Family fun date night at Star Cinema Grill and {GIVEAWAY}


Star Cinema Grill Movie Theater Arlington Heights

Disclosure: Our family was provided complimentary admission and tickets to a giveaway to Star Cinema Grill. I  was not required to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.

My husband and I are always looking for ways to have date nights, and more often than not those date nights include our kids. What better way to have a family date night than with a movie? Well, how about a movie AND a dinner? We were excited to hear that Star Cinema Grill allows us to do so. So off we went to have a family date night watching Avengers: Age of Ultron

Nitty Gritty:

Ticket prices: Adults $10.50, Child (ages 2-10) - $8.00, AM Shows (all shows before noon) - $6.00, Matinee Show (all shows between 12-before 6pm) - $8.00, Seniors (age 60+) $9.00
Location: Located in downtown Arlington Heights at 53 S. Evergreen Avenue
Star Cinema Grill Outside
Parking: Limited parking located at the parking lot (shared with stores) or park in the garage

Crowded: We visited on a Wednesday evening and didn't find it crowded at all.


  • Perfect location. Starwood Cinema Grill is located in the heart of downtown Arlington Heights surrounded by tons of restaurants (if you didn't want to eat or drink at the theater)
  • Waiting is fun. The bar/ lounge would be the perfect way to wait for the movie to start. Or a great way to watch a game.

Star Cinema Grill Bar

  • Pretty cool decor and vibe. As we walked down the hallway to our theater, art prints of famous Hollywood stars greeted us.

Star Cinema Grill Hallway Decor

  • Plush comfortable seating. Loved how the white leather seats reclined and the armrest could be moved.

Star Cinema Grill Seating

  • Convenient.  The whole process if quite seamless actually. We ordered food from the menus located under our table and filled out our order on the notepad. (You can also order directly through the server.)  Once we decided on what we wanted to eat, we could could summon our server with a touch of a button. Much easier than having to flag our server during the movie and causing a disruptance.

Star Cinema Grill Movie Theater Menu

Star Cinema Grill Button

  • Unlike other theaters that entertain this concept, you do not need to purchase any food, but I highly suggest you do. It is, after all, part of the experience and what sets this apart from the typical movie theater.
  • Wide selection of food to choose from! With fun catchy menu names like Lord of the Onion Rings or Gone With the Wings, it was a tough choice.
  • The food is delicious. We've been to other movie theaters like this and have found that the food wasn't anything to boast about. Or the popcorn too "gourmet." Not here. We scarfed down the food. Like we would come here alone for the food. We started with the Nachos Libre, split the Classic Burger between the kids, and popcorn. Popcorn was served with the butter and salt on the side. Perfect so we could control the amount of butter added in.

Star Cinema Grill Bar Popcorn

  • Clean, clean, clean! I didn't have to worry about stepping on popcorn (or gum) in the theater and being disgusted in the bathrooms.  SO not typical with the average movie theater. Clean and classy.

Star Cinema Grill Bathroom

 We wish...

  • ...we could have tried the dessert. If we weren't so stuffed we would have liked to try their gourmet popcorn with white and dark chocolate drizzle.  Oh yum.

Tips to enjoy Star Cinema Grill

  • Arrive a few minutes early so you don't have to read the menu in the dark.
  • Also arrive early to grab seats. Seating is not assigned or reserved.
  • Go on Tuesday and Thursdays for $7 admission and food specials.
  • No children under the age of 6 after 6pm for R-rated features.

Did you know? 

  • They're growing!  This Houston-based entertainment company have been around in Arlington Heights since May 2013, and have just acquired a new location 3 weeks ago in Naperville.  - Hollywood Palms Cinema & Eatery.

Bottom Line:

I think we've found our new favorite place for movie night!  Great food and a great atmosphere! Their goal is "To provide every guest with an unforgettable experience through unmatched service, the highest quality food and beverages, and a flawless film presentation". Everything was as stated and much more!

Interested in how Star Cinema Grill works? Watch this:


Is it time for a movie date night with or without the kids? Enter now for a chance to win a 4 pack of tickets plus a large popcorn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interested in discovering more things to do in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago? Read my list of more than 100 things to do this summer!


100+ Days of Summer in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

100+ Things to Do with Kids in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

It's the unofficial start of summer! I am so excited to present you the 100+ Days of Summer in the NW suburbs of Chicago. Don't get stuck in the rut of not finding anything to do. In fact, I'll make it easy and give you more than 100 things for you to do with your kids - all in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day we'll highlight an activity on Facebook and Pinterest. Don't forget to follow along, and check back often - we'll have prizes to win!

So what are you waiting for? Get out and GO!

