Category: Living in Chicago

The joys of raising two kids in a small apartment

Photo credit: Flickr/Chris

Are you, like my husband and me, raising two kids in a two-bedroom condo or apartment? Are you wondering how long your family will fit or wishing you had more space? We do, too. But as parents of two boys (seven and nine years old), we have grown to love life in our little place. We’ve enjoyed living here longer than we thought we would, and you might enjoy several more years, if not a lifetime, in your small home. Here’s why.

Small homes are easy to keep ...

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 11:23 AM by Amy Johnson

Overheard on the NPN forum: Help, I need gift ideas!

With Christmas two weeks away and Hanukkah ending on December 14, it's officially crunch time for holiday gift-buying. Many of our members are posting desperate pleas on our main discussion forum for gift ideas for everyone from teachers to teenagers. As usual, NPN members came to the rescue with great ideas!

Find gift suggestions for:

Retired parents


Au pair

Preschool teacher

4 year old boy

5-6 year old girl

6-7 year old boy


Posted on December 11, 2015 at 10:25 AM by Laura Baginski

Yes, you can survive parenthood without family nearby

Maybe you always knew you’d wind up in Chicago. Maybe Chicago is the last place you thought you’d be when you started raising a family (insert raised hand here). In either case, Chicago is home now, and for me, the distance to my own family never felt as great as when I started having kids of my own.

While I still feel pangs of jealousy when I hear another mom talk about dropping off her kids at her sister’s house for impromptu afternoon cousin playdates or romantic long weekends away whil...

Posted on December 09, 2015 at 2:19 PM by Jenny Rowland

Overheard on the NPN forum: What's your Black Friday strategy?

Are you going to spend Black Friday on the couch putting leftovers in your face, or are you going to brave the stores and possibly get into a fist fight over a TV? Or, will you have the best of both worlds: surfing online for deals with one hand while eating with the other? 

Our members are talking about their Black Friday strategies—which stores to hit, which to avoid, debating whether there are actual deals to be had in stores or online—because it's never to early to plan the Thanksg...

Posted on November 20, 2015 at 9:53 AM by Laura Baginski

Busy moms are already on trend for fall

Good news: Comfortable clothes and shoes (i.e., what you wear all the time) are in fashion for fall! Here are four ways to update your everday outfits for the season.

1. Wear sneakers with everything.
Lucky for those us who like to be comfortable—so all of us—sneakers are trending right now. You can even pair them with a dress and look chic. Just make sure to choose a pair that aren’t cross trainers meant for the gym. This pair or this pair are good go-tos.

2. Pick up some “...

Posted on September 04, 2015 at 9:15 AM by Alyssa Doorhy

BEST Playgrounds on the El

No car?  No problem!  Here are some great playgrounds just blocks from an El stop.  So, load up the kids for an El playground adventure!

Lois Klein Playground: 3550 N. Lincoln at Addison and Ravenswood

El Stop: Brown Line Addison stop

Playground Details: Small, bustling playground in a busy area, yet the structures feel removed from the street and train tracks.  Enjoy some morning playtime then head to Roscoe Village for lunch. There is a toddler climbing structure, with some mor...

Posted on August 08, 2014 at 9:00 AM by Mistie Lucht

Family Fitness at the Park!

All summer, Playground Pointers and NPN have been sharing all kinds of amazing playgrounds for you to experience.  Now, here is a way to experience playgrounds in a different way – by playing with your kids and staying fit at any playground you visit.

Playground Pointers has partnered with Coach Kimmy Personal Fitness to bring you 5 fun and challenging exercises for the entire family.  Get moving and get playing!

Bench Bunny Hop Overs:  

·      Find any park bench and place you...

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM by Mistie Lucht

7 Best Chicago Playgrounds for Climbing

As your kids get older, perhaps playgrounds are not their first choice for outdoor playtime anymore.  Before they retire their sliding and swinging skills, check out these playgrounds that have more challenging climbing structures.  Get in on the fun yourself and challenge them to a climb – you’ll be amazed how interesting these playgrounds can be for even you!

Union Playground

Location: 1501 W. Randolph St., Near West Side Neighborhood

Challenge Details: From the huge dome climb...

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 7:30 AM by Mistie Lucht

Navigating the Mag Mile with the Kids

Navigating your way through the Mag Mile is no easy feat. As one of Chicago’s most crowded area, Michigan Avenue can be overwhelming for moms and families alike. Our Go To guide will help you make the best decisions on where to go, what to and how to get there.

People Watching:

·      Water Tower Place (835 N. Michigan Avenue)– One of the most popular shopping malls in the U.S., Water Tower Place is also the perfect place for people watching. Coupled with open seating, you and your youn...

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM by Katie Lewis

Being a Wicker Park Mom

Moving to Wicker Park, Chicago 13 years ago, I had no idea that I’d also raise children here. It is incredibly different from the suburban town in Michigan were I grew up and while I sometimes feel a sense of nostalgia for my own childhood of rural roads and backyard adventures, I love raising my kids here.

I won’t deny that Wicker Park is busy! The 6 way intersection at Damen/North/Milwaukee is bustling, as is the Polish Triangle  at Ashland/Division/Milwaukee. In the summer sidewalk cafe...

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 7:30 AM by Amy Johnson