Friday, January 31, 2014

Queen of The Grocery Scene, Jewel-Osco #NotGoingAnywhere

Disclosure:  We are happy to be working with Jewel-Osco on a sponsored campaign through January 31st and have been compensated for sharing this information with our readers.   As always, all opinions are our own.

This is our final sponsored post in our partnership with Jewel.   We've introduced you to a number of great offers, taken a trip back in time to the 1950's when my own dad began his first job at Jewel, showed you a sweet treat for the big game, and we've talked about Jewel not going anywhere when other large grocery chains are closing up shop.

Yes, Jewel-Osco is Queen of The Grocery Scene, in Chicago, or in other words, Jewel rules!   Convenience is key, and as we've mentioned before, Jewel-Osco is on your block and in your corner.  

Click here to check out our prior Jewel-Osco features.

This winter has had two settings, 50 below or dumping snow!   We've had the 3rd snowiest January on record and repeat run in's with the bone chilling, Polar Vortex.  It's been crazy enough to coin new terms like hash tag #chiberia and #snowpocalypse.

In weather like this, "NotGoingAnywhere takes on a whole new meaning and close is crucial!   We're a brave and hardy bunch here in Chicago, but in 50 below temps and 10" blizzards, cross town drives aren't going to happen.

Jewel-Osco is our neighborhood store and our go to choice for everything from first aid for our competitive gymnast's sprains and strains to food for our newborn Guinea Pigs, who arrived in the middle of the last Polar Vortex.  Meet Vortex, Charlie & Cheekums.  Despite the brutal wind chill, we made a run to Jewel-Osco for kale, Brussels sprouts, and carrots to keep mama Guinea Pig, Bweep, happy and healthy and full of vitamin C for her new arrivals.  She's better about eating her veggies than my kids are!

You never know what you're going to need in the middle of a blizzard or Polar Vortex!   Close IS key.   And Jewel-Osco is everywhere.

Rest assured, your Jewel-Osco is here to stay.

Disclosure:  We are happy to be working with Jewel-Osco on a sponsored campaign through January 31st and have been compensated for sharing this information with our readers.   As always, all opinions are our own.

FREE FAMILY FUN: 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at Adventure Stage!

Get Ready for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival at Adventure Stage! 
THIS SATURDAY, FEB. 1st, 3:00-5:00PM
Admission is FREE

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama and forget #Chiberia and #snowpocalypse. What are we, Atlanta?!  This is Chicago for cripes sake. Have we gone soft after just 2 light winters?!   Quit hibernating and get out of the house.   This free family friendly fun will be well worth your time.  

Co-hosted by: 
(90-Second curator and author of The Order of Odd-Fish
(author of The Other Felix)

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which kid filmmakers create movies that creatively tell the entire story of a Newbery-winning book in 90 seconds or less.

Curious to see some notable 90-Second Newbery movies from years past? Click here to view 25 brilliant entries, from a Claymation romp through Hendrik Willem van Loon's Story of Mankind to Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book adapted in the style of a 1920s black-and-white German expressionistic horror movie!

Don't miss your chance to see what Time Out Chicago Kids describes as "Brilliant! Too good to pass up."

Entry is FREE, but seats will fill quickly so be sure to register. We'll see you there!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW: World Premier of Mr. Chickee's Funny Money Will Rock Your Winter #MrChickee

Chicago Children's Theatre has done it again!   They've managed to meld the unique vision of award winning author, Christopher Paul Curtis, with the phenomenal talents of a host of Chicago's finest, for a whole that's greater than the sum of it's parts.  This production of Mr. Chickee's Funny Money crackles with fabulous R & B music, smart kids, a giant dog, a suspenseful plot, and an awesome message.

Why does everybody want the funny money with the James Brown face?!   Come see for yourselves!   Highly recommended!!

This madcap adventure has all the elements of a great show including stellar original tunes, a smart girl, kid detectives, bumbling agents, and a wise old blind man who opens the eyes of others, so they can see what's truly valuable.   Mr. Chickee's funny money is thought provoking, fun and entirely impressive.

