Chicago Parent - April 2020

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FAMILY BIKING: Blaze your own trail this spring • YUM!: 3 places for amazing chocolate bunnies GOT A CHEWER?: Find out why they do it • SPRING LOOK: Simple ideas for every mom

The Plant Life APRIL 2020 | FREE

Why more young eaters are going meat free

GATLINBURG + PIGEON FORGE + SEVIERVILLE + DOLLYWOOD Your best family vacation is only a drive away in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Plan your adventure and enter to win a free trip at



Through daily classroom activities, research-based curriculums, and indoor and outdoor play, our caring teachers guide students on a journey that prepares them for kindergarten and beyond. Schaumburg 847.592.2513

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CEO & PUBLISHER Alexis Bourkoulas



CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kelly Buren SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Lindsey Lawson CONTRIBUTORS Cheryl Eugenio, Tiana Kubik, Lori Orlinsky, Brent Mosser, Samantha Thompson, Marianne Walsh




Plant Power


Life on Two Wheels


As the food trend heats up, more families are exploring and adopting a plant-based diet

Meet the mom behind Kidical Mass Neighborhood Bike Rides and find some great trails to ride.


A visit to Nevermore and chocolate bunnies to covet.


Failing With Gusto’s Marianne Walsh celebrates the Survivor TV show.

13 YOU

The New Reality

Getting through the day with work, busy kids and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

Simple fashion trends that work for every mom.

14 WHY

The answer to why kids chew on things.


Should Jewish kids paint Easter eggs?

Read the cover story on Page 16

PRINTER Walsworth St. Joseph, Mich.


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In Every Issue


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Online Note

332 S. Michigan Ave., Ninth Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 708-386-5555

On the Cover Ella Ng, 9, of Chicago. Photo by Samantha Thompson


APRIL 2020





VISIT • 11 Ways to Keep Kids Busy at Home • 50 Places You Must See in Illinois • 19 Online Learning Resources for Kids • Best Spring Activities for Families in Chicagoland • 18 Virtual Storytimes with Authors, Actors and Celebrities • 7 Virtual Races to Add to Your Running Schedule


Loop Lab

Loop Lab is a mind-blowing monthly science subscription box for kids. Enter for your chance to win a three-month subscription!

EDITOR’S PICKS • How to Foster a Love of Reading in Kids • Delightful Date Night Ideas for Spring

#ShareChicagoParent Veronica and her daughter, Lily, from Naperville, Instagram: @barefootwithgrace


APRIL 2020


• Podcasts You’ll Enjoy Listening With Your Kids • The Coolest Coffee Shops to Check Out • Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas They’ll Love



A Trying Time



dreamers Life beyond the special needs diagnosis


s we finished the final pages of this issue and were about to send them to the printer, the world changed. The country quickly came to terms with the new reality of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Life as we knew it slowed practically to a stop as we all decided to do our part and stay home to try to flatten the curve and keep our hospitals and our amazing healthcare workers from becoming overwhelmed. Well, that is, everyone except the hoarders who decided it was every person for themselves and people who resisted the governor’s stay-at-home order, the rest of us be damned. As a former newspaper editor, ripping up an issue comes with the territory when there is breaking news. This is the first time I’ve had to tear apart the magazine. It was a decision made even harder since this issue represents the launch of Chicago Parent’s bigger, bolder new look. We simply couldn’t, in good conscience, put out information that you couldn’t trust as accurate since it was literally changing every day. That’s just not who we are or what you expect from us. Then came another harder decision, a first in Chicago Parent’s history. We wouldn’t print the magazine because we didn’t want you out and about trying to find a copy. Your health and safety is our top priority. Instead, we decided to put the magazine right where you are now, in electronic form, available on all of your devices where you can read it from

the safety of your living room, kitchen table or in the quiet place you go for a moment of “me” time away from the kids. Online at, our digital team has done a remarkable job sharing ideas to help you through these trying times, with many ways to keep little hands busy and little brains learning while saving your sanity one day at a time. Our calendar, always full of fun events to help you plan your valuable family time together, now includes all the virtual events in Chicagoland for you and your kids to enjoy right at home. We are adding events as quickly as they come in so there is always something changing. As part of all of our planned changes in the magazine, we’ve also freshened up our award-winning digital newsletters, with Pulse coming to you on Mondays and Saturdays, as well as a must-read, Let’s Go, on Thursdays to get you ready for the weekend. I can tell you these newsletters are truly sanity savers right now so please make sure you sign up to get them in your in-box. And don’t forget to tell your friends. Certainly these are trying times for all of us. We’ve always been on this parenting journey together and together, we will get through this. Our commitment to helping you do that is never going to change. Please stay well. All of you are in my daily thoughts. We’re here for you always.

Chicago Parent is published by Zoe Communications Group. Articles and advertisements in Chicago Parent do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the magazine. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Chicago Parent does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services or information being advertised. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading. ©2020 Zoe Communications Group. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any way without written permission of the publisher.