    1. Watch a movie like a VIP with a dinner at Star Cinema Grill. Review and {GIVEAWAY} here.  (Arlington Heights)
    2. Let loose at the newest indoor playground Adventure Playland. And guess what? It's great for birthday parties, too! (Mount Prospect)
    3. Fishy fun is possible without a trip to the Shedd. Visit Petland Aquarium Adventure instead. Review by Queen of the Land of Twigs 'N Berries. (Hoffman Estates)
    4. Check out a new library to play, play, play including our favorites Barrington Area Library and Wauconda Area Library. Here are a few more library ideas. (various locations)
    5. Find a new treasure or trinket on the cheap at an area wide garage sale. Dundee will have theirs on Dundee Area will have theirs on May 29-31 (Starting 5/29, Dundee)
    6. Make music at the Elk Grove Historical Society with their Mini Musicians Drop in Program (Elk Grove Village, $1 non-member, Wednesdays until August 26)
    7. Celebrate Christie's Dairy Delights' one year anniversary. Review from Two Moms a Little Time, and a Keyboard here.  (5/30, Palatine)
    8. Sample new food from food trucks. There's a fun one at Fox River with Bikes and Bites on the Fox (5/30, Elgin)
    9. Travel back in time at the Fox River Trolley and ride the rails at Fox River Trolley Museum for a living history reenactment "Rails to Victory" Review here. (5/31, South Elgin)
    10. Boogie down with the kids at a free children's concert.
    11. Learn about the history of Buffalo Grove at the Raupp Museum. Two Moms a Little Time and a Keyboard review here.  (Buffalo Grove)
    12. Ahoy matey! Spend the day enjoying kiddie rides at the pirate-themed amusement park Pirates' Cove (Elk Grove Village)
    13. Bounce around and let the crazies out at a inflatable bounce place like Jump Zone (Buffalo Grove) or Pump It Up (Schaumburg)
    14. Pet sheep, emus, and alpacas at Randall Oaks Barnyard Zoo. (West Dundee)
    15. Visit a zoo AND an amusement park. Santa's Village Azoosment is the best of both worlds! (East Dundee)
    16. Watch horses gallop and speed through. Sundays are family fun days at Arlington Park National Racecourse. (Arlington Heights)
    17. Connect with nature through play at Nature Center's  "Family Nature Club" event. (6/13, Barrington Hills)
    18. Become Scottish just for a day at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games (6/19 & 6/20, Itasca)
    19. Let the kids go wild at the Treehouse while you sip on coffee. (Lake Zurich)
    20. Discover a new fro-yo joint. (Various suburbs)
    21. Cool off and go ice skating at Hoffman Estates Ice Arena. (Hoffman Estates)
    22. Earn a prize by trying to visit as many places as  you can with the KDRMA program (various burbs)
    23. Try to visit as many places as you can with the Museum Adventure Pass (various burbs)
    24. Experience the gallantry and chivalry of Medieval Times (Schaumburg)
    25. Bowl for FREE. Read this extensive list at Toddling Around Chicago. (Multiple places)
    26. Bring your tot bowling to Pinstripes for Mom and Tot bowling (South Barrington)
    27. Kick off the summer with a Picnic in the Park. (6/5, Arlington Heights)
    28. Choo choo! Time for a choo choo restaurant. My kids adore 2Toots Grill (Bartlett) and people rave about the The Choo Choo. Little Lake County review here. (Des Plaines).
    29. Meet and greet famous attraction mascots at the Character Caravan held at Woodfield Mall. The first 500 kids get a goody bag. (6/20, FREE, Schaumburg)
    30. Immerse yourself in the world of LEGOs at Brickworld (6/20-6/21, Schamburg)
    31. Taste delicious gourment popcorn at Sweet Pop Fizz. (East Dundee)
    32. In the mood for BBQ? Blues BBQ will satisfy your cravings. (East Dundee)
    33. Visit a mini African village and learn more about their culture at The Cake Village. (East Dundee)
    34. Bike the Fox River Bike Trail and explore many of the family-friendly stops like Van's Ice Cream and Dairy Queen.
    35. Go on a scavenger hunt around Arlington Heights. Yapa Events hosts two fun options. (Arlington Heights)
    36. Have a brick-tastic good time at LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Come visit during Pirates weekend when they unveil the new Pirate play area, Pirate Adventure Island (Schaumburg)
    37. View fish at the aquarium and see stuffed animals at Cabela's (Hoffman Estates)
    38. Pick fresh produce at a farmer's market.
    39. Grab your blanket and watch a movie in the park under the stars (various suburbs)
    40. Pick your very own luccious strawberries from the vine. We had a fun time at Heider's Berry Farm last year. Review here.  (Woodstock)
    41. Take a break from shopping at the play area at a mall like Woodfield (Schaumburg) or Hawthorne Center (Vernon Hills).
    42. Walk amongst art at the International Sculpture Park (Schaumburg)
    43. Take a stroll and see peonies at the Spring Valley Merkle Cabin (Schaumburg)
    44. Practice safety while biking at Safety Town at Vogelei Park (Hoffman Estates Vogelei Park)
    45. Drop-in at the Recplex for indoor fun for tots. Review here by Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries. (Mount Prospect)
    46. Head to the mall and have the kids go crazy at the brightly colored playground Yu Kids. (Schaumburg)
    47. Ride a carousel at Jumps 'n Jiggles. (Elk Grove Village)
    48. Be a beach bum at any one of our beaches - Three Oaks Recreation Area (Review here)  in Crystal Lake and Lake Arlington offer sandy fun on a sunny (or not so sunny) day!
