Your Guide to Labor Day Weekend

And just like that summer is (unofficially) over. Labor Day marks the last hurrah of the season and a day off of work for many of us. If you are looking to squeeze every bit of summer out of this weekend, we have some ideas for you to get to it.

Get Artsy: Art Fair at the Dole
September 3 – September 4 | Lakeside Legacy Arts Park

Plein Air: Come capture the beauty of the Lakeside property with a Plein Air event. Interact with the community and express the magic of creativity with a series of small paintings made on the Lakeside Arts Park At The Dole property.

Get British: Beatles Blast Bristish Invasion 2016
September 2-4 | The Cottage, Crystal Lake

Want to feel like you’re on Mathew St in Liverpool and see the Beatles? Head to The Cottage as it transforms into a celebration of the British Invasion with live music, food, and family fun.

Get Beachy: 15th Annual Cardboard Boat Races
September 3 | Lindy’s Landing, Wauconda

A fantastic summertime tradition, with a full day schedule of fun and excitement for the whole family. The races begin at 12 P.M. and take place on beautiful Bangs Lake.

Get To A Festival: Lake in the Hills Summer Sunset Festival
September 2 – September 4 | Sunset Park, LITH

Baggo, Carnival, Car Show, Fireworks, Food Vendors, Kids Korner, Music, Parade, Paint & Sip, 5K, Beer & Wine Tasting! The Parade will kick-off at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the Festival ends on Sunday, with the Fireworks show. Parking and access to the Festival grounds are both FREE. The only costs are for the carnival rides, food and beverages.

Get To The Movies: McHenry Outdoor Theater
September 2 – September 3 | Chapel Hill Rd, McHenry

Pay tribute and remember the great Gene Wilder with two movies: Young Frankenstein, followed by Blazing Saddles. Bring a blanket and a radio, grab some popcorn and enjoy the shows.

Get Your Music Fix: Broken Oar
September 2-5 | Rawson Bridge Rd, Port Barrington

If you are looking for great music, good food, cold drinks and a view of the river, you need to get to Broken Oar for the weekend. No cover charge, just the best cover bands.

Get To The Races: Arlington Park Family Fun Day 
September 4 | Arlington Race Track, Arlington Heights

Take your final chance to say goodbye to the mascot Arli before he heads back to school for the year. Grab some school supplies* to help local schools and receive free general admission. (*must be $8 value, see accepted school supply list)

Get In The Sky: Harvard Balloon Fest
September 2 – September 4 | Milky Way Park, Harvard

This inaugural fest is set to be a Family Fun event with balloon ascensions, night glows, entertainment, and food with 75% of the proceeds benefiting Harvard area Not-For-Profit organizations. Have fun for a great cause!

Get Wine: Johnsburg First Wine Walk
September 3 | starts at Angelo’s Market, Johnsburg

Take a walk and sip some wine while stopping at three locations. $10 gets you a wine glass, bottle of wine, appetizers and wine at each stop.

Whether you plan to go to these events, get in one last splash at the pool, dine outside, or just hang with family and friends, we hope you have a great holiday weekend!

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MyBAB takes on dinner time

Ok, we get it, between working all day and having the kids turn from sweet to angry the second they get hungry and then throw in any after school activities it should be considered an Olympic event to get dinner on the table that is more than cereal (no shame, it happens in our houses at least once a week!). We are by no means experts on this subject but here are some recipes that we have tried that work well.

Jen’s Picks

Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

Any recipe that has the word Cupcake in the title immediately has my attention. This meal is very little prep and it sort of tricks my kids into eating veggies (well except Brooke, that girl is stubborn when it comes to eating veggies!!). Best part, it is only 20 minutes 🙂

Crockpot Lasagna

The Crockpot could be one of the best inventions ever. I had ZERO appreciation for it until I had kids. Oh man, such a time saver!! It should be the official sponsor of working moms. This recipe is great and you can modify it as much as you like.Sometimes instead of browning meat, we just take meatballs and stick them in between the layers.

Tip: They sell special lasagna noodles that you can use in the Crockpot so you aren’t cooking the noodles first.

Tip: They also sell Crockpot liners….um hello easy cleanup!