PLUS Spring clean your parenting

Dear Editor … COVER LOVE

I’m obsessed with this cover!! Probably the cutest I’ve ever seen! SARA FUNK


Look at our little lady, IVY!!! Rocking the cover of Chicago Parent Magazine!!! SO SO SO proud of you and happy for you!!! Keep dreaming BIG!!! GIGI’S PLAYHOUSE Tinley Park

SPEAK YOUR MIND Tell us what you think of this month’s issue. Email







APRIL 2020



APRIL 2020


In Real Life PULSE

Inside ‘Nevermore Park’ BY KATINA BENIARIS

Interact with Hebru Brantley’s iconic Flyboy at Nevermore Park in Pilsen like never before by stepping into a world transformed to the daily life of Flyboy and Lil Mama. The popup art installation is covered in details of Chicago and black culture. Our favorite part? You’re encouraged to touch everything, making it perfect for kids. The walkthrough will take about an hour, but there are nearly 20 different experiences that can jump start anyone’s imagination. We suggest families take their time to explore every nook and cranny.

OUR FAVE WAYS TO EXPLORE: 1 Enter the crashed rocket where take off/landing sounds make you think you’re flying as John F. Kennedy’s moon speech plays.



Play with toys or draw in Kirby’s Clubhouse. Parents: Get ready for a blast from the past because there are so many retro toys you can introduce to your kids.

Dance around in a cloud room filled with fog and music to make you feel like you’re walking on air.

NEVERMORE PARK TEMPORARILY CLOSED 949 W. 16th St., Chicago $28, kids 2 and under are free Portions of the experience include strobe lights and haze. Ear plugs are available.


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Chocolate Cuteness Looking for the perfect, non-traditional, but still yummy chocolate bunny to be the centerpiece of your Easter basket? Try out one of these spots. The chocolate bunnies at The Fudge Pot are specialized to suit the needs of your Easter basket. Have a new baby? Try the bunny pushing the bassinet. Have a musician in the family? These bunnies play the banjo, accordion, saxophone and drum. Maybe your honey bunny isn’t a fan of chocolate? Then the white chocolate with the floppy ear is your solution. The Fudge Pot also makes a chocolate Seder plate and Passover lollipop. 1532 N. Wells, Chicago;

MOTHER-DAUGHTER OPEN ARCHERY SPOT Olympic archery hopeful Kylie Fischbach, 22, and her mom, Lisa, fuel archery dreams in Hoffman Estates and Morton Grove through their Wanderlust Archers, the only woman-owned archery company in the area. Now they have their first standalone building in Palatine. Kylie, who got hooked on the sport at 7, is the youngest head coach to have her own facility and competitive team. Lisa Fischbach says the sport is great for families because archery is something all ages can do together.

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Chocolate fanatics in your family could spend weeks devouring the 3-foot bunny from north suburban Morkes Chocolates. If a 30-pound bunny won’t fit on your table, Morkes also makes some with extra-long ears (for those who like to eat the ears first), some with floppy ears and some with white tails (in case you prefer to diversify your chocolate). 220 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove; 1890 N. Rand Road, Palatine; 11801 Main St., Huntley; For your tweens and teens who feel like they’re “too old” for Easter sweets, try Veruca Chocolate’s Veruca Big Bunny. Painted in subtle Easter pastels, there’s no hollow to this bunny, as it’s filled with rice crunchy clusters to keep your older kids happy and full. 1332 N. Halsted, Chicago;

HUGE ADVENTURE PARK COMING TO CHICAGOLAND Biggest. Tallest. Longest. Largest. Those are the words being used to describe Chicagoland newest family fun destination, The Forge: Lemont Quarries, opening in Lemont. As it is planned, The Forge will be North America’s largest outdoor adventure park with 260 zipline, climbing and high ropes elements, mountain bike courses and pump tracks, biking and hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboats and the tallest ropes course. There’s going to be literally something for everyone from age 3 to 90, Co-Founder Jeremie Bacon says. And that’s just the way the Lemont dad of four wants it. “It’s a beautiful place where families can come and explore and push their own personal boundaries,” Bacon says. “... I want families to show up and say this is a perfect place for my family.” Find more information at

Chicago Mom of 3 Brings Flair to Modest Nawal Nasser has been doodling clothing designs that looked much different than her own mom’s clothes since she was a little girl. Now she’s bringing that flair to women with her new clothing line, Laylati Exclusive Fashion Apparel, she says she hopes will empower women of all shapes and sizes with bright colors and patterns. “I always felt that modest apparel didn’t have to be dull or drab, but could be designed to complement and celebrate a women’s feminine qualities,” she says. It features locally sourced fabrics and tailoring by a former Syrian refugee. Nasser next plans a children’s line.


APRIL 2020





ovie night at the Walsh household never goes well. As my clan of boys piles on our oversized sectional with blankets and snacks, the inevitable disputes begin. My husband wants anything with John Candy or Chevy Chase. Dan votes for an action film. Jack likes horror. Joey lobbies for something animated. I push for a musical. We spend two hours bickering, negotiating and making Supreme Court-level arguments. Unfortunately, by the time we actually agree? It’s bedtime. There has been only one show we have always watched as a family: Survivor. I can remember back 20 years ago when Survivor first aired and I thought it was a corrupt take on Lord of the Flies, showing the very worst of humanity. But now? I have sons who cheer on the show like it is game seven of the NBA Finals. WHY WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE YOU HAVE AN IDOL? DID YOU NOT THINK ABOUT MAYBE PRACTICING PUZZLES AND SWIMMING BEFORE THE SEASON? OH, HERE WE GO, MORE CRYING. STOP ALREADY. We all have our favorites. We all marvel at the same mistakes made season after season. I am the only one who enjoys the villain. My kids and husband curse their casting.