    49. Play PAC-MAN and a few other arcade games at PAC-MAN inspired restaurant/entertainment venue Level 257. My Chicago Parent review here. (Schaumburg)
    50. See Elk at Busse Woods. Two Moms a Little Time and a KeyBoard review here(Elk Grove Village)
    51. Listen to music at a free outdoor concert in the park. (Various suburbs)
    52. Let the kids enjoy the sun and have fun in a new park. Some of our favorites includes Deicke Park (Huntley) and Veterans Park (Crystal Lake)
    53. Batter up! Go to a minor league game. Check out these possibilities.
    54. Splash around at a splash pad.  Thoughts From Her suggests Sunny Hill Splash Pad.
    55. Fly a kite (Anywhere)
    56. Go fish! Catch and release fishing is available at Twin Lakes. Rent a boat for more fun! (Palatine)
    57. Watch planes land and take off while having dinner at Pilot Pete's, an airplane themed restaurant. It's located at an airport!  (Schaumburg)
    58. Tumble around at an open gym at Elite Kids. (Crystal Lake)
    59. Ride the Metra between the 'burbs or to the city! (various suburbs)
    60. Have the kids participate in a rodeo at Little Boots Rodeo (6/27 & 6/28, Itasca)
    61. Learn about the history of trains at the Bartlett Depot Museum. (Bartlett)
    62. Celebrate the summer with a sweet treat at Sweet T's Bakery (Arlington Heights)
    63. Put out a (pretend) fire at Fire Zone. (Schaumburg)
    64. Pick up a new hobby, find a new train to add to your collection or watch a model trains chug through at America's Best Train, Toy, and Hobby Shop. (Itasca)
    65. Plan a little redecorating at Ikea. Kids tall enough can drop-in at the playland area. Visit on Tuesdays when Kids Eat Free! (Schaumburg)
    66. Watch butterflies fly all around you at Crystal Lake Butterfly House. (Crystal Lake)
    67. Brunch it up at Pinstripes Sunday Brunch. Review here (South Barrington)
    68. Discover your favorite Asian foods at Mitsuwa. Grab some noodles for lunch. (Arlington Heights)
    69. Fridays are fun days at Vogelei Park with performances. (Hoffman Estates)
    70. Experience the charm of a 19th century community farm fair during Spring Valley Country Fair at Volkening Heritage Farm (6/7, Schaumburg)
    71. Cool off from the summer heat and head to a waterpark like Rainbow Falls Waterpark (Elk Grove Village)
    72. Celebrate the Fourth of July at Frontier Days (7/1, Arlington Heights)
    73. Enjoy storytime in the park for "Play in the Park Day" (7/8, Palatine)
    74. All aboard! Hop aboard the Woodfield Trolley making stops at Woodfield, Streets of Woodfield, and more! (Schaumburg)
    75. Pedal a paddleboat on the lake at Twin Lakes Recreation Area. (Palatine)
    76. Buy candy at a old time candy shop like Around the Corner Candy  (West Dundee)
    77. Buy a new toy or window shop at a unique toy store like Brilliant Sky Toys & Books (Deer Park)
    78. Listen to story time at Barnes and Nobles (Various suburbs)
    79. Witness how donuts are made at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Call first to see when they have a fresh batch cooking.  (Elk Grove Village)
    80. Learn about the Irish culture at Irish Fest (7/17 - 7/18, Arlington Heights)
    81. Fore! Practice your mini-golfing skills at Congo River Golf (Hoffman Estates)
    82. Watch a movie under the an airport . Don't forget your lawn chairs and blanket. (7/21, Lake in the Hills)
    83. Find a bargain at a flea market like Wolff's Flea Market (Palatine)
    84. Shop at an old time general store like Norton's USA (Barrington)
    85. Watch the Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Arlington (7/25, Arlington Heights)
    86. Order a hot dog from a real caboose at Dundee Depot Dogs (East Dundee)
    87. Join storytime at a library (Various)
    88. Listen to a story with cookies and milk at Panera through Barrington library (South Barrington)
    89. Engage your kids with a class at Gymboree Play & Music (South Barrington)
    90. Take photos at the picturesque Walton Island Park (Elgin)
    91. Eat at a restaurant....with a live tree growing in the middle. Benedict's is a great option for a breakfast or brunch. (East Dundee)
    92. Dine in a train car at Chessies (Barrington)
    93. Celebrate National Hot Dog Day in Des Plaines with games and hot dogs at places across the park district including: Mountain View Adventure Center, Mystic Waters, Chippewa Pool, Iroquois Pool, and the Lake Park Clubhouse. (7/23, Des Plaines)
    94. Discover all that Rosemont has to offer. Review here. (Rosemont)
    95. Chow down on grilled food at Weber Grill. Read about our experience here. (Schaumburg)
    96. Celebrate the 4th of July at Northwest Fourth-Fest, the largest festival in the Northwest suburbs. (Hoffman Estates)
    97. Beat the crowds and go apple picking. Read our review of Royal Oak Farm. (Harvard)
    98. Enjoy fun activities like a corn maze, 50' tube slide, carousel, jumping pillows and more at Richardson Adventure Farm. Read about our experience here. (Spring Grove)
    99. Sundae Funday! Have you conquered the kitchen sink at Colonial Cafe? (Algonquin)
    100. Eat sushi kaiten-style on a conveyer belt at Sushi Station (Elgin)
    101. Enjoy the beautiful gardens at Friendship Park Conservatory. Read a review by Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries. (Des Plaines)

