, Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL
Disclaimer--thanks to Ravinia for providing tickets for our giveaway.   All opinions are our own.   

Check back early and often.   We'll be reviewing and giving way copies of Recess in the very near future!!

Chicago-based kid-pop star presents 12 original songs on July 23rd, and pre-sales available now at other retailers

Recess rocks with gigantic electric guitars, intricate vocal harmonies, and impossibly catchy melodies that will burrow deep into your brain. In his most unrestrained release yet, Justin Roberts explores the world from multiple perspectives – kids who love to play, the proud but exhausted parents of twins, and a loyal pet dog, just to name a few.  Whether kids are jumping through the chalked boxes of “Hopscotch” or running around the playground to the triumphant electric rock of “Recess,” these 12 original songs will add energy to any day. The limited-edition CD package will include a pop-up robot, and secret web links to craft activities and bonus media.
USA Today calls Roberts “hands down, the best songwriter in the genre,” Entertainment Weekly says he is “a master of conjuring up images that resonate with the young ones,” and The New York Times thinks he just might be “the Judy Blume of kiddie rock.” The Los Angeles Times speaks for many reviewers in stating that Justin Roberts delivers “deft lyrics and beautiful sound,” every time.
There must be dozens of kids’ songs about robots, but Roberts’ “My Secret Robot” heads in an unexpected direction:  “He’s got a calm demeanor, looks like a vacuum cleaner. He’s never scared when my sister comes around.” Not every song’s theme is obvious from the start; it takes more than just a minute to figure out what “Every Little Step” and “Otis” are all about.
While Justin’s music always appeals to kids, parents have long appreciated the songcraft and layers of meaning in his compositions. On Recess, tracks such as “Looking for Trains” offer ruminations that easily apply to an adult’s life. Expertly produced by Not Ready for Naptime Players band mate Liam Davis, Recess features a range of styles, from power pop to ska, and gentle country-tinged acoustic rock to 60s psychedelia.
Recess follows Justin Roberts’ fall 2012 release, Lullaby, his first collection of softer songs for quiet moments (newly available on vinyl). In its ‘A’ review,  Entertainment Weekly writes of Lullaby, “The lyrics will break your heart with their poignancy, and the music will make you celebrate that there are such exceptional artists making songs for children these days.”
Roberts also recently authored a new picture book for children, to be published by Putnam in 2014.
Recess will be available from retailers nationally on July 23, 2013 (Carpet Square Records, distributed by MRI/Sony Music, $14.98 SRP).

Visit Justin Roberts online!
Keep up with Justin's travels with The Not Ready for Naptime Players on Facebook, visit his tour page for details about local shows; check out the growing collection of music videos on YouTube; send Justin a friendly Tweet; or simply head on over to