The conversation inevitably turns to how each of us would do on the show. My husband is strong and physical. He can keep his mouth shut. But his facial expressions would give him away in a nanosecond. The lazy and inept would know Joe was the one who chucked their shoes in the fire on Day 2. I would cry and want to quit after that first big storm that leaves everyone cold and wet. Dan would over-think every move. Jack would dominate physical challenges, but his shy demeanor would be construed as snobby or scheming. And Joey? Joey would win it all. He would gather up all the outcasts and misunderstood and carry them to the final four. Because nobody gets picked on when Joey is around. I am grateful for a show that has brought my family together for so many years and led to serious conversations about loyalty, morality and knowing when to be quiet. As someone who never really mastered that last one, I just wish Survivor had been around when I was a kid. I’d totally be president by now.

Marianne Walsh, mom of three, is married to a Chicago firefighter and lives on the South Side where she pens this award-winning column, Failing with Gusto.

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I am grateful for a show that has brought my family together for so many years and led to serious conversations about loyalty, morality and knowing when to be quiet.


COZY JUMPSUIT: This might be my go-to piece for spring and even summer. A quick piece you can just throw on, be comfy and look put together. What more could you want? FLATS: Another piece that is easy to wear and can dress up any outfit. Just slip them on and head out the door! They come in so many different colors and styles and can make any outfit go from plain to wow.

Spring Fever Our look often takes a backseat to the mini me in the literal backseat. Spring is a great time to change that with a few cute essentials that not only make your life a little easier, but add a little boost of awesomeness you deserve. We turned to fashion blogger and mom Andrea Kucinski for a few easy options that won’t break the bank and could work for every mom For more inspiration, follow her on Instagram at @andreakucinski.

DENIM JACKET: The essential spring staple in my opinion! As a mom, we’re always on the go and this piece is perfect to throw over anything. I mean literally anything. It can even dress up your basic leggings and tee.

WHITE DENIM: A perfect piece to give you a polished look, whether you pair it with a basic tee or a dressy blouse.



1 NAKED BEAUTY Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli brings together women she admires for talk about beauty trends, wellness and selfcare. But don’t expect outright product pitches and how-to tips; this podcast is about motivating you to think.

2 HAPPIER WITH GRETCHEN RUBIN Need a little happy in your life? Check out Happier with Gretchen Rubin as the happiness guru/author discusses, with her sister Elizabeth Craft, how we can all make our lives happier, healthier, more productive and more creative.

3 ZEN PARENTING RADIO PODCAST Hanging out with husband/wife team Cathy and Todd Adams – and parents of three girls – is like spending some time with chill friends, with some good advice you can actually use on being a little more zen in your life and kinder to yourself.


APRIL 2020



Got a WHY question? Email us at editor@

Why Do Kids Chew on Everything? BY LORI ORLINSKY


o you constantly find yourself telling your kids to stop biting their shirt sleeves or chewing on their pencils or even their hair? If so, you aren’t alone. Many kids will chew everything in sight, even without realizing they are doing it. So what is it about chewing? Why do kids do it past the age where it is deemed socially acceptable, and is it something parents should be concerned about?


While chewing behaviors are considered normal and developmentally appropriate in infants and toddlers, when it comes to school-aged kids, it can raise a red flag for parents that something is amiss. Some of reasons for chewing may include anxiety, stress, sensory issues, boredom and general habit. “The brain is wired such that the mouth is an important place for interacting with the world, and chewing is a form of that,” says Dr. Peter J. Smith, chair of the American Association of Pediatrics Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and associate professor in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at The University of Chicago. “Much like foodies turn to foods with different textures in adulthood,

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kids often experiment by putting different things in their mouth.” Lindsey Biel, occupational therapist and co-author of Raising a Sensory Smart Child, says like anything kids do, chewing is a matter of degree. “It’s within the range of so-called normal to chew on a shirt cuff or nibble on cuticles or nails now and then but when it is more extreme — clothing is wet, cuticles are ripped and bloody — it does indeed become a concern.”


From an overall health perspective, most pediatricians agree that chewing isn’t something parents should be overly concerned about. However, for younger kids, Dr. Banu Kumar, chief of pediatric hospital medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, worries about choking hazards and increased risk of sickness due to germs. “We always worry about choking hazards when kids are chewing on tiny objects,” Kumar says. “These objects are dirty and not sterile, so the health risk of getting germs inside their bodies increase.” Additionally, if chewing continues beyond when the permanent teeth begin to come in, dental prob-

“The brain is wired such that the mouth is an important place for lems may also occur, says Dr. Mina Chung, pediatric dentist at Chicagoland’s Grove Dental Associates. “From a dental perspective, chewing habits can contribute to having negative effects on teeth and jaw formation,” Chung says. “Early identification and diagnosis of such behaviors can allow for therapeutic intervention and prevention.”

havior or the behavior will manifest into other negative behavior.”



Veronica Ursetto, owner and therapist at Integrative Perspectives Counseling and Consulting PC in Chicago, says it is important for parents to work with their child’s pediatrician about why their child is exhibiting the chewing behavior rather than labeling the child as a “chewer” and the behavior as negative. “When we shame and punish our children, we send the message that the child is bad,” Ursetto says. “In reality, the likelihood is shaming a child will either exacerbate the be-

interacting with the world and chewing is a form of that.”