Did I miss any of your favorite activities in the Northwest burbs?

Follow O the Places We Go's board Summer Fun in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago on Pinterest.

Review and GIVEAWAY: Sweet treats at Kimmer’s Ice Cream #KimmersKares

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton

Disclosure: Although I was provided a complimentary scoop, I  was not required to express a particular point of view. As always, all opinions are my own.

Kimmers Ice Cream has opened another location in the western suburb of Wheaton. And boy are they lucky to have Kimmers! I was lucky enough to be a part of a blogger event where we went behind the scenes and learned more about Kimmer's Ice Cream.

Nitty Gritty:

Location: 109 E. Front Street, Wheaton
Hours: Summer Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri 11pm – 11pm, Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 10pm
Parking: Street parking


Kimmers Ice Cream Store Front

  • Such a cute place! The pink and black storefront will lure you in.

Kimmers Ice Cream Shop

Kimmers Ice Cream Store Menu

  • Ideal location. Kimmer's is located right the in the heart of downtown Wheaton, right off the Metra line.
  • Love these cute daily reminders!

Kimmers Ice Cream Signs

  • Homemade goodness! Seeing the entire ice cream process from start to finish. We started with these white chocolate  cookies from a local company....

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton Cookies

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton Ice Cream Process

...added a little love....
Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton Machine

...and ta da! Fifteen minutes later a fresh batch in all its creamy goodness!!

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton End Product

  • So many choices! With over 20+ flavors to choose from like Blueberry Cheesecake or Chocolate Covered Sea Salt, a taste test is a must!  Their most popular flavors include the Parent Trap (cookies 'n cream with a peanut butter swirl) and Sea Salt with Caramel.

Kimmers Ice Cream Taste

  • Tons of cone choices! Regular ol' cone or chocolate waffle cone?

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton Cone Choices

I personally could not resist their famous pink sparkle cone.

Kimmers Ice Cream Sparkle Cone

  • Take some ice cream to go! Tons of options - pints, ice cream cakes (my absolutely favorite), ice cream pies (who knew?)

Kimmers Ice Cream Wheaton Pints Pies Cakes

  • Not only is the ice cream heavenly, but the fact that Kimmers gives back to the community makes Kimmer's even more awesome. They launched their program called Kimmers Kares, "a program that partners with the community with fundraising and co-marketing programs."


 Tips to enjoy Kimmers Ice Cream:

  • Make a day out of it! Next door is a toy store and down the block is the library.

Bottom Line: 

After the meeting Kim, going on a mini tour and sneak peek at how the ice cream is made, I can absolutely tell that it is indeed homemade with love. And yes, she is as sweet as the ice cream she makes! So go ahead and do yourself a favor, head over to Kimmer's and grab a cone. (Even better, a sparkly cone.) Trust me, you're taste buds will thank you.


Now are you ready for this? One lucky winner will win a $25 gift card to Kimmers Ice Cream in Wheaton. Contest ends 5/30/15 and the winner will be emailed.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Revisiting The Abbey Resort Wisconsin: Spa Time, Fun Activities, and Brunch

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Main

We always love going to The Abbey Resort, whether it's to visit just for a special event, or even better, to stay there and relax. We usually time our stays to coincide with the holidays like their Christmas Celebration since there's always something fun brewing. One thing's for sure - there's always something happening for families. On our latest visit, we visited on Mother's Day where we celebrated with family activities, a little pampering, and delicious eats.

Resort Highlights:

  • As I have mentioned before one of the best parts about The Abbey is all the fun activities planned for kids and families. This time around we saw that pizza making and a movie were being offered. How could we resist? My 4 year old and 3 year old are fans of pizza (of course) and have started showing interest in how things are made. My kiddos had a great time making their own pizz from rolling the dough to adding toppings.  I wish I could have taken a photo of the finished pizza but we inhaled it while watching "How to Train a Dragon 2. This was such a fun activity and delicious I may add!