Tater Tot Casserole

Ok this one really isn’t a meal, more of a side but it is so good it could be a meal (albeit, a non nutritious meal!). I made this on a whim after a day of Pinterest searching and everyone raved about it. The best part, it is beyond easy.

Wen’s Picks

Rolled Up Chicken Parm

A different twist on the classic chicken parmesan in the form of a meatball. The prep is easy and cooks up in about 20 minutes. I’ve served these as the main dish with a veggie side or as sliders on mini rolls. Either way, they’re a hit in our house.

One Pan Caprese Pasta

Anything that can be made in 30 minutes and in one pan is a win in my house! We love this meal for our Meatless Monday’s but have added chicken for the nights we need something a bit heartier. It’s light and filling, and with fresh herbs, mozzarella and tomatoes, its full of flavor.

Parmesan Chicken Bites

Chicken nuggets are a staple food for kids and this is a simple recipe to make them yourself. They do take me a little longer than 15 minutes to prep, but still a good weeknight meal when you’re short on time. These little bites with the parmesan add make them tasty for adults too. You can also bake them to make them a little healthier. My little loves to dip these in ketchup or ranch.

Do you have any meals that are a hit in your house? Any tips to share? We’d love to hear them!

Friday Favorites: Summer Recap

With school back in full swing and leggings, scarves and bootie weather right around the corner (woohoo) we thought we would take a minute to recap some of our favorite moments from summer. How does it always happen that summer goes by so fast…..

Jen’s Recap

~ Summer vacation. This is pretty self explanatory, time away from work, time with the family and great weather, its a win win. In June we headed back to one of our favorite places, Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island South Carolina. Read more about the resort here.

~Getting in all the traditional 4th of July activities. We saw fireworks, went to a parade, went to the beach, BBQ’d, went to a festival, you name it, we did it.

~Enjoyed the weather. The kids love being able to ride their bikes after school or walk to the park. We have eaten outside a lot, whether at home or at our favorite restaurants. Check out our favorite outdoor eats here.

 

Wen’s Recap

This was definitely a summer of firsts for our little!

~ Flower Girl Duties. It doesn’t get much cuter than a flower girl debut. We have known the groom’s family for over ten years and were honored to have our daughter in Tommy and Jenna’s wedding. She loved every minute of it! The wedding was at All Seasons Orchard, more on the venue coming soon.

 

~ Hit the water. With the weather being hot, we needed to cool off with some water play most of the summer. We spent time on the river, lake, and pools.This was the first summer I could sit poolside and just relax (and yes sometimes have a nice cold drink).

~ Other firsts. Library card, Bowling, No-Chip Manicure, Summer Enrichment Camp, Wrigley Field, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co, and Build-A-Bear to name a few. I love that she’s getting older and we’re able to introduce some of the great places we have around us.

 

 

One other favorite thing for the summer ~ we started this website. Thank you for joining us on our new adventure. We love sharing the area’s activities, events, new restaurants and more!

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MyBAB Picks For The Weekend

We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for the weekend. With so much going on and so little time, we’re sharing our picks to make the most of the weekend.

BUBBLES MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Pete’s Dragon

Pete’s Dragon has been in theaters for about two weeks and is still going strong. Disney gave the classic an update that is memorable and entertaining for the littles.

Pete's Dragon

BUBBLY MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Don’t Breathe

A trio of reckless thieves breaks into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong. Opening on Friday, this thriller has twists and turns without being gimmicky.

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TO GO TO: Monarch Family Fun Fair

As summer wraps up, Main Beach will be fluttering with butterflies, activities, games, face painting and more in this event to support the Monarch.

TO EAT: Filet & Rosé

What do you get when you pair Ruth’s Chris sizzling filet and succulent shrimp with crisp, refreshing Rosé? This Summer’s perfect pairing for $30 and you don’t want to miss it!

TO BINGE: Stranger Things 

If you haven’t watched Stranger Things on Netflix yet, you really should. There are only eight episodes, you can totally take a weekend off and watch it.

NEED SOMETHING NEW TO YOU: Fall KidStuff Resell 

Get ready to put the summer wardrobe away and get some gently used clothes, shoes, and gear for your littles. Bonus: if you’re expecting they have maternity too!

TO DO: Make Labor Day Plans

The last hurrah for the summer is next weekend. Watch for our Labor Day edition of weekend happenings next week.