Parents looking for other ways to regulate chewing behavior can offer their children age-appropriate alternatives that are not choking hazards, such as crunchy foods or drinking through a straw. Additionally, there are a wealth of safe toys made for children who like to chew. “No matter why kids do it, chewing is a self-regulatory behavior that can be very calming to kids,” Kumar says. “It is important to meet with your child’s pediatrician to get to the root of the cause, and from there, figure out how to best address it.” ART BY BRENT MOSSER


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Plant power As the food trend heats up, more families are exploring and adopting a plant-based diet BY LORI ORLINSKY


hat happened in Amber Burosh’s bedroom is playing out across the country in one scenario or another. Her 4-year-old daughter, Delaney, snuck in. “She was scarred for life and told me the next day she was never eating meat again,” Burosh says. Burosh was watching a documentary on food that triggered their move to plant-based eating. “She convinced her sibling to do it too, and the rest is history for our family.” This year, plant-based eating is all the rage and its popularity is predicted to continue growing for families. In fact, a new study from Nielsen reveals that 40 percent of Americans are now making an effort to eat plant-based foods, like the Burosh family. While there is no set definition of a plant-based diet, this way of eating focuses on consuming plant-derived whole foods that are unrefined and minimally processed. This means no dairy, poultry or meat products, and no artificial sugars besides what’s naturally found in fruits. The aim is to eat foods in their healthiest and most natural state. Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains and nuts are the dietary staples. While research suggests that plant-based eating may reduce the risk of certain cancers and diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and lead to overall weight management, many families are turning to the plant-based concept to make a lighter environmental footprint. Shifting to more plant-based foods, they feel, is essential to combating climate change, soil, air and water pollution, and other problems caused by industrial livestock production. Another reason: more families are turning to plant-based diets

as children become more conscious that animals must be killed in order to obtain meat. Even fast food chains and celebrities have cashed in on the eating trend. Earlier this year, Starbucks introduced a new line of plant-based drinks to its permanent menu, and Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC and Burger King recently added plant-based sandwiches to their offerings. And Kim Kardashian made headlines everywhere when she posted photos of her family’s pantry to Instagram, revealing that the Kardashian-West clan eats an entirely plant-based diet. “A whole food plant diet can be ideal for families with children,” says Cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn, author of The Plant Based Solution. “Eating the colorful rainbow of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can provide all the macronutrients of healthy plant fats, complex carbohydrates, and plant proteins while providing more than usual micronutrients.” Kahn, who is based in Detroit, says plant diets can fuel school and athletic performance, while lowering exposure to antibiotics, hormones and pesticides from animal agriculture. Turned on by these benefits, Penny Shack started to raise her son, Hamilton, on a fully plant-based diet when he started eating at 7 months old. However, she quickly found out he wasn’t satiated, as after 30 minutes of eating, he was fussy. Thinking he had an absorption problem, Shack and her husband took Hamilton to the pediatrician, who suggested adding animal proteins into his diet to help him feel full. “I wanted my son to thrive no matter what kind of a diet it looked like,” said Shack, who still considers their family plant-based despite eating animal proteins a few times a week. “We do teach him about food, so I am confident he will make a decision about the future of his diet when he is older.”

According to Dr. David Friedman, author of Food Sanity: How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction, Americans have been misled about the need for protein derived from meat. “How does an elephant grow to 10,000 pounds by eating nothing but plant food?” Friedman says. “Elephants couldn’t grow so big and strong if plants weren’t loaded with enough protein to supply their muscles.” According to the American

healthy because they eat packaged ‘vegan approved’ food that is loaded with sugar, excessive salt, artificial dyes and chemical preservatives.” Molly Laatsch, chef/owner of the Chicagoland-based Latch Catering, says she is getting more requests from families who want a plantbased menu. As such, she finds herself featuring beans, mushrooms and sweet potatoes in a variety of ways to help them transition into this new way of eating.

“Eating the colorful rainbow of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can provide all the macronutrients of healthy plant fats, complex carbohydrates, and plant proteins while providing more than usual micronutrients.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, well-planned plant-based diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that children can thrive on diets that contain little or no animal products. Friedman cautions families that often people confuse the term “vegan” diet with “plant-based” diet, leading to the belief that both of these diets are synonymous with healthy eating. However, vegan foods can include highly processed products stripped of nutrients and loaded with unwanted additives. Examples of foods that fall into this category include Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, and certain flavors of Doritos. “Be careful and do your research,” Friedman says. “I know many vegans that are overweight and un-

“These ingredients fit well in a variety of flavor profiles and are hearty enough to be filling and satisfying,” Laatsch says. When making the switch to plant-based, Laatsch encourages families to be creative. “Most people do pasta or rice, and that can be really boring,” she says. “Consider mushroom enchiladas, sweet potato burritos or bok choy ramen. The options really are endless.”

