Monday, August 22, 2011


My family and I are always looking for something to do that costs little or nothing.  This past weekend was the last weekend before school started for everyone (except my oldest son who started this past Wednesday).  Plus we just got the new "family truckster", which we were itching to take out for a ride longer than to Jewel for groceries.  So we decided to go to Cantigny.

Even if you are from around here, you may not know about Cantigny.  Here is a description from there website:

Cantigny: Robert R. McCormick's Gift to the People of Illinois

Located in Wheaton, Ill., this sprawling, 500-acre park is where families wander through nature, get lost in history, play golf at an award-winningcourse, attend a big band concert, tag monarch butterflies, make a snow globe, take classes, introduce children to the age-old custom of afternoon tea, attend a wide variety of special programs and events --in short, spend quality time together.

In addition to vast formal gardens and picnic and camping grounds, Cantigny offers  two history-rich museums:  the  Robert R. McCormick Museum and the  Cantigny First Division Museum, fascinating for children and researchers alike.  
You can read more here
Here's what we love about Cantigny. It only costs $5 to park.  That's it.  Other than that, it's free.
You can tour Colonel McCormick's mansion - which is really cool.  They also have a fascinating war museum that is extremely interesting, and very well done.  I never thought a war museum would interest me, but this one surprised me.  
Here is the part that my kid love the most.  They have tanks from all the wars outside that the kids can climb on.  So on our most recent visit to Cantigny this past weekend, we spend most of our time climbing on the tanks since the weather was so beautiful.
So here are the my kids enjoying the tanks at Cantigny.

So if you are looking for something to do some weekend, I would highly recommend Cantigny.  My kids love it - and if they do, any will!  Check it out! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beatlefest 2011!!!!!

Technically it's called "The Fest for Beatles Fan" because for some stupid legal reason they had to change the name.  However it is, and always will be "Beatlefest" to me and from here on out will be referred to as such. :)

"Beatlefest" - YESSSSSS!
"The Fest for Beatles Fans" - NOOOOOOO!
Me and Beatlefest go way back.  I mean way, way back.  The Beatles have been a huge part of my life since I was 13.  My first 'fest was in 1982 when I was 15 and I was a total freakin' dork.
Ummm....yeah, that's me on the left with the painter's hat. Yikes!

Well, I still am - but I digress.  Anyway, in 1982 and 1983, I was finally allowed to go to Beatlefest on the bus, stay for the day each day and come home.  The next year, when I was 17, I was allowed to get a hotel room with my bff's and stay for the weekend.  Sadly, I have no pictures from that weekend.  I wonder why that is??? I guess we were just having too much fun to take pictures.   For many many years I went to Beatlefest and stayed the whole weekend, until RL really started getting in the way.  Kids were born, money gets tight.  You know how that goes.

Beatlefest and the Beatles have always meant a lot to me and was a huge part of my growing up.  My girls in the old neighborhood, Jacki and Lisa,  had sort of a little Beatle clique and we always had each other to squee together over a really gorgeous pic of John, Paul, George or Ringo or scream (literally!!!!) when we watched "A Hard Day's Night" at Beatlefest - those screaming girls in the movies can't have ALL the fun!
Jacki, Me and Lisa - 1988
(Pay attention - because you'll see these awesome chicks later in the post!*)

Then my neighborhood girls and I met some amazing peeps over the years that we are still friends with.   I definitely plan to do some posts in the future about my wonderful friends, but for now - let's get to BEATLFEST 2011!

My love of the Beatles has been passed down to two of my three kids through my DNA.  My oldest son, Jake, loved the Beatles when he was younger.  Now my youngest, Matt is a Beatlemaniac.  The poor kid has been asking me for years to take him but I was never able to make for this reason or the other.  Matt did go once before, when he was three, but I don't think he remembers too much.
Matt at Beatlefest in 2007 when he was 3.

So this year I decided come hell or high water,  I was going to take Matt to Beatlefest this year.
 Blue Meanies and Apple Bonkers were not going to stop me!

Matt was so freakin' excited, that he woke up at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, ready to go!  He had his shirt picked out the day before!  So we packed up some snacks, took a few pictures and headed out.

When we got there, we hit the puppet show first.  

We stopped at the Art Show/Contest to submit Matt's entry.
It's the one behind him with the red border - #23
 There weren't too many entries in the kids category this year. 

Then we met up with my friend Jacki* and her husband Rob, who is a really great guy!!!

Jacki and I had an awesome time shooting the shit, catching up!!!!

One of our favorite things about Beatlefest is the Flea Market.
You can get anything Beatles there.
Matt spotted this 18" talking John Lennon doll that he HAD to have.
So after bugging me for 2 hours - I finally said okay.
This is picture of the happiest boy on earth!

We spent A LOT of time at the Flea Market - going around and around and around.
Matt wanted EVERYTHING that he saw, but we settled on a few things.
He made me take pictures of each thing.....he was so proud. He was stopping and showing his stuff off to anyone who would listen to him. LOL

Me and Jacki - AT FEST!!!!!!
The running joke with us has always been that we would spend so much time in the room partying and goofing around that we never would actually go downstairs and enjoy fest.
So every time we go, we have to get a pic of us actually AT FEST!!!!
Liverpool is like the Beatlefest house band. 
They've been around forever! 
 Matt enjoying the concert.....kinda.
It was a little loud for him.

Matt got a ribbon for his art in the contest!

My wonderful friend Lisa* made it later on that night!!!!
More pics from the Art Contest - some of this work is amazing!
Hand painted replica of George's guitar

Really cool quilt using Beatle shirts!
Jacki and I could spot all the shirts we have or have had.
Wish I knew how to make a quilt!
Another really cool guitar
 More pics from the Flea Market and Memorbila Rooms......

 Beatlefest just goes to show you how much love is still out there the Fab Four and judging by the kids and teens that were there too, it's never going to go away.  If you even like the Beatles a little bit, you would enjoy Beatlefest!!! :)

All You Need Is Love