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Pizza Making

  • Lots of activities were planned for Mother's Day weekend including a petting zoo. I wasn't too sure if the petting zoo would still happen given the crummy outdoor weather. Luckily, The Abbey decided to bring the petting zoo indoors. My little one was enamored with allthe farm animals

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Petting Zoo

  • Other activities like bags, crafts, face painting and balloon were available. All of them were free (including the awesome ninja turtle balloon!)
    Abbey Resort Wisconsin Crafts Bags Face Painting Balloon

Spa Highlights

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Spa

Entrance to the Spa

  • I was able to escape for a little bit to enjoy a relaxing spa pedicure. Such friendly staff!
  • The sunlit atrium pool with whirlpool was basically all mine! Magazines, strawberry water, and beverages were waiting for me.

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Spa Atrium Pool

  • Showers, steam room and dry sauna

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Spa Collage

  • A heavenly whirlpool in the women's locker room

Abbey Resort Wisconsin Spa Whirlpool

Restaurant Highlights

Although 240 West, formerly known as Fontana Grill, may have changed their name, it still has its ideal location sporting the gorgeous panoramic harbor views. They changed their look slightly and updated their menu to reflect a "contemporary, Midwestern vibe that ranges from sharable small plates packed with flavor, to expected entrees served with a twist..."  The addition of a private wine room and updated entrance, are some of the newer changes to 240 West.

Abbey Resort Wisconsin 240 West Wine Table

  • It was Mother's Day and to accommodate one of their busiest brunch days, the food stations were located in a separate room. And oh my goodness - so much food!  Carving stations, bread, different kinds of egg benedicts, salad, waffle stations, so much!

Abbey Resort Wisconsin 240 West Food

  • A nice kiddie table with food with the table low enough for the shorties to grab food. My kids loved the mini jello shots and carrot sticks in ranch (so cute!)

Abbey Resort Wisconsin 240 West Kiddie Table

  • The dessert table looked oh-so-sweet!

Abbey Resort Wisconsin 240 West Dessert Table

  • Who can resist a chocolate fountain? Not us!

Abbey Resort Wisconsin 240 West Chocolate Fountain

  • Highly rated! 240 West just received Open Table's Diners’ Choice awards
    as "Best of Lake Geneva" restaurant.

Tips to Enjoy The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa and 240 West:

  • Make a weekend out of it. Check their website for more fun packages during holidays. They always have something fun brewing! For instance, during Memorial Day weekend they will offer a Luminary Tribute to our nation’s fallen heroes, ice cream sundae bar, a Mad Science show, and even a fun 1k and 2k race with an appearance by the resort’s mascot Abbey the St. Bernanrd at the finish line.

Bottom Line:

The Abbey Resort never disappoints. It seems as if we always find something new to do. We can't wait until we come back!

Nitty Gritty

Location: 269 Fontana Blvd. Fontana, WI 53125; minutes away from Lake Geneva
Avani Spa Pass is $25 or included with a spa service of over $50

  Read my entire review on


Disclosure: Our family was provided a complimentary stay and meal at The Abbey Resort. I was not required to express a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.

Celebrating a birthday at Adventure Playland Mount Prospect

adventure playland main

My son just turned five and for his birthday he wanted nothing other than a birthday party at a play place. (Well, that along with a Power Rangers cake) We were so smitten with our latest visit to Adventure Playland that we thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate his milestone birthday. Boy, were we right! It was completely stress-free, and best of all, the kids and birthday boy had tons of fun!

Nitty Gritty:

Location: 990 Mount Prospect Plaza, Mount Prospect. Located in a plaza tucked in the corner between Walmart and Aldi
Parking: Plenty of parking at the lot
Stroller-friendly? It may get a little crowded with the stroller.
Food: Cafe specializes in European fare including delicious crepes (sweet or savory). There are also salads, coffee, and snacks.
What to expect:  Tables, a pretty large play structure with a ball blaster area in the center; slides on either side of the ball blaster area; a soft padded area for younger tikes; ball pits

The Party Room:

  • We had about 25 adults and 15 kids in one room. Granted not everyone was in there all at the same time, we found it a little bit crowded at times. Then again, we did have a pretty large party.

Adventure Playland Party Room

  • Cute kiddie tables were set up for the youngest ones, and another one set up for adults. Cutlery was provided along with plates.

Adventure Playland Party Room Kids Table

Adventure Playland Room

  • Two party rooms are available. Pretty similar in size except the other one doesn't have windows. There's a partition that can be removed to make a one big room.
Adventure Playland Party Room Other

The Fun: 

  • The main entertainment (and only one needed) was of course the playground. Kids had a so much fun from watching balls blast in the air at the ball blaster zone to sliding down one of two sets of slides into a ball pit.
Adventure Playland Playground
Adventure Playland Playground Right Section
Adventure Playland Baby Section
  • Read more about the play area here.

The Party Package:

  • We opted for the package for up to 15 children for $310
  • Themes are available for an additional fee. You can also bring your own decorations early if you wanted.
  • Includes 2 hours of a reserved room with playtime in the playground.
  • Kiddie meals include 2 slices of pizza and juice box. You can add more food including some delicious crepes. We had the strawberry and cream cheese and it was so yummy!

