Netflix gave me a chance to screen the first six episodes of the new series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from the minds of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the creators of 30 Rock.

The show centers around the life of 28-year-old eponymous Kimmy (The Office‘s Ellie Kemper) after she is rescued from a cult bunker, where she’s been living since she was a teen. She comes to New York to carve out her own life where she ends up rooming with Tituss (Tituss Burgess, D’Fwan from 30 Rock), a daffy Carol Kane is her landlady, and she works for the upper-class family of Jane Krakowski (Jenna from 30 Rock.)

Familiar faces aside, you may have guessed that this show has a lot in common with Fey and Carlock’s first series. Kimmy Schmidt is like Skipper to 30 Rock‘s Barbie. And if you were a fan of that show (as I am), you’ll find a lot to love here. It carries on the tradition of rapid fire humor and subtle sight gags, though it’s overall less wry and more innocent.Kemper’s doe-eyed sweetness is endearing rather than annoying (a feat that only this actress could pull off) and her relationship with Tituss is both hilarious and grounding.

It’s a bit of a slow build – settle into it for at least two episodes – but I am really looking forward to watching the remainder of this season and the next. Happy watching!


1 Spruce Tree in green_resize_2

Oh, how I love this modern tree bookcase. Available for $169 at babyletto.com.

Sales This Week


Looking for a place to go this weekend? Head to St. Charles this Saturday and Sunday for Chicago Family Palooza, which will include carnival games, an indoor zip line, a rock climbing wall, train rides, mini golf, moon jumps, a petting zoo, face painting and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pheasant Run Resort. Admission is $8, with additional charges for ride wristbands. For more information, visit www.chicagofamilypalooza.com.


Crazy About BabyGanics

I love BabyGanics. This is my new go-to for baby-safe cleaning and personal care products, and I wholeheartedly recommend the entire line.

BabyGanics, a New York-based line of 60-different plant-based products, ranges from floor cleaner to sunscreen. I have switched over completely from The Honest Company. I don’t doubt the organic safety of the line, but their cleaning products were only so-so. (Plus, the way they have treated the hilarious Honest Toddler blog really turned me off.)

So over the course of the last few months, I have tried a lot of the BabyGanics products, and I’m crazy about them. The foaming hand soap (available in fragrance-free and mandarin scent), multi-surface cleaner, and the shampoo and body wash are among my favorites. The cleaning products are excellent without leaving the sticky residue that many other sprays and floor cleaners do, and the dryer sheets are a great alternative for my family. We had stopped using dryer sheets altogether because the kids have sensitive skin, and now we’re back to static-free laundry, thanks to BabyGanics.

The line of products is available in stores such as Target and Walgreens, as well as online at Amazon.com at prices that are pretty comparable to the standard products. So if you’re looking for a line of reasonably-priced baby-safe and environmentally-friendly products, BabyGanics is definitely worth a try.

Kids outgrow clothes so quickly that consignment sales are a great way to save money. (If you only pay $2 for a T-shirt, you don’t really care when it meets the business end of a marker.) Save on baby, kid, and maternity clothing as well as gear, toys, and furniture and/or unload the clothing and gear that your kid has outgrown. (Click on the links below for each sale to see consignment rules.)

Even if resale isn’t your game, the low prices make these sales worthwhile, especially for babies who can grow out of clothes in a month. But know that some moms take this very seriously. Plenty of diehards line-up early to get first pick. (There’s not a lot of smiling at these events. It’s all business. Just know that before you go.) If you’re just in the market for clothes and toys, being an early bird isn’t that necessary because there is usually plenty to go around. But if you’re looking for a high chair, stroller, or the ever-coveted double stroller? Show up early because those items go first.


-Bring a laundry basket to hold your goodies, the collapsible kind is best for your own convenience.

-Bring cash. It’s the easiest and fastest way to pay, and the best way to stick to your budget.

– Bring a cardboard cutout or foot measurements of your kid’s feet to check and see if resale shoes will fit.

-Come with a list, because these sales can be overwhelming. Know what you need and in what sizes.


-Bring your kid, if you can avoid it, unless it’s an infant in a sling. Kids aren’t allowed to play with toys at these sales and that’s hard to explain, let alone to enforce while you’re shopping. Plus, it goes much faster with out them.

-Bring strollers, they usually aren’t allowed at the sales.