For more details on the fun, be sure to check our Weekend Happenings!

 

Friday Favorites

For this week’s Friday Favorites we thought we would share a little insight into how we text each other on a regular basis. Wen is the queen of sending cute and funny quotes throughout the day and I swear she reads my mind. Since we get such a laugh at the accuracy of these we thought you all might as well, enjoy!!

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Goodbye Summer, Hello First Day of School

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photo courtesy of Keshia Leeann Gardne via abc.com

Nothing else marks the end of summer like the first day of school. Whether you’re the mom jumping for joy at the bus stop or the one holding back tears, it’s a big day for all of us.

Beth G, a local photographer and mom to three shared this and we know she is not alone:

“I think the beginning of the school year has gotten overwhelming for me. I do take a picture outside on their way out, but traditions for us usually include waking up late rushing to get dressed and make it to the bus on time. My boys are late morning sleepers, so anything that can relieve the stress of the first day is a big help.”

We thought there would be no better way to get ready to go back to school than with some Tips, Traditions and Tricks from other moms. We reached out to some of our readers and looked to a few of our favorite bloggers to see how they get ready for the big day.

Tips

As we try to get back into a routine, we look to other moms for tips to keep things organized and easy when it comes to extra-curricular activities and school supplies.

Misty S, was tired of scrambling to remember and pack for extra curricular activities like dance and gymnastics for her kindergartener. Last year she bought crayon boxes that were on clearance at Target for $0.99. Then she labeled each one with the day and put that the clothes in it. “They are the perfect size for her little outfit changes. On the calendar near the utility room I have listed what she has each day, so if I forget while doing the laundry, it’s right there. But really, not everything gets washed each time, so it just goes back in the box. Each evening while packing her bag I’ll just grab that day’s box or boxes and put them in her bag. At the end of the day, the box goes back in the command center.” 

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Beth takes advantage of the option to buy the school supply kit through the school.”It saves me a huge amount of time searching out “the right pencil.” Not all schools offer this option, but if they do, “it’s a huge headache reliever with three kids in school.”

“For school supplies, I let the kids pick out favorite colored folders and pictured spirals to give them the extra excitement of going back to school. This year, I used the sale ad at Office Depot for great savings. If you spent $5 in store, you could purchase several items for one cent up to qty of 3. So I purchased folders for .60, packs of pencils for $1, Bic pens for .25, crayons markers .25 to add up to $5. Then for .09 total, we received….3 packs of pink erasers, 3 comp notebooks and 3 bottle of Elmers glue!” – Danica F, local photographer and mom to two.

Danica school supplies
photo courtesy of Flora Danica Photography

Traditions

 

The first day of school can be a scary day for some kids.  The anxiety of new teachers, new classmates, and maybe even a new school can be a lot for a little kid to deal with.  But having a fun tradition to ease the beginning of the day or to end the day are a great way to calm those nerves.

“I’m also an advocate of a back to school brunch! Our school holds a get together when the littles start kindergarten, but I think it’s a great tradition to continue!” – Beth G. {Note: this can be for the littles or the moms!}

“I decorate the breakfast table for the first day of school. Filled with favorite books, a toy school bus, pencils, and chalkboards with their name as placemats. I have an old mini chalkboard I take their photo with each year.” – Danica F.

“I take a picture of them in front of the front door and then at the bus stop.” – Ingrid L, working mom of two.

danica school signphoto courtesy of Flora Danica Photography

We’ve noticed a fun tradition is to decorate the bedroom door for the child to wake up to or the front door to welcome the child back home from the first day. Some balloons, streamers and a good luck note is all it takes. Wen opts for taking her daughter out for ice cream, we both deserve something to mark the first day of school!

Tricks

If packing lunches is anything like meal planning for dinner, you’ll want to check out Mix and Match Mama’s post on Back to School Lunch Ideas. There are some great alternatives to the cold sandwich while keeping lunch healthy and fun.

Kerrie S., has to be at work by 7 a.m., which means prepping most things at night. This year she’s testing out the Omie Life Box for her two kids. OmieBox is an insulated bento box that stores hot and cold food in one box. It has 2 temperature zones so entrées keep warm while veggies and fruits stay cool. It’s a great option for those kids who want a hot lunch from home.