We love that a father/son team collaborated on the score!   The original songs are by Motown legend, Lamont Dozier, and additional music and lyrics by his son, Paris.   They're done justice on stage by a dynamic 4 piece LIVE band and include a rockin' mix of Motown, disco, rap, rock, jazz and hip hop!

Click the image above to watch the video trailer for Mr. Chickee's Funny Money!
Don't miss the show that is:

"Highly Recommended" (Chicago Sun-Times) 

"A winner!" (Chicago Parent)  

"A priceless, peerless production!" (Chicago Theatre Resources) 

and that Ada Grey says will "make you feel nice! Like sugar and spice! Aoow!"

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for a behind the scenes look of our world premiere R&B musical. Add your voice to the experience all over social media and share the love using hashtag #MrChickee.  

Mr. Chickee's Funny Money runs through March 2 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.  Get your tickets now!

My 12 year old son and the adults in our family thoroughly enjoyed it, as did the rest of the audience, if the rousing standing standing ovation is any indication.   This production has hit written all over it, with multigenerational appeal, and catchy tunes you'll be humming for weeks!

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself with more money than you could comprehend or ever spend?   Would it make you generous, greedy, or suspicious?   Would it make your life easier and remove the stresses of car and house payments and working hard every day just to make ends meet, or would it make you a target and destroy the friendships you treasure most?   Maybe all of the above.   

Click here to check out our prior Mr. Chickee coverage including all the show details & ticket links.

We had the great pleasure of catching opening night, complete with pre-party, post show dinner and champaign toast, and truly stellar company!    

We enjoyed talking with CCT board members at length, chatted with infamous playwright Brett Neveu and his family, and saw Black Ensemble Theatre representing.   We also ran into our friend Ada Grey (9 year old critic) and all around creative kid.   It was a uniquely memorable evening.  

The food from Q and Wish Upon a Starch was fantastic.   

2014 Launch of 
Sage & Du's Reviews (a kids' eye view)

My kids have been immersed in the Chicago theatre scene their entire lives. Now at 10 & 12 they're still able to enjoy our city's stellar children's theatre offerings, but they've also become my go to +1's for big budget Broadway in Chicago spectacles, edgy storefront fare, and thought provoking dramas at Goodman, Steppenwolf and beyond.

My 12 year old, son, in particular has become quite the insightful critic, and we both love a good post show talk.  I was almost in tears on opening night of The Whale at Victory Gardens, as my son and I waited for the show to begin.   Instead of grousing about attending a play or burying his nose in a DS game as many boys would, he was busy perusing the program.   Then he turned to me and said "I'd really like to meet Chelsea Warren."   When I asked why he said, "Because the show hasn't even started yet, but the set design is so cool it really makes me curious to see who lives here.   It's really well done." Joy!

Though they've been my silent partners for years, they've recently been inspired by Ada Grey to speak up and take an active role in our reviews for ChiIL Mama.   I'll still be writing reviews, too, but they will have their own space for their own unique voices too.   So check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.   Sage & Du's Reviews (a kids' eye view) will be up very soon!

ChiIL Mama's photo recap of the opening night after party with the cast and creative team (including Lamont Dozier and Christopher Paul Curtis) and the Chicago Children's Theatre family.

Want more?  
Check out this recap via Chicago Children's Theatre:

The opening night of MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY on January 24 was the place to be as the audience was able to meet the all-star creative team (including Motown legend Lamont Dozier and Newbery Award winning author Christopher Paul Curtis), the cast, and the Chicago Children's Theatre family.

Check out the pictures from our reception featuring the cast and creative team (including Lamont Dozier and Christopher Paul Curtis) and the Chicago Children's Theatre family. Feel free to tag yourself in the pictures and share with your family and friends!

#MrChickee is the can't miss musical hit of the winter. The show runs through March 2, get your tickets now:

Chicago has fallen in love with Mr. Chickee and so will you!

ChiIL Mama's been eagerly awaiting this production since we bought the awesome book last year at Chicago Children's Theatre's Bud Not Buddy (based on another Curtis kids' classic) and got it signed by the author himself.  It was well worth the wait.