TIPS FOR STARTING A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE FOR YOUR FAMILY: · Consult with your child’s pediatrician before making any dietary changes. Ask about supplementing with a vitamin, such as B12. · Start slowly by instituting a CHICAGOPARENT.COM

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Plant power

‘Meatless Monday’ dinner and build from there. · Create healthy swaps for dairy. “There are so many options that taste good, if not better, than dairy,” says Friedman, who suggests parents try making a plant-based mac and cheese sauce for kids, which is made from a blend of cashews, carrots and potatoes. · Add plant protein to all dishes to keep you fuller for longer. Examples include chickpeas, green peas and quinoa. · Include children in meal planning, grocery shopping and meal time activities (helping out in the kitchen, setting the table, etc.).

· Challenge yourself by recreating your family’s favorite dishes in plant-based form. · Make food fun for kids by cutting it into fun shapes, adding color with fruits and vegetables, or serving finger foods. · Make healthy desserts, like avocado chocolate pudding and brownies made with black beans or chickpeas. · Consider subscribing to plantbased meal prep boxes such as Splendid Spoon and Green Chef. · Connect with other plant-based families by joining an active plantbased social media community with discussions, recipe inspirations, etc.

411 Plant-based: Avoids all meat, dairy and artificial sugars and instead focuses on plant-derived whole foods that are unrefined and minimally processed. Vegan: Avoids all animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy. Doctors warn families to avoid junk and processed foods that are “vegan friendly” but not healthy. Vegetarian: Avoids eating meat, but some people consume products that come from animals such as eggs and dairy. Pescatarian: Avoids meat, but eats fish.

5 places to eat vegan food in Chicago Whether you’re entirely vegan, have an allergy or simply trying to reduce your meat and dairy intake, these Chicago-area spots serve up grub that will please everyone in the family. URBAN VEGAN If you’re craving seafood or chicken, but don’t want to stray from being plant-based, Urban Vegan has your back. The menu is full of tasty Thai dishes that replicate all of your favorite meaty flavors, from Spicy “Seafood” Soup with soy fish and shrimp to “Chicken” Satay with charbroiled marinated soy chicken. If your kids aren’t fans of international fare, try Crispy “Chicken” Nuggets and French fries. 1601-1603 Montrose Ave., Chicago TRUE FOOD KITCHEN The menu at True Food is seasonal, so you can be sure you’re getting the freshest, in-season produce available. The selections aren’t completely vegan, but many items are, like the Unbeatable Burger (topped with vegan mayo), Creamy Tomato Soup (made with coconut cream) and Butternut Squash Pizza (includes vegan almond ricotta). The restaurant also has a kids menu that’s allergy-friendly to the delight of parents everywhere. 1 W. Erie St., Chicago NO BONES BEACH CLUB No Bones originated as a food truck, as evidenced by the casual, but flavorful West Coast-style eats and brightly colored decor. Even hardcore seafood lovers will gladly gobble up No Bones’ Fish n Chips, made from Panko-breaded tofu and Coastal Chowder with potatoes and oyster mushrooms. The restaurant also serves up a tasty brunch menu that features breakfast nachos and Tropical French Toast. 1943 W. North Ave., Chicago THE CHICAGO HOUSE OF ‘ZA Yes, vegan pizza is a thing (even in one of the pizza capitals of the world), and it’s totally delicious. Deep dish lovers, you can still get your fix here. The House of ‘Za offers a double decker pie filled with cashew mozzarella and homemade marinara. You can also choose from a full menu of different crusts and ingredients; from the plain “cheese” to Italian sausage seitan. If you’d rather dine on pasta, top your dish with cashew Alfredo sauce or indulge in lasagna, “chicken” tetrazzini or veggie-fied Bolognese. 1939 W. Byron St., Chicago VEGAN NOW Tucked inside the Chicago French Market food hall, you’ll find this gem of a soul food restaurant. Not only is the entire menu here vegan, but it’s also free of refined sugars and flours. Popular items include mac and cheese, tofu quiche, jerk “chicken” and buffalo tofu. Regulars highly recommend the baked goods selection — especially the cinnamon rolls. 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago By Natalie Dal Pra

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Parents need to pivot at any moment, and that means anything in the pantry could be on the menu. This high protein plant-based version of my Mac and Cheese recipe is also vegan. Whether you are eating plant-based or not, this twist on traditional family favorite will have your kids eating clean without dairy, dyes or stabilizers. A win-win for all! INGREDIENTS 1 pound Elbow or Fusille Bucati pasta, cooked to box directions 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil for cooked macaroni to prevent sticking

1/2 tsp. Kosher or pink Himalayan salt 1/8 tsp. Garlic powder, or to taste

1 can (15 oz.) organic Cannellini beans

2 Tbsp. Miyoko’s creamery European style cultured vegan butter or good quality olive oil

3-4 Tbsp. Cashew milk, or your favorite substitute

Pinch of ground Turmeric

½-1 cup Daiya brand vegan cheese shreds, white or yellow cheese substitute flavors. Add additional cup if baking the optional casserole recipe

Pinch of ground Nutmeg


VARIATIONS: Can’t find Vegan Cheese? Substitute with 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. If using nutritional yeast, add 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar.


Cook and drain the pasta. Toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil or Miyokos butter to prevent the pasta from sticking. Set aside. You’ll thank me later.


Drain and rinse the beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans to the bowl of your food processor or standing blender with the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, butter and seasonings.


Blend on high to liquefy. Add additional cashew milk, or reserved liquid from the beans if your family prefers a thinner sauce.