Below is a roundup of the sales coming up around the area. Happy bargain hunting!


Posh Tots Upscale Resale

When: Friday, Feb. 27thth from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat., Feb. 28th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday March 1st from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Location TBD – check Web site for details

Purchases: Cash and credit cards


Growing Cents of Style

When: Saturday, March 7th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 8th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Location TBD – Check Web site for details

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash and Visa/Mastercard accepted

Other details: Bring your own bag.


Babies 2 Kidz

When: Thursday, March 12th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, March 13th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, March 14th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Most items half off on Saturday)

Where: Kane County Fairgrounds (525 S. Randall Rd., St. Charles)

Purchases: Cash and credit cards 


Millburn Kids Resale

When: Friday, March 13th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 14th from 8 a.m. to noon

Where: Millburn West Middle School (640 Freedom Way, Lindenhurst)

Purchases: Cash only

Other details: No strollers


Step by Step PTA resale

When: Saturday, March. 14th from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; half-price sale starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.

Where: DuPage County Fairgrounds (2015 Manchester Rd., Wheaton)

Admission: Free


Church of the Nazarene: Children’s Clothing and Toy Resale

When: Saturday, March 14th from 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Church Gym (12725 Bell Rd., Lemont)

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash only

Other details: One laundry basket allowed; no children or strollers permitted.


The Lake County Mother of Twins Sale

When: Saturday, March 14th from 8 a.m. to noon

Where: Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center (2007 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach)

Admission: $2

Purchases: Cash only

 Other details: No strollers permitted.


Moms of Multiples

When: Saturday, March 21st from 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Unitarian Church of Evanston (1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston)

Admission: $1

Purchases: Cash only

Other details: One laundry basket allowed; no strollers permitted


Rhea Lana’s of West Chicagoland

When: Sunday, March 22nd from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, March 23rd from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 24th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 26th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 27th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (half price sale), Saturday, March 28th from 9 a.m. to noon (half price)

Where: 1199 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash or credit


Lots for Tots Consignments

When: Friday, March 27th from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday March 28th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the half-price sale on Sunday, March 29th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Libertyville Sports Complex (1950 N. Hwy. 45, Libertyville)

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash, Visa, Mastercard and Discover accepted



Babies, Tots n More

When: Friday, April 10th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 11st from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Most items half off on Saturday)

Where: Daystar School (1550 S. State St., Chicago)

Other details: Large tote bags provided (no outside bags permitted). 


Trendy Tots Resale

When: Friday, April 10th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (half price)

Where: DuPage County Fairgrounds (2015 Manchester Rd., Wheaton)

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash and credit

Other details: Bring a laundry basket to shop; no strollers allowed.


Adler Park Bike Resale

When: Saturday April 11th, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Where: Adler Park Lodge, 1640 N. Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash or check accepted


Kids Closet

When: Thursday, April 16thth from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, April 17th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (half price sale starts at 3 p.m.), and Saturday, April 18th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (half price day).

Where: Hallmark Sports Club (10850 W. Laraway Rd., Frankfort)

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash and credit


Here Whee Go Again North

When: Thursday, April 16th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday April 17th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 18th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday April 19th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: 291 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich

Admission: $5 for Thursday, otherwise free

Purchases: Cash or credit for purchases over $30


Bugaboo Children’s Consignment Sale

When: Friday April 17th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday April 18th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the half price sale

Where: Kendall County Fairgrounds (Route 71 and E. Highpoint Rd, Yorkville)

Admission: Free

Purchases: Cash and check accepted

Other details: No large bags allowed; strollers checked on the way in. Cloth bags, rolling carts, and laundry baskets permitted for shopping.


Park Ridge Newcomers Club Spring Kids Sale

When: Saturday, April 18th from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: St. Andrews Lutheran Church (260 N. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge)

Admission: $2 cash

Purchases: Cash or credit card; minimum $50 purchase for credit cards. Sales tax charged on all purchases.

Other details: Bring a laundry basket to shop; no strollers or carts allowed.


Kid Stuff Resale by Mothers & More of McHenry County

When: Saturday, April 18th from 8 a.m. to noon

Where: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 1023 S. McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake

Admission: $1 or a food pantry item

Purchases: Cash

Other details: No strollers permitted


Tri-Cities Mothers of Twins and Triplets Club 

When: Saturday, April 18thth from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (The half price sale runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Where: Mooseheart Field House (Rt. 31 and Mooseheart Rd., between North Aurora and Batavia)

Admission: $1

Purchases: Cash or check only.