A few other moms mentioned the Yumbox. It’s a lunch box that keeps portions controlled, leakproof, environmentally conscious, and educational. Right now you can grab these at 20% off with code: SUMMER20

 

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Jen Hatmaker is an author, HGTV star, wife, and mom to 5 kids is hilarious and on point in her blog. Her post last August was a huge hit and we found her 15 minute trick to be a great one to get us all back in the habit of routine.

“The trick to this zen is simple: fifteen minutes. It’s like magic. If we get up fifteen minutes earlier than the bare minimum requirement, it is the difference between Mom, can I please have some more eggs and KID, IF YOU MISS THE BUS YOU ARE WALKING TO SCHOOL, SO HELP ME MOSES. Fifteen minutes is the cushion that keeps us from rushing, fighting, nagging, and melting down. It is time for a cup of coffee, which has saved my marriage and my children’s lives numerous times. It pads the morning routine with enough extra minutes for kind words, good conversation, a real breakfast, and extra time to find their shoes/homework/backpack/gym shorts/permission slip/jacket without a nervous breakdown. It just keeps us all in a better mood which allows me to send the kids out the door with kisses instead of, say, mild rage. Middle and high school is a plate of Crap Sandwiches half the time, so they don’t need to start their day already feeling berated and shoved out the door.”

We know the first day of school can be emotional and stressful, and we hope you found this post helpful. Thank you to our readers for submitting their Tips, Traditions, and Tricks. Leave us a comment with yours as well.

 

Friday Favorite – Vacation

For our Friday Favorites we are talking vacations. Specifically, vacations with kids. Coming up with a family friendly vacation ideas can be challenging at times so it is always great to have some recommendations from people that have been there.

Jen’s Picks

I should start this by saying that my kids think any hotel with an elevator and a luggage cart that they can ride on in the hallways is a GREAT VACATION, so they are definitely easy to please. See evidence below…

Growing up my family did almost every vacation by driving to our destination so I am going to start with a place that is within a reasonable driving distance from Chicago.

Wilderness Resort– Wisconsin Dells WI

aka, what my kids call the “Moose Hotel” (the mascot is a Moose and you can meet him when you stay at the hotel). This place has a little of everything and plenty of stuff that is indoors because with crazy Midwest weather, we need to be practical. From indoor and outdoor waterparks, arcades, mini-golf, go-carts and kid activities you can’t really go wrong. Plus, if there is a big group they have condo’s and log cabins so everyone can bunk up and enjoy the fun. It can get pricey during peak season (summer and holidays when the kids are out of school) but you can score great deals if you are willing to go during the week or off season. The town itself also has a ton of activities from Dells Duck Boats (which you can get on and off right on the resort), a cute downtown with little shops and plenty of restaurants.

 

Sea Pines Resort– Hilton Head Island SC

Now, this place is a family tradition. For the last 16 years my family has been traveling to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This island is at the very bottom of South Carolina. And yes, we drive the 17 hours there over two days, with kids in the car. #passmommathewine or you can fly into Savannah and rent a car and drive the hour. I can probably dedicate a whole separate post to how to travel in the car with kids. We have always stayed within Sea Pines and love it, the scenery is awesome . The beaches are clean and not very crowded and is very family friendly. The resort has bike paths throughout the entire place and bikes to rent and that is the most popular mode of transportation around the resort. There are plenty of restaurants there and Harbour Town has the famous lighthouse (not to mention for all the golf loving Dad’s out there, it is home to the PGA tour event every year and has three courses on the resort). The popular times are of course whenever school is out but if you go at the end of May or beginning of June the crowds aren’t bad and the temps stay in the low 80’s.

 

Wen’s Picks

St. Joseph, MI

Ninety miles from Chicago, St. Joseph is a charming town nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan. We were looking (last minute) for a long weekend getaway that would allow us to relax, play, eat and drink, and after a few friends suggested St. Joe, we booked a room and packed up the car. We stayed at the Boulevard Inn, an all-suite hotel, which was nice to have the space and refrigerator, since we traveled with our daughter, but it does not have a pool and is pricey. However, the location can’t be beat as it is right across from the lake and a block from dining and shopping.