Enter To WIN 4 Tickets to ALL 8 Winter Shows in BEAT KITCHEN'S CONCERTS FOR KIDS SERIES & WINTER FEST Photo Recap #giveaway #OriginalPhotos, #LiveShowShots

"Letting the kids get down and the parents kick back."

ChiIL Out with ChiIL Mama every Sunday at noon at Beat Kitchen’s Concerts for Kids.   We're super stoked to be back as press sponsor for the 3rd season, shooting live show footage, interviewing the bands and giving away great prizes.   

Remember, we give away 4 free Concerts for Kids tickets to a new winner every week!   Enter below for your chance to WIN tickets to ANY/ALL of the next EIGHT concerts!   Then come back and enter like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often through midnight each Thursday.   

It was great to see so many happy faces last Sunday at our winter series kick off--“WINTER FEST”, an event featuring some of Chicago's best ‘kindie’ music and free activities in the party room. 

Concerts for Kids offers a full line up of weekend concerts for families with kids aged birth to 12. Many Concerts for Kids favorites return for this series, plus new bands that are sure to please both young and old.

Did you make it out?   If not, live vicariously through our photo filled Winter Fest recap:

ChiIL Mama gave out hundreds of dollars in free prizes ranging from kindie music, books and toys to baby gear & we rocked out with our instrument petting zoo and fun costumes.

Easel Art Studio, had the cutest snowman crafts.

Unicoi Art Studio was rockin' the face painting.




11:00 am - Mary Macaroni (showed us her "guitar face" while warming up upstairs, then her "balloon face" while she patiently made out of this world balloon creations for a long line of eager kids)

12:00 pm – Young Stracke All-Stars (We've know some of these talented tweens since they were toddlers!   They never cease to amaze!  Check back with us soon for more live video footage)

1:00 pm – Cowboy Jesus and the Sugar Bums (another talented band OF kids... not just FOR kids)

1:15 pm – Nili Yelin, The Storybook Mom 

2:00 pm – Lindsay and the Shimmies

Save the Dates:

What's Next?!

Winter Concerts for Kids series
Where: Main stage, Beat Kitchen 2100 W. Belmont Chicago IL
When:   Sundays 12:00pm (unless otherwise specified)

**Click here to WIN Animal Singdom Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

Erin Flynn, Old Town School of Folk Music veteran and beloved Wiggleworms instructor, gets the band together for a fun show at the Beat Kitchen!

(PSSST! Hey Moms and Dads! Superbowl kick off isn't til 5:30, so let the kids get their wiggles out with us before you settle in to watch the game!)

Doors open at 11:00, and Unicoi Art Studio will be painting faces for $1!

**Click here to WIN Mr. Singer & The Sharp Cookies Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

**Click here to WIN Little Miss Ann Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

**Click here to WIN Human Tim + Robot Tim Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

3/2/2014 - The Boogers

**Click here to WIN Boogers Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

3/8/2014 **SATURDAY 2:00 pm** - Jeanie B & The Jelly Beans!

**Click here to Win Jeanie B! & The Jelly Beans Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

3/9/2014 - The Wannabees

**Click here to WIN Wannabees Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

**Click here to WIN Sarah Jayne Lane Tickets From ChiIL Mama**

Tickets: $6 per person at the door or through
Visit for updates on the Concerts for Kids schedule at Beat Kitchen. Special thanks to media sponsor ChiIL Mama

About Concerts for Kids!
Concerts for Kids began when bar owner Robert Gomez heard from young families in the neighborhood that they needed more entertainment options for their kids. His daughter was taking classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Gomez got to know the incredibly talented instructors, learned that they wrote their own music and were looking for outlets to perform with their full bands. Beat Kitchen and the children's performers combined resources that resulted in Concerts for Kids! Now in its eigth year, Concerts for Kids is a popular series for Chicago’s parents with regular Sunday noon shows that attract talented children's music performers from across the U.S.

ChiIL Mama's daughter, Sage, juggled for the kids & helped them play with the instruments.

ChiIL Mama's son, Dugan (12), blew up balloons & helped the younger kids explore the instruments or spin to win prizes.