Transfer to a medium, high-sided pot and continue to warm on medium-low heat. Add the cheese and butter, occasionally stirring, until cheese shreds are melted. Add the cooked pasta, stir to cover with sauce. Add seasonings and adjust to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, or fresh basil leaves for additional sweetness. Serve warm.

Pinch of ground Cayenne pepper (optional)

No Beans? No Problem. Substitute with additional vegan cheese. I love cashew cheese because it provides the lovely nutty notes we love in Mac and Cheese. Instant Pot Version: Place blended mixture in your instant pot and heat on manual for 5 minutes, season when done. Try not to substitute cannellinis due to their level of creaminess, but if you need to, Great White Northern beans would be a close match. Bake it! Place your completed mac and cheese a 9 x 13 heatproof baking dish and top with additional cheese, seasoned bread crumbs or Panko and bake 350 degrees until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs are toasty brown. Add cooked green peas and tell the kids the recipe is, “Mac and Sneeze”! Trust me, they’ll love it!

Chef Gigi has more than 35 years of professional experience and is recognized as an expert in culinary education. She specializes in children and families to help increase nutritional awareness and take some of the stress out of being a busy, aware parent. She is the award-winning author of Food Fight for Parents of Picky Eaters and her Food Talk Radio streams worldwide and is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. CHICAGOPARENT.COM

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on two wheels

The founder of Chicago Family Biking wants to empower other families to hit the streets



growing number of Chicago families are saying no to cars and traffic jams. Instead, they are opting to pedal their way around the city. One of the people behind the movement is Rebecca Resman, who has been using bikes as her family’s transportation for seven years, since her oldest

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was just 6 weeks old. She started Chicago Family Biking as a way to connect families like hers. From there, she launched the Kidical Mass Chicago Neighborhood Bike Rides to spread the word that families can live just fine by bike alone.

How does biking affect how you live?

If you are car-light or car-free, it really does lend your family to living a little bit more intentionally. I choose to live in places that I know have what I need within biking distance. People are thinking, “How do I cut out the chaos? Where do I find more time?” I feel like we really underestimate how much time we spend actually getting to places.

Do your kids love biking as much as you do?

My kids love biking. In fact, when we are going somewhere, visiting grandparents or somewhere far away, they will ask “Are we taking a car?” We are a car-free family, which makes it a whole ordeal. We have to rent a car, find a car, steal a car. We do not steal cars! So, if the answer is “yes,” there are audible groans.

Favorite biking route in Chicago?

I am personally a bike-for-transportation person. So, my favorite route tends to be the fastest, most efficient way to safely get to a space. I am not a bike-for-fun person. I bike because it is the fastest and most dependable way to get around. I am really excited for the new bike trails that are cropping up along the Chicago River. Off-street bike trails that provide safe and eventually seamless experiences are important to families.

How do you want Chicago Family Biking to grow?

My personal goal is that we continue to empower families to see biking as a viable option for getting around, to grow our membership in areas where we know that transit options are not fantastic. We want our community to support efforts for safer streets in Chicago. At age 12, in the city of Chicago, kids are no longer legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk. Are we building a city and are we driving in ways that are enabling families to choose biking for their kids?

HUSBAND: Zeb KIDS: Sloane, 7, and Max, 5 BIKE: WorkCycles Bakfiets box-style cargo bike FAVORITE GEAR FOR BIKING FAMILIES? I could not live without my coffee cup holder. It holds my mommy fuel. If you want something a little more bike-y, bar mitts are great, but the coffee cup holder is first. BEST TIP FOR FAMILIES LOOKING TO START BIKING WITH THEIR KIDS: Talk to people who are doing it. People that bike know how much fun it is, how much freedom it brings, and how easy it can be. They want to help you. CHICAGOPARENT.COM

APRIL 2020



on two wheels

Fun biking trails to try this spring BY CHICAGO PARENT STAFF


y mid-January you were ready to turn your kids loose on a bike — whether it was in the basement or your apartment hallway — just to get the energy out.

Thanks to Mother Nature, the weather is finally a little nicer to let everyone escape the walls of the house. Whether your kid is an expert on a mountain bike or still riding the Radio

Flyer three-wheeler, there are great trails in and around Chicago to take in the smells of spring and the sights of the city once the stay-at-home order is lifted.

The 606

Morton Arboretum lets flowers, trees, birds and nature shine. If you prefer to pack light for the trip to the Western Suburbs, bike rentals are available beginning in late April.

Best for: Late elementary and older Cost: Free Traversing 22 miles through seven communities, the trail runs parallel to Route 30 through the far South Suburbs. For families who want to travel even farther, a new addition allows bikers to connect to the Thorn Creek Trail system, adding Chicago Heights and its trails to the mileage.

Where: Bloomingdale Trail between Ashland and Ridgeway, Chicago; Best for: All ages Cost: Free Connecting six neighborhood parks, the 606 is the perfect trail for beginners or a family looking for long distances. You can stop at any of the parks, and learn something from the educational programming, check out the art installations or just explore Chicago.

Lakefront Trail

Where: Lincoln Park to Jackson Park, Chicago; Best for: Early elementary and older Cost: Free For a perfect ride on a perfect spring day, see the Chicago skyline from Lakefront Trail. The separation that was finished in 2018 allows for more space for both bikers and runners, and lets even novice bikers enjoy the busy trail.