Adventure Playland Playground Crepes

  • We ordered pizza for the rest of the adults for an additional cost of $23 per pizza. It was from a local pizza joint Marco's and was delicious! Really glad we didn't have to pay per adult as we have done in the past.

Adventure Playland Playground PizzA

  • Different options for foods you don't typically see at play cafes like a sweet assortment tray (cheesecake, file shells, pie) or a waffle tray.
  • Not only did the party host help clean up, but she would also pop in the kids playground to see how the kids were doing. It was great having one less thing to worry about!
  • We were allowed to bring our own cake or cupcakes. (Power Rangers, of course!)

Adventure Playland Mt Prospect Bday Cake

  • Deposit of $70 needed for all party bookings.
  • Pay in full 7 days before the party date.

We wish...

  • ...we were able to bring more food besides cake.

Tips to enjoy a party at Adventure Playland

  • Be sure to let guests know where Adventure Playland was located. A few guests had a hard time finding the place.
  • Tell guests to bring socks! Or better yet, bring a few extra ones. If not, they can just buy socks for $1.50 at the counter.
  • Schedule a party Monday through Thursday for $50 less.

Bottom Line:

My son and his friends had a blast at Adventure Playland! We heartily recommend having a party here for anyone that wants a stress-free party. Both parents and kids will leave happy!

Mothers celebrated at The Abbey Resort #LakeGeneva

Mothers  Day at the abbey resort

Mother’s Day is just around the corner on Sunday, May 10. If you’re scrambling to find ideas for mom, why not give her the rest and relaxation that she deserves? My favorite way to do just that is to get away – away from household chores, cooking, and day-to-day responsibilites. I can't think of a better way to do so than by packing the bags and taking a mini-vacay. When we heard how The Abbey Resort was going all out and celebrating moms for Mother's Day, we were sold!

Here are a few ways to reasons why moms should celebrate Mother’s Day at The Abbey:

·         Moms don't have to cook! A delicious Mother’s Day brunch spread including complimentary sparkling wine and mimosas is available at 240° West from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.

·         Brunch and resort guests are invited to enjoy time together as a family with games, crafts, and kid-friendly activities such as face painting, lawn games, giant bubble wands, and a petting zoo, available throughout the resort from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

·         Pamper her! For those looking to really treat their mom, a Mother’s Day Spa Special is available at Avani Spa from May 7 – 11, including a massage, pedicure, facial, shampoo and blow dry, and full spa access on the day of service for 20% off the full value price.

·         More family fun! For overnight guests, they will have activities that will keep the kids busy such as cookie decorating, soft pretzel making, pizza making, glow-in-the-dark pool time, movies, a popcorn bar, and fireside s’mores. So much fun!

Nitty Gritty

Website: For more information about the activities planned go here.
Location: 269 Fontana Blvd. Fontana, WI 53125
Parking: Plenty of free parking

Hotel Review: Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park

Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park Main

We were so excited to stay at the Fairmont Chicago Millenium, primarily because of its proximity to Millenium Park and the new Maggie Daley Park.  Not only did we love being so close these fabulous parks, but the Fairmont has become one of our favorite Chicago hotels.

Nitty Gritty:


Location: 200 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60601. Located right by the Magnificent Mile, Millenium Park, and Maggie Daley Park

Parking: Valet parking with in and out privileges is $70/night.

Check-in and check-out: 3:00 p.m. and 12 p.m.

AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel

Hotel Highlights:

  • Location is tops! Just a short walk from our hotel was Art Institute, Millenium Park and the new awesome Maggie Daley Park. (More on this to come)
  • Pretty cool lobby. My son was mesmerized at the wavy lights on the floor.

Fairmont Chicago Lobby

  • Connected to Aon Center (with food options) and the ever-so-mysterious pedway system
  • Service at its finest. How often does a valet greet you with water AND a towel after you've had a run around the city? My husband appreciated this thoughtfulness.
  • The gold lounge on the 15th floor was worth it - a nice breakfast,dessert, snacks, and a light dinner, drinks. One of the nights, they even had foie grois! With it comes internet, bike rentals for 3 hours, and so much more.

Fairmont Chicago Gold Lounge Room

Fairmont Chicago Gold Lounge Food

A nice spread

Fairmont Chicago Gold Lounge Food 2

  • Better than average fitness center with tons of cardio machines.  Open 24/7

Fairmont Chicago mySpa Gym

Room highlights

  • We stayed in a Millenium Park Suite that came with a full kitchen, dining area, sitting room, and two separate king bedrooms. It was awesome!! It felt like we had our own apartment.
  • A rare find in a hotel room - a full kitchen with a stove, fridge with freezer, and a microwave

Fairmont Chicago Kitchen

  • An amazing living room with so much room to move about....

Fairmont Chicago Sitting Area View

  • Beautiful and comfortable king room. The headboard was actually a partition - behind it held the closet/drawers. Pretty neat use of space!

Fairmont Chicago Bedroom Master

  • The cozy bedroom that the kiddos shared. Again with an amazing view of Millenium Park and the BP Bridge.

