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Our Macy's Holiday Tradition #MacysBelieve


Our Macy's Holiday Tradition #MacysBelieve

Nine years ago (how is that possible?!) we brought our baby to see Santa at Macy's on State Street and this happened.babys first visit with santa Quite unsure of the stranger in the red suit that was holding her, baby Ellie twisted her little fingers around his whiskers and gave his beard a tug.  This photo was published in the Chicago Tribune in December of 2007 with the title "The Yanks are Comin'!"  and our favorite holiday tradition was born.

This is another one of my favorite photos with Santa at the State Street Macy's.  Three year old Ellie is like "don't you dare mess up this present thing for me, baby!"  She's kind of holding her sister's hand but mostly looking embarrassed.

scared of santa

Things eventually get better but the next year was still a little rough for our Mads.  santaland 11

Even while Santa might not have been Madeline's favorite person her first few Christmases, she loved everything else about our holiday tradition.  Walking around the State Street Macy's looking at all of the windows, carefully selecting the perfect ornament to add to our tree and eating lunch by the great 12

Last year, for Will's first Christmas, everyone had a very pleasant visit with Santa.  Will loved snuggling with the big guy's red suit.visit with santa 2014

After the visit was over, the girls wanted to make sure Santa didn't forget exactly what they wanted so they dropped their letters in the red mailbox at Macy's.maces letter to santaBefore we all went to eat by the great tree, the kids wanted to get a really good view so we went up a floor to the viewing stand.  Last year the entire tree changed colors.  The girls stood and watched in awe!maces great tree

While waiting for dessert, a fairy visited with us.  She sprinkled fairy dust and granted us each one wish.

fairy wishes

 Next weekend we will go downtown and continue our tradition of visiting the REAL Santa, mailing off our letters, picking out our ornaments for the year and eating by the great tree.  The best part of the holidays are seeing everything through the eyes of our children.  The excitement and wonder is contagious.
This holiday season, Macy's is inviting you and your family to share in the holiday traditions that make the season so magical.  They are hosting free events the next two Saturdays for your family to enjoy!macy's holiday events
Macy's State Street 
Saturday, November 14 at 2pm
Saturday, November 21 at 2pm

Join Macy's for an afternoon of family fun with lots of activities for the holidays. Get creative at our crafts table where you can create holiday ornaments, color, and more. There'll also be balloon twisting and more holiday fun to enjoy!  We'll see you there!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Playchic Fashion Show


Playchic Fashion Show

For the past few years I have attended Chicago Toy & Game Fair with my family. Its a fun event that allows us to check out the hottest toys up close and personal! It's a great way to find out what the kids want to put on their holiday wish list.  My kids and husband look forward to attending it every year. My personal favorite event during Chicago Toy & Game Week is playChic an  innovative runway show that combines fierce fashion with top toys. We are excited to announce this year's playCHIC Fashion Ambassador Panel comprised of some of the most influential Chicago bloggers.


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If you've never attended playChic it's like no other fashion show in Chicago. Founder Mary Couzin had the most unique vision, creating a runway show that pairs the hottest fashion designers with world-famous toy brands to create an unforgettable evening.

playChic Fashion Show 2015 Chicago Toy & Game Fair

What to expect at playCHIC?

Much like "Project Runway" playCHIC challenges each designer to create a runway look inspired by a toy and game partner. Renowned designers including Peach Carr, Michelle Tan will showcase their most recent and playful look followed by a video presentation of the designer on location at their studio creating their playCHIC masterpiece.

The 2015 playCHIC fashion show will hit the catwalk on Thursday, November 19th at Alhambra Palace Restaurant.

playChic Fashion Show Chicago

GRAB YOUR TICKET TODAY! Hosted at Alhambra Palace {1240 W Randoph Street}, Chicago’s most creative and unforgettable fashion experience will kick off with cocktails at 7 p.m. and a runway show following at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available for $45, and for more information, visit a Rafflecopter giveaway I was selected to be a playCHIC Fashion Ambassador. All content and opinions expressed here are honest and all my own.