Morton Arboretum

Where: 4100 Ill. 53, Lisle; Best for: All ages Cost: Free with admission; $18-$65 bike rental. A great place to ease through a few trails and spy on nature is in Lisle, where

22 APRIL 2020


Chicago Botanic Garden

Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe; Best for: All ages Cost: Free with admission; $2.50 per half hour or $60 season pass bike rental. Bikes are encouraged around the outer trail of the garden, through the prairies and past the aquatic garden. Watch for summer dates when the garden opens paths usually closed to bicycles and holds festivities for twowheeled enthusiasts.

The Cal-Sag Trail

Where: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve to Burnham Prairie Nature Reserve; Best for: Late elementary and older Cost: Free At 26 miles from start to finish, bikers can add to their mileage by stopping at any of the five public trails along the route. As the trail winds through communities in the South Suburbs, this is best traversed with experienced bikers who pass a road rules test.

Old Plank Road Trail

Where: Park Road (Joliet Township) to Western Avenue (Park Forest);

Fox River Trail

Where: Algonquin to Oswego; Best for: Early elementary and older at parks, middle school and older for entire trail Cost: Free To go from top to bottom is more than 44 miles of former railroad trails that follow along the Fox River. The beauty of the area is unmatched, as families can travel through towns in Kane and Kendall counties, stopping where they choose along the way at libraries, farmers markets and even for lunch.

Meacham Grove Forest Preserve

Where: Circle Avenue, Bloomingdale; Best for: All ages Cost: Free The 2 ½ miles of trail welcomes bikers and hikers. Bring a picnic to eat or a fishing pole to fish at Maple Lake (16 and older must have a fishing license).

It’s Fun. It’s Free. It’s Our …

Monster Coloring Book!

Get it at


APRIL 2020


CHICAGOPARENT.COM/COVID19 Digital events, homeschooling help, streaming fun, old-school crafts, recipes, science experiments and heaps more — we’re here for you! Visit us online for more to do and learn.

THE NEW REALITY Getting through the day with work, busy kids and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic


chool is canceled and so are the events you planned to attend. The kids are restless and probably a little sad missing their friends and routines. You’ve been trying to juggle working from home, helping the kids keep up with their studies, child care and your own worries about the coronavirus, not to mention when you are ever going to find toilet paper on the store shelves. Date night and self-care aren’t even on your radar. We are right there with you. So, we’ve rounded up some ideas to help you through this ‘new normal’ until life gets back on track again. When will that be? Even the experts have been disagreeing, but we’ve got you covered until then at

IF THE KIDS GET RESTLESS…. Use your ‘village’ If kids can learn online, the whole family can connect online. “Play” board games via Skype or FaceTime, set up your book club to “meet” in a chatroom or have dinner on a call with relatives across the country. Speaking of board games Teach your kids the games you loved when you were kids. Is your 5-yearold ready to learn Cat’s Cradle yet? Pull out Candy Land and let older kids change the rules to make it harder. Bring the outdoors, indoors For littles, don’t hesitate to bring some of the outdoor toys inside. Set up the kiddie slide in your living room (into a pile of pillows, whee!) or ride the Big Wheels in the basement, if you can. Sweat it out Get off the couch and just move. (That includes you, Mom and Dad!) Turn on your favorite jam and have a dance party or get your blood pumping by exercising.  Cheryl Eugenio

IF THE KIDS NEED A SCREEN BREAK … Podcasts are a great option. They can be enjoyed in the car, while doing chores and as a family before bed.

Animal Sound Safari Discover the weird and wacky histories humans have with animals, as each episode of Animal Sound Safari is jam-packed with cool stories, kooky facts and “pawsome” puns.

Bedtime Explorers Designed to soothe kids to sleep, mindfulness coach Amy Taylor Kabbaz guides kids on wonderful, imaginative journeys to magical places, visiting animals with super powers, and meeting up with some very friendly dinosaurs.

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids Are your kids constantly asking you questions that you struggle to answer? Tune into this NPR podcast that tackles topics large and small about the world around us.

Dream Big How do you make your childhood dreams a reality? Join 7-year-old Eva Karpman and her mom Olga as they interview world-class performers about how they made their dreams come true.

Smash, Boom, Best This is a debate show for kids and families. Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best.


Lori Orlinsky

APRIL 2020



Most local food establishments are still available for families not wanting to cook or wanting to keep their money local. Here are a few ways to get it to come to you. DoorDash: In addition to local, independent businesses, DoorDash also delivers from chain and fast food restaurants. There is a $0 delivery fee on the first order for new customers. GrubHub/Seamless: Enter your address and GrubHub or Seamless will find restaurants close to you for delivery. Some restaurants have a minimum purchase requirement for delivery. Postmates: Order for pickup or delivery from Postmates, including 7-Eleven, Walgreens and non-traditional restaurants. Delivery fees vary by location, but using a code SAVE100 will allow new customers free delivery for their first $100 in fees. Uber Eats: Just like Uber car service will pick you up, Uber Eats will pick up your food and bring it to you. Watch for deals on the app, like $0 fees from some restaurants or money back for spending over a threshold amount (i.e. $3 back if you spend $15). Direct from Restaurant: If you want to know what’s open in your area, find a restaurant close to you on a new website, Dining at a Distance, created during the pandemic for restaurants to advertise their options. You can also check a restaurant’s social media for daily specials and deals.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM/COVID19 METROPARENT.COM/COVID19 Digital Digital events, events, homeschooling homeschooling help, help, streaming fun, old-school streaming fun, old-school crafts, crafts, recipes, recipes, science science experiments experiments and and heaps heaps more more — we’re here for for you! Visit us us online for for more — we’re here you! Visit online to do and learn. loads more to do and learn.