Fairmont Chicago Bedroom


Fairmont Chicago Bedroom View 2

...with a real portable crib and a few baby essentials.

Fairmont Chicago Crib

  • Gorgeous marble bathrooms

Fairmont Chicago Bathroom 1

  • Beautiful mosaics in each of the bathrooms.

Fairmont Chicago Bathroom Mosaic

  • Plush, little robes for my lil men

Fairmont Chicago Kids Robe

  • We were able to tour the other rooms and found that the one bedroom suites were very spacious and ideal for families.

Fairmont Chicago One Bedroom Suite

We wish...

  • ....they had a pool!
  • ..we could have used the tub in the boys room. We had a hard time regulating the water temperature.
  • ..we could have dined at the critically acclaimed onsite restaurant aria.
  • ..the parking wasn't so expensive! I know this is in line with what other Chicago hotels charge, but it's still crazy expensive!

Tips to enjoy the Fairmont Millenium Park

  • Upgrade to a Fairmont Gold room to access the Gold Lounge. Well worth it in my opinion - a great breakfast spread, desserts, snacks, and drinks. (The very same drinks that are about $4 each in each room)

Bottom Line:

If you're looking for a hotel close to the new and fabulous Maggie Daley Park and Millenium Park, look no further than the Fairmont Chicago. In addition to the prime location, families will love staying at the comfortable, luxurious hotel.

 Read my entire review on

Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary stay at the Fairmont Chicago Millenium Park. I received no other compensation besides the hotel stay. The hotel did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. All opinions are my own.

A whole lotta German fun at Hofbräuhaus Chicago

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Main

I visited Hofbräuhaus Chicago awhile back on my own and had such a great time!  From the lively entertainment to the fantastic beer,  the atmosphere just oozes fun! I thought the family would enjoy as well and boy was I right!

Nitty Gritty:

Location: 5500 Park Place, Rosemont
Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11am – 11pm, Thursday 11am – midnight, Friday & Saturday 11am – 2am
Parking: Parking lot located next to the restaurant and also a parking garage closeby; bring your ticket to get validated


  • Upon entering the building you'll notice that it's huge! In fact, they can hold 550 people! Get ready to get to know your neighbors since you'll be sitting at communal tables.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Tables

  • Such a fun atmosphere with catchy toe tapping music from the authentic “Oompah” band! They stop at tables and play music. My little ones enjoyed themselves and were dancing around.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Entertainment

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Entertainment 2

  • Loud as we want to be. Since it is a beer hall and the entertainment loud, we didn't have to worry about quieting down our two rowdy boys. You could even catch them singing along and chanting.
  • Great-tasting beer brewed in-house. And that's saying alot considering I don't drink beer often.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Beer

  • Ginormous pretzels. Especially with the three different choices of sauce - cheese, sweet onion, and mustard. Absolutely delicious!

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Pretzel

  • Not sure what to get? If you're a fan of sausages, the sausage tower offers a little bit of everything (and more pretzels!)

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Sausage Tower


  • Food is pretty tasty with large portions.
  • Hofbrauhaus Chicago FoodAwesome service. Our waitress was attentive and very friendly. A fine example of how service should be.
  • Not only is it a restaurant and beer hall, but they are a micro-brewery.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Brew

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Outside

  •  A little gift shop if you're looking for a unique souvenir or interested in taking home a beer steins.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Gift Shop

 Tips to enjoy Hofbrauhaus Chicago:

  • Be forewarned! If you order shots, you'll get a spanking from the waiter/waitress. From what I've heard, they don't mess around either.
  • Coming with the family? Visit during Saturday or Sunday afternoons for, ahem, a less rowdy evening crowd.
  • Kids eat free on Tuesdays with a paying adult.

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Kids Menu

  • Visit on Sundays from 1- 3 p.m. to catch a magic show.  A magician goes around each table and performs a trick or two.
  • Visit when the live entertainment is performing:

Live Entertainment Schedule 

Sunday: Noon – 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Monday – Wednesday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Thursday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday: 6 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Saturday: Noon – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.

We wish...

  • ..we were able to experience the magician's magic show!
  • ..we ordered the apple strudel. We ordered a couple desserts, but weren't overly impressed with them. (They sure looked good though!) On the other hand we did hear great things about their apple strudel. Next time!

Hofbrauhaus Chicago Dessert

Did you know?

  • The beer is brewed using original recipes handed down over 400 years ago by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria.
  • The pretzels and sauerkraut are brought from Germany?

Bottom Line: 

This place is SO MUCH FUN! The entire family will love it, but be sure to visit during the afternoons when the live entertainment is playing. If you're looking for a quiet place for conversation, then I advise to look elsewhere.



