growing up good

mothering, homeschooling, and me

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We Love Jim Gill!

Last weekend, we had the chance to go to go see one of our favorite children’s singers: Jim Gill! Have you heard of him? He’s fabulous! And FUN! And the kids LOVE him! We have a couple of his CDs, and we dance to him in our kitchen all the time!

DSC_0056This is the 3rd time we’ve gotten to see him in the last year. Why have we gone to see him so much? Because I’m a big fan of kids, music, and play, and Jim Gill delivers on all parts. And he gets my son out of his seat, dancing.  Elliot. The boy who, when toddler and preschool age, would never sit still for songs, fingerplays, and circle time, now LOVES them, sings along with the CD in the car. And this is the best shot I got him him enjoying the concert:

DSC_0069Mary, who would have normally been in the aisle dancing (she’s a big fan, too), was suddenly not feeling well. Even though she chatted us up the entire drive to Evanston (an hour away), she spent most of the concert in my husband’s lap. Poor girl. When we got home, her fever had reached 103.5- poor girl! Even though she must have felt terrible, she still smiled.


Despite feeling awful, she managed to sing a long to a few of her favorites!

Despite feeling awful, she managed to sing and play along to a few of her favorites!

Why are my pics a little of-center and out of focus? I had my hands full. I got to wrangle the little guy. It didn’t really require much wrangling, which is highly unusual, which made me think he was starting to feel bad, too. He stayed in my lap (and thereby rendering my picture-taking arms rather useless). But he had a good time, and was mesmerized by the concert!


I think Elliot was a bit starstruck, Mr. Gill came out before the concert and said hello to those of us waiting. When the door opened, Elliot looked up, eyes got wide, and said, “MOM. There’s JIM GILL.”  And we bought one of his books, A Soup Opera, and he signed it after the concert! Elliot thought that was pretty awesome, even though he was a little shy face to face with Mr. Gill.


You can check out Jim Gill’s website here.

PS. See that list? That from the “List of Dances” song! It’s a good one!

I am in no way compensated for this endorsement, I’m just a big fan of someone who advocates for children in a musically creative way!


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Going to the Circus

I was going through some pictures from before the holidays, and I came across our circus pictures and decided it was such a great time, i can’t not post on it.

I’m 35. I’d never been to the circus before. In November, a small group of us got together and got tickets (thank you, friend-who-organized-that!). It was my first time. It was my kids’ first time. It was my husband’s first time…in about 30 years. 🙂

This was a Barnum & Bailey circus, held in some-event-center/auditorium/large place either by Schaumburg or O’Hare, I can’t remember. We got there early enough for the pre-show.  Normally, don’t even know if I’d think about doing such a thing, but the  same friend suggested it, so I was like, hey- why not? I am SO glad that we did!

We got to walk around on the arena floor, watching various acts do little stunts/tricks. Jugglers, dogs and ponies, stilt-walkers, REAL. Life. CLOWNS.


Jersey Shore clown?

Jersey Shore clown?

Some of these stunts were cute, but some were really impressive. Like I’m pretty sure I can’t do this, ever:

DSC_0064So this is the pre-show? What are we going to see in the real show? I really had NO idea what to expect.

All I can say is WOW. I was blown away.

DSC_0112A real Lion Tamer (trainer?)

Mesmerized. The WHOLE time. DSC_0208What I didn’t post pics of were the horse-riding tricks, the motorcycle on a high wire, the motorcycles in a circular cage (8+ of them!),  the acrobats doing tricks in what looked like clear giant Easter eggs suspended from the ceiling, and the finale. It was a great, great show, and I can’t wait to go again!


Future Archaeologist

For Christmas, Elliot got this cute little “gem” kit. We actually made it a week past Christmas before he was beggin’ to open it up.  So one day, while the others were napping, I decided it was a good time for him to do this activity. It’s a little block of sand (?), with a little pick, a brush, and a magnifying glass. I gave him a cake pan and set him at the table to get started!

DSC_0397Each of these kits comes with one “block”. In that block are 2 gems, hidden inside.  The object is to use the little pick and the brush to reveal the gems (rocks) inside. Elliot got right to work at chipping away the sand (which is more like a fine dust).  Surprisingly, he was very gentle, and quickly became absorbed in the activity.


He was excited when the gems started to peek out! He got out the brush and gently started sweeping away the dust.

DSC_0419And he wanted a better look at the gem, so he got out the magnifying glass.


He was excited to find both gems (errr…rocks), and get them cleaned up. He then looked up which rocks he found according to the key on the box.  I would *definitely* buy this again (they sell them at Lakeshore Learning).