Fresh from the Forum: Lunch Box Ideas

NPN's discussion forums are chock-full of millions of posts on topics ranging from behavior challenges to snack ideas!

School is back in full swing, and many parents are looking for something other than peanut butter sandwiches to pack in their kids' lunches every day.

Recently one of our discussion board users was seeking some creative lunch options. Our members posted some fun and healthy lunch box ideas, including:


Pizzas with whole wheat pitas from Trad...

Posted on October 04, 2011 at 10:17 AM by Melanie Schlachter

Teachers' Tips to Ease the Transition to First Grade

The beginning of the school year is exciting and daunting for every child, especially first graders. But Akiba-Schechter Kindergarten teacher Mara Katz reminds us that “so much about school is being comfortable.” Thankfully, you can ease the transition:

Make the Unfamiliar Familiar

Plan a play date with a classmate. If your child is new, knowing someone before that first day is even more important.

Visit the school. Check out the building and the neighborhood so your chil...

Posted on October 03, 2011 at 10:10 AM by Annette Gendler

Tips for School Success

The beginning of the school year is an excellent time for students and parents to become acquainted with the year’s goals and expectations. The following checklist may be helpful for parents when evaluating a child’s strengths and challenges.

Does your child:

Follow age-appropriate one- and two-step written directions? Spoken directions?

Begin and/or continue work independently?

Ask for assistance when he needs it?

Complete short-term assignments by the due da...

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 8:39 AM by Heather Bragg

Story Time Extravaganza - Read for the Record

Story times are the perfect way to enjoy an hour with your little ones!  I am so excited to be a reader at Building Blocks Toy Stores' story time week in honor of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record!  We hope to see you one day next week at a Building Blocks in Wicker Park (2130 W. Division) – please pledge to read and join millions of other concerned parents.

Building Blocks will donate $15 to Jumpstart on behalf of each child our local leader reads to at the events.  Thank you to Katherine M...

Posted on September 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM by Sarah Cobb

Sep 28 CPS Board of Ed Meeting from CNC

NPN has partnered with the Chicago News Cooperative to help parents get answers to questions they have about Chicago schools. CNC education reporters will contribute posts about how CPS works and what's happening at the board of education. CNC will also weigh in about state funding issues and trends in education. If you have a question you'd like to see addressed, please send it to 

CNC is our eyes and ears at the CPS Board of Education Meetings. Preview: C...

Posted on September 28, 2011 at 1:00 PM by Crystal Yednak

5 Ways to Make Mornings Easier

The morning rush hour can be exhausting and frustrating.  Does the start of each day feel like a battle with your kids and the constant search for what you need most to get out of the house?  Nevermind the pressure to actually make it to school or an activity on time!  Here are a 5 ways to keep things organized:

1) The Bowl of Essentials

The first step towards getting out of the house quickly is to have a handy bowl of essentials. Never search for your keys, phone, or wallet a...

Posted on September 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM by Jessica Schanberg

My Neighborhood: Family Fun in Kenwood & Hyde Park

NPN connects families in neighborhoods across Chicago.  Get inspired to check out a new part of the city or discover something fabulous just around the corner.  This stop:  Kenwood & Hyde Park with Geri - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods

Our family has spent the last ten years in and about the neighboring communities of Kenwood and Hyde Park.  The Hyde Park area spans north to 51st Street, south to 60th street, east to the lake and west to Washington Park. ...

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM by Geri Redd

Got 5 minutes? Get in a workout!

Being a relatively new business in North Center, we at Orange Shoe jumped at the opportunity to speak and share some fitness tips with the NPN Moms in Business event last week.  The event was themed around balance, so we addressed how physical activity and exercise can help you achieve balance physically as well as mentally and psychologically.  Also, since we all are busy folks, we offered some quick 5, 10 and 15 minute at-home workouts ideas. So for those parents who missed it, read belo...

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 9:15 AM by Orange Shoe Personal Fitness

Perk Reminder! Discounts on Family Dinners with Dream Dinners

Dream Dinners helps families manage dinnertime because they believe this is the hour that matters most!

"What's for dinner?" Dream Dinners answers that question for you. Their menu changes monthly and includes over 17 different recipes each month, along with additional pre-assembled dinners, sides, breads, and desserts ready for purchase while in the store. A wide variety of options means that there are plenty of meal choices to satisfy everyone in the family.

Give it a try - here ...

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 11:41 AM by Shellie Slove

Fresh from the Forum: Free Chicago Activities

NPN's discussion forums are chock-full of millions of posts on topics ranging from apple picking to temper tantrums!

Recently one of our members compiled a list of free Chicago activites by day. The following is just a sampling of the many free and fun activities offered throughout the city of Chicago. Check out the full list on the discussion board! Post your own favorites if you don't see them listed!


10:00am - 12:00pm Family Preschool Program @ Garfield Park Cons...

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 6:40 AM by Melanie Schlachter