Other details: No laundry baskets or backpacks permitted, but wagons, strollers, and large tote bags are allowed.


Will County Mothers of Twins Club

When: Saturday, April 25th from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Doors close at 11 and reopen at 11:30 a.m. for half price sale on pink tag items)

Where: Romeoville Recreation Center (900 W. Romeo Rd., Romeoville)

Admission: $1

Purchases: Cash only

Other details: Bring a laundry basket; no strollers or wagons permitted



Here Whee Go Again South

When: Thursday, May 14th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, May 15th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, May 16th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 6th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (half off day)

Where: 1090 Barrington Rd., Streamwood

Admission: $5 on Thursday, otherwise free

Purchases: Cash or credit for purchases over $30



Hey there, Money Bags

money_bag_LGI don’t know why I love this so much, but something about having your kids collect loose change in a money bag designed in the vein of a cartoon burglar is really funny to me. Available for $15 at ThreePotatoFour.com. (Money not included.)

Local children’s chainlet The Red Balloon Co. (3651 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-549-9800) opensThe Red Balloon Company Southport Corridor its third location on Valentine’s Day with face painting, 2 p.m. story and craft hour, and Valentine-making station. The story continues the tradition of well-edited designer children’s clothing, books and gifts in a welcoming, whimsical environment. This third location joins the Bucktown store (1940 N. Damen Ave., Chicago), open since 1998, and the Andersonville location (5407 N. Clark St., Chicago), which opened in 2005.


Great Gift for Moms


Here’s an excellent gift idea for the mom in your life. Mom, I’ve Always Wanted to Tell You is a book that features 50 prompts to inspire you to reflect on all the experiences you’ve shared with your mom. Available for $14.95 at Amazon.com.

Sales This Week

Now through February 21st, locations of Babies R Us are hosting the annual Great Trade-In event. Trade in used baby gear and furniture for 25 percent off select items including strollers, car seats, high chairs, cribs and toddler beds. No limit – trade in as many items as you wish.

The Red Balloon Co. is hosting its South Side warehouse sale from February 6th through 8th at 1504 E. 53rd St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Stop by to snag designer duds sized infant to 16 for as low as $5.

Blizzard, shmizzard. With nearly 20 inches of snow on the ground, none of us are going anywhere for a while. Embrace cabin fever with these titles on Netflix. Make some popcorn, build a blanket fort and enjoy some quiet time inside with the family because the snow is a lot prettier (and less frustrating) when looked at through the window.

For the kids:

  • Ferngully: The Last Rain Forest – A fairy fights to save a rainforest. Cute and causey.
  • Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius – A fun adventure with a boy genius from Retroville.
  • The Rescuers – An old-school Disney classic for the whole family.
  • Dragons: Dawn of the Dragon Racer – A series that continues the How to Train Your Dragon movies.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids – Another retro classic for both little kids and big kids. Shrinking, a pet ant, and harmless adolescent romance. It’s got it all.
  • Hook – Kids love Peter Pan? Have them check out this story about a grown-up Peter Pan who returns to Neverland after forgetting his pirate-fighting past.
  • Jumanji – Older kids will love this movie where a board game comes to life with jungle animals and other peril. (Maybe too much for little kids – think 7 and up.)
  • Labyrinth – Have your offspring not yet experienced the joys of 1980s David Bowie? It’s time.
  • Ever After High – A cute show about a boarding school for budding fairy tale princesses. Binge watch to catch up before Ever After: Spring Unsprung launches Friday.

 And after the kids go to bed, try a few of these out:

  • Alias – I loved this show (well, until the last season got super weird) about Jennifer Garner as a smart and sexy spy who fights international crime while trying to maintain a normal life.
  • Marco Polo – This historical drama is inspired by the life of the real-life traveler, in the vein of Game of Thrones (but with far less nudity.)
  • Once Upon a Time – Fairy tales are real in this show centered in a magical Maine town.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire or  The Walking Dead – Something about a blizzard putting you in the mood for dystopia? These should do the trick.
  • Breaking Bad – A satisfying binge-watch to prep for the series premiere of Better Call Saul on Sunday.

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