Library fun: Wauconda Area Library #NationalLibraryWeek

Exploring the Wauconda Area Librar

Did you know this week is National Library Week? Come join me every day this week as I showcase some of our favorite libraries in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Roundup of our favorite libraries in the northwest suburbs of Chicago

Day 1: Algonquin Area Public Library

Day 2: Schaumburg Township District Library

Day 3: Elk Grove Village Library

Day 4: Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Day 5: Gail Borden Public Library

Day 6: Barrington Area Library

I talked about my favorite library, Barrington Area Library, but this library rivals it! We heard the Wauconda Area Library underwent a renovation and just opened recently. In fact, they are celebrating their Grand Opening today, April 18.The kids section, Kids City, is absolutely fabulous! It's a great space that encourages imaginative play and learning.

Nitty Gritty:

Wauconda Area Library Sign

Location: 801 N Main Street, Wauconda, Illinois. Kid City is located in the lower level.
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9AM - 9PM, Friday 9AM - 6PM, Saturday 9AM - 5PM, Sunday 12PM - 4PM
Parking:  Outdoor parking lot

Why Kids Will Love the Children's Area at Wauconda Area Library:

  • A warm welcome as you walk in. Say hello to the fish!

Wauconda Area Library Fish Tank

  • A huge touch screen that offers fun and educational games

Wauconda Area Library Huge Touch Screen

  • Such a fun, bright area. This space could really be disguised as a children's museum.

Wauconda Area Library Overview

  • A really cool airplane structure...with slide! Totally LOVE it!

Wauconda Area Library Slide

  • Besides the slide, there are control panels to fidget around with and a cute little reading nook

Wauconda Area Library Slide Features

  •  Totally diggin' the lite brite wall

Wauconda Area Library Lite Brite Wall

  •  Building encouraged. Always fun with a LEGO table AND a cool LEGO wall.

Wauconda Area Library LEGO table and panel

  • Imaginative play encouraged with a grocery store

Wauconda Area Library Grocery Store

  • A little space for my little one to crawl around

Wauconda Area Library Crawl

  • A neat light table with magnetic blocks

Wauconda Area Library Light Table Magformers

  • Calling all gamers! A section dedicated just for them with a huge screen

Wauconda Area Library Gaming Section

  • A section to creating crafts. On the day we visited, the library had a craft stations set up.

Wauconda Area Library Create Station

  • Little techies will love the 3 iPads available perfectly situated by the windows

Wauconda Area Library iPads

  •  Something you don't see too often - a paper airplane launcher. So neat!

Wauconda Area Library Paper Airplane Launcher

We wish:

  • ..we wouldn't change a thing!

Tips to enjoy the Wauconda Area Public Library:

  • The park is conveniently located across the street. Perfect time to picnic it up!

Bottom Line:

I'm not sure how the Wauconda Area Public Library was before, but what a fantastic job with the renovations. I'm hesitant to share this hidden gem with everyone, but hey, everyone should know about this library!

Have you been to Wauconda Area Public Library?

Library fun: Barrington Area Library

Barrington Area Library Main

Did you know this week is National Library Week? Come join me every day this week as I showcase some of our favorite libraries in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Roundup of our favorite libraries in the northwest suburbs of Chicago

Day 1: Algonquin Area Public Library

Day 2: Schaumburg Township District Library

Day 3: Elk Grove Village Library

Day 4: Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Day 5: Gail Borden Public Library

Day 6: Barrington Area Library

Of all the libraries that we visited, we loved, loved, LOVED this library. The kids spent three hours here and could have stayed longer. This newly renovated library is so much fun. I guarantee you'll love it!

Nitty Gritty:

Barrington Area Library Building

Location: 505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington
Hours: m-f: 9am-9pm sat: 9am-5pm, sun: 1pm-5pm
Parking:  Outdoor parking lot

Why Kids Will Love the Children's Area at Barrington Area Public Library:

  • Get wowed as the awesome architecture greets you when you walk in

Barrington Area Library Entrance

  •  Totally diggin' the lite brite wall

Barrington Area Library Lite Brite Wall

  • Fun large floor blocks

Barrington Area Library Building Blocks

  • We've seen LEGO tables but how about a LEGO table inside a LEGO room where all the walls are made of flat LEGO boards?

Barrington Area Library LEGO Room

  • Imaginative play encouraged with a bakery and deli, fruit and vegetable stand, and construction table

Barrington Area Library Bakery Deli

  • Educational play toys everywhere we turn!

Barrington Area Library Fun Wall

  • Letting the creative juices flowing at the magnetic chalkboard wall

Barrington Area Library Chalkboard Magnetic Wall

  •  6 sets of educational iPads

Barrington Area Library iPads


  • And the main highlight - a slide with a puppet theatre underneath. Yes, I said a SLIDE!

Barrington Area Library Slide

We wish:

  • ..we wouldn't change a thing! A great fun space, although I can see how crowded it can get.

Tips to enjoy the Barrington Area Public Library:

  • The park is located across the street. Perfect time to picnic it up!

Bottom Line:

The play area at the Barrington Area Public Library rocks! You'll feel as if you've walked into a children's museum but without the hefty price tag. Such a great place for the entire community. Do yourself a favor and check it out yourself.

Have you been to Barrington Area Public Library?