Steps from the hotel is the Silver Beach Center which is home to the Silver Beach Carousel. The carousel features 48 unique carousel figures and two chariots and there are a few other activities as well. Since it was cool, but sunny, we made our way to the playground on Silver Beach. What is more fun than sliding into sand? The beach was clean and a great spot to burn off some energy. The water was too cold for a swim, but we couldn’t leave without putting our toes in. If you find yourself hungry, you don’t want to miss Silver Beach Pizza in the former Amtrak depot. It’s so good a 2+ hour wait for your pizza is normal.

The small town is also located in the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country, has several good restaurants and quaint shops to check out.



Azul Beach – Riviera Maya

The winter blues hit us in January and we knew a warm weather vacation was what we needed. I contacted Hayley at Beach Bum Vacations (LOVE her!) and we got booked for Mexico. We went in March right before spring break, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Azul Beach is a family-friendly boutique hotel right on the beach and only 20 minutes from the Cancun airport. When I say family-friendly, I mean — Nickelodeon themed, Fisher-Price toys, Gerber baby food, baby monitors, kids club, and a playset on the beach. The hotel is an all-inclusive with several gourmet restaurants, 24-hour room service, five pools, beach cabanas, character meals, and a spa.

As we walked in to the lobby, we were welcomed with a glass of champagne, a green smoothie for the little one, a cool towel, and an assortment of pillows and aroma therapy options to choose from for our room. (#winning) We got settled in our room, which we booked a family suite and I would highly recommend, we checked out the pool and swim up bar, because vacation, and relaxed. Being early March and no heaters for the pools, the water was a bit chilly at first dip. The beach at Azul Beach is white and powdery, nice for walking on barefoot, and the water was clear. There are beach butlers to order drinks and bites, and fun activities throughout the day. We surprised our daughter with breakfast with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the kids club was a big hit for our daughter who cried when it was time to go at the end of the night. Every restaurant had a children’s menu and the food was delicious. We didn’t leave the resort, though there are plenty of excursions to go on if you want to get in some culture. This was our trio’s first all-inclusive vacation and it will not be our last. The size of the resort was perfect, the activities, the food, the drinks, the service – amazing! We cannot wait to go back (or to check out another Karisma property). If you’re looking for a family vacation, I cannot recommend Azul Beach enough. If you are not traveling with kids, I would look into another Karisma property because if they’re anything like this one, you will not be disappointed.


Giveaway: Pump It Up


We are excited to team up with Pump It Up to bring our readers this fun giveaway!

Pump It Up in Crystal Lake is an indoor play center filled with huge inflatables where kids of all ages can jump, slide, bounce and play. You can literally climb the walls in this place. With open jump times throughout the week, special events and amazing birthday party packages, Pump It Up has it all!

We’ve been to open jumps, parents night out, and birthday parties, all which had our kids in tears when it was time to leave. Their event calendar features special events like Buddy Jump, Family Ice Cream Jump, and Parent Night Out {Wen’s favorite}.

If you’ve never been to Pump It Up, now is your chance!

Enter to Win Four Open Jump Passes to Pump It Up of Crystal Lake

ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive Four (4) Open Jump Passes to Pump It Up of Crystal Lake. (restrictions apply)

To Enter (required): Like and follow my Bubbles and Bubbly on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. Each follow is an entry so the more you follow the more chances to win!

Thank you to Pump It Up for providing the open jump passes.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Favorites: Olympic Edition

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Tonight is the opening ceremony for the summer Olympics in Rio. What better way to celebrate and cheer on Team USA than with a bottle of Pinot Grigio and some of our favorite sports.

First up, Swimming

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I think most people agree that swimming is one of the highlights of the summer Olympics. Team USA is stacked and if you played a drinking game for every medal won by Team USA that would turn into a pretty fun game!

along with swimming there is Diving

aka our greatest fear, do you see how high those crazies go? And how does the guys speedo’s stay on when they enter the water? It makes NO SENSE. Kudos to anyone thinking that is their idea of a good time!

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then there is gymnastics

does it count as a workout to watch those girls bend in ways that don’t seem humanly possible? Or the fact that we feel like such slackers that we are practically double most of their ages and we are just sitting on the couch with our wine and they are competing at the Olympics?

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No matter your favorite sports to watch, everyone should raise a glass and cheer on Team USA!!!!