Celebrating American Girl's Maryellen with a Sock Hop


Celebrating American Girl's Maryellen with a Sock Hop

Welcome to 1954!  We're celebrating the release of the brand new American Girl BeForever doll, Maryellen, with a swingin' Sock Hop!  Grab your poodle skirt and let's go!maryellen's sock hopMaryellen is the American Girl doll that every grandma has been waiting for.  Set in 1954, Maryellen is a great way to get girls and grandmas talking about their life growing up.  Betsy's mother-in-law and my mom came with us on American Girl experience to Maryellen's Sock Hop. American Girl Maryellen

Ballet Chicago had their dance troupe at the Westin to demonstrate and teach us some of the '50s most famous dances like the Stroll and the Hand Jive.

maryellen's sock hop

Everyone loved watching the Ballet Chicago dancers but it got really fun when the girls took the dance floor!

American Girl Sock Hop

American Girl Sock Hop

Besides the dancing, Maryellen was on display as were some of her fun accessories.  The Diner is on Madeline's holiday list.  It comes with so many little pieces an accessories it looks like hours of fun!

Maryellen's DinerMaryellen's Jukebox hooks up to your iPod and plays your own music.  Her television set works with your iPad and you can create your own black and white movies that play on her tv!  We love how American Girl is integrating technology with imaginative play!

The Sock Hop was one of American Girl's many events that are constantly taking place at all of their locations.  This event cost $10 and anyone could attend.  The girls all came dressed to 'hop' and everyone had the best time!

Maryellen Chicago Sock HopAfter we said goodbye to the Sock Hop, we walked across the street to the American Girl Store for Afternoon Tea.

American Girl Chicago Events


It was just the best day of grandmas, moms and daughters.  Afternoon Tea is served on tier trays and the food was delicious as always!  But most importantly, we have memories that will last forever.

american girl afternoon tea


You might have missed out on this Sock Hop, but guess what?  You can host your own Maryellen Sock Hop at home!

how to host your own sock hop


American Girl has put together the perfect DIY kit for you to host a Maryellen Sock Hop at home!  From invitations to games to decorations, this printable kit has you covered.

host your own american girl sock hop

It would make the perfect theme for an American Girl Sleepover party or just for a day of family fun!

To see what in store American Girl Store events are coming up near you, visit



Thanks to American Girl for providing outfits, event tickets and afternoon tea to create an incredible day we'll never forget!




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How to prepare your child for overnight camp!

The thought of your child going to overnight camp for the first time can be overwhelming. Mia went to overnight camp at Camp Crosley a YMCA camp a few weeks ago. I am not going to lie but the 2 weeks leading up to her going away to camp was very stressful on me. I had major anxiety.  I took the packing process very seriously. If my child is going to be away from me, I want to make sure she is comfortable in every situation and has everything she needs. I purchased a Packable Duffle from Lands End. I had one of these Duffle bags as a kid and it lasted 20 years! Everything Mia needed fit perfectly into the Duffle bag except for her bedding and towels.

You need to LABEL everything for camp if you want to insure that they come home with everything that you sent. Mable's Labels Limited Edition Camp Label Pack was a life safer! Mia helped me label everything that was going with her to camp and it was done in less than 30 minutes.

I read a tip to pack each days clothing in a ziploc bag, this is to insure that your child has clean clothes, underwear and socks each day. This was something I was glad I did. Mia lived out of her duffle bag and that means dirty and wet clothes were thrown into her bag.



Her Dad was even more nervous than I was. He drew pictures and wrote handwritten letters for her to read each day. We placed these into the ziploc bags, so she would start her day with a nice message from home.

I am Type A personality and wanted to make sure she was happy, comfortable, had everything she needed and didn't get home sick.

I pre addressed and put stamps on Mabel's Labels post cards and note cards that she could send to us, grandparents and friends while she was at camp. I sent the camp address to her grandparents, aunts and friends a week before she left for camp asking for them to send her letters. She said the receiving letters each day meant a lot to her.

Mia went to camp with her friend Jenna. I loved going to overnight camp and going with a friend makes it even better!

She was ready for her week at Camp Crosley! She said "See you later mom!" I of course teared up. The nurse at camp later told me that is a sign of a well adjusted kid that knows that you will see them in a week.

Our camp used and we could view photos each day of what the campers were experiencing. It was great to be able to see in real time that she was happy and having fun! She has been home for a couple of weeks and is still sharing stories and songs from her week at camp! The overnight camp experience was priceless.

What are your tips on how to prepare you child for overnight camp?

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