Hillary Bird

IF THE KIDS ARE BEGGING FOR A PLAY DATE … With these apps, have kids play board games, taking turns virtually on the board, read to each other from the same book, create art together (each creates half a picture and put it together on screen when done) or have a scavenger hunt around each child’s house.

26 APRIL 2020


Caribu This video-calling app immediately offered free, unlimited access as schools began shutting down. Kids can read books from the 1,000plus titles together, play games and color during a video call.

Messenger Kids This app allows kids 6-12 to video chat and message friends and family, with challenges, drawings and filters. Plus, they can use it to collaborate on homework with a study group or talk about group projects.

Marco Polo Just like the game Marco Polo, with your kids calling out Marco to see who will answer “Polo,” kids can reach out to friends and family with this video chat app easily.

Netflix Party Your older kids can still hang out with their friends virtually (without the need of social media apps). Netflix Party is a great option. Download the Google Chrome extension for free and they can watch their favorite movies and shows at the same time no matter the distance. It also has group chat window to let you message each other. Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy


LET’S GO ^Digi


Looking for fun stuff to do at home? Don’t worry — Chicago Parent has you covered. The events in Chicago(land) may be on hold and social distancing keeps us separated, but that doesn’t mean the fun is totally on pause. We’ve decided to give our traditional calendar a breather and deliver the best digital events in town. Our web calendar is packed with virtual martial arts classes, story times, meditation challenges and much more, for kids and parents alike. We’re here for you, and we’re ready to help you weather this storm. Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll see you online!


APRIL 2020



Join other parents every Friday at 8:10 p.m. on Chicago Parent’s Facebook page to talk about a fellow parent’s dilemma. Submit your own dilemma through Facebook message or email

Q: We are Jewish but my kids really want to dye Easter eggs because they feel they are missing out on the fun. My husband is opposed to the idea. I suggested we see what other parents think before deciding. So, what do you think?

I grew up without it. It was upsetting but I survived. I understood it was my mother’s religious choice and accepted it. I now allow and participate in it with my children. Still the same religion but I’ve adapted it to our lifestyle. I don’t see any harm in eggs or hunts or games for Easter. — Sara P. OMG, just dye the eggs. It’s not a sacrilegious event. Marrying into a mixed religion situation is going to cause a bit of overlap and you need to pick your battles. Coloring Easter eggs isn’t a Catholic tradition. — Dana H. Same boat. We have used our spring eggs on our Seder plate some years. — Heather P. My husband’s Jewish, I’m Catholic. The Easter bunny is neither so color the eggs. My boys love it. — Karen S. Maybe you could also invite some non-Jewish friends of theirs over to share in one of your traditions, like

28 APRIL 2020


Shabbat. It will reinforce that while it’s cool for them to want to share in Christian tradition, they also have a heritage that they can proudly share with others. — Anne G. I grew up Muslim and we dyed eggs, had a hunt and Santa even came to visit. My parents let us know it was all in fun, and we considered it to be no more religious than trick-or-treating or the tooth fairy. I think it’s all about how you and your husband portray it. — Beneen P. When religion & cultures create division. Kids just want to be kids. Whatever your faith, it’s always nice to incorporate other faiths into your lives. As commercial as any holiday is, you can celebrate/embrace other cultures without diminishing yours. Let them color the eggs. It’s nothing more than a craft & spending time with the little ones. — Tomicka B. You could even dye them with Jewish symbols — use a white crayon to draw

a Star of David or whatever you like on the egg, then it will show up after you dye it blue or whatever color you like! — Francesca M. It’s not that dyeing eggs is Christian dogmatically, it’s that it’s part of the Christian cultural tradition. And as a Jew I can understand how it feels odd to take part in someone else’s cultural tradition. — Lindsay C. I think Easter eggs themselves are harmless but being on the same page as your husband is important. — Sherry T. It can be done as a normal craft. Eggs, bunnies, etc., have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter. I think the parents’ teachings will trump all the commercial stuff in the world. — Sharla Jimerson Dyeing eggs is a tradition that goes back thousands of years in pagan traditions. Perhaps if you talk about that historical aspect with your kids and

approach it as a fun, seasonal, secular activity, it could be fun for everyone in your family. (Allow me to suggest from experience that it will be more fun for you and whoever cleans the floor if you skip the glitter egg dyeing kit and stick with the standard one instead.) — Shannan Y. To each his own. No one can tell you how to raise your children. If YOU think it’s OK or a good “teachable moment,” go for it. You have to do what’s right (best) for your children! — Dawn D. I was raised Jewish. We dyed eggs. I’m sure we didn’t call them Easter eggs. And we didn’t have any conversation about the religious aspects of Easter. We just liked the art project. I was not scarred for life. — Sophia S. It’s harmless. — Landan V. Maybe make it more of a science experiment than something related to religion? — Melissa A.


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