For April, #Netflix is waxing nostalgic. Time to bust out the leg warmers, charm necklaces and maybe take a photo or two of the kids in front of a laser background.

My kids are still too young to fully appreciate the Jessie Spano “I’m so excited” breakdown from Saved by the Bell (all in good time), so we celebrated by breaking out some toddler-appropriate classics. (I indulged in a throwback session myself, sans kids. Jem and the Holograms is way more trippy than I remember…)

My toddler sons and I settled in with some Jell-O pudding (my Cosby impression didn’t quite land with a 4-year-old 51F9RSA7E6Land 1 1/2-year-old, but I know in my heart that it is spot on) and watched some classic Sesame Street episodes, which I enjoyed as much as they did. Later, we checked out The Care Bears movie, which they loved and which was, incidentally, just as trippy as I remember. It inspired me to bust out my old Cheer Bear and now she has made it in the toy rotation. Upcycling! And as much as we love the clever 2011 take on Winnie the Pooh, we watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as a family, and I found myself singing every song word for word. The kid endorsement came this week when my son was wearing his raincoat, holding his umbrella and saying “Tut tut, it looks like rain.”

More good news? Going retro has made us magnanimous. So whether or not you roll Silver Spoons-style, you can enter to win a free, three-month Netflix subscription code.

Just email pinwheelchicago@gmail.com by Monday, April 20th to enter. (Ricky Schroder ride-on train not included.)

Ever wonder what neighborhood to live in once kids are on the scene? Here’s a graphic, courtesy of Apartment Guys of Chicago, that serves as a guide for Chicago residents to the most family-friendly city neighborhoods, taking into account such factors as transportation options, parks and recreation, safety, schooling and entertainment options.

Chicago Family Friendly Neighborhoods


Sales This Week

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago hosts the 14th annual Spring Art Sale, full of undergrad and graduate student work including paintings, ceramics, prints, jewelry, photographs and clothing. Prices range $5 to $2,000 and admission is free. Shop at the SAIC Ballroom (112 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago) on Friday, April 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stop by Luxaby Baby & Child (59 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-280-7905) on Friday, April 9th and Saturday, April 10th for a Rachel Riley trunk show including the spring collection and a preview of the fall 2014 collection.

Got a Frozen fanatic in the house? Building Blocks Toys (2130 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-235-1888; 3306 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-525-6200) is offering Anna and Elsa costumes and matching doll dresses for pre-order through June 15th. (Girl’s dresses are $39.99, $10 during the pre-sale and the doll dresses are $19.99, $16.99 during the pre-sale.)

Dinosaur roundup

Been in a dinosaur state of mind lately, thanks to my 4-year-olds enthusiasm. Check out these dino-inspired goodies for your little one.



T-Rex wall sculpture, $89, at UrbanOutfitters.com.

f63856c491d83f112f88d191c9c7fef8Blue dino luggage, $119.50, at Pottery Barn Kids



Dinosaur backpack, $52, at Beatrixnyc.com





Dinosaur blocks, $22.64, at AllModern.com

liam_onesie500pxDinosaur onesie, $24, at FawnandForest.com



Dino rocker, $180, available at Giggle



Dinosaur raincoat, $40, at Sprout San Francisco



Insulated lunch box, $18, at DwellStudio.com



Neon dinosaur planters, $45, at UncommonGoods.com



Personalized dinosaur wall art, starting at $90, at RedEnvelope.com



Dinosaur bin, $29, at AllModern.com

Green Dinosaur Character Dish Collection


Personalized ceramic dishes, $112, at Twinkle Twinkle Little One



Dinosaur chalkboard, $24.95, at Land of Nod



Dinosaur Birthday Party

My son requested a dinosaur theme for his 4th birthday party. It was surprisingly easy (and pretty cheap, too, thanks to a little help from Oriental Trading.) Here’s the results, with some homemade elements and some off the shelf.

IMG_8492Green, orange and yellow just seemed like dinosaur colors to me, for no real reason.




Each kid at the party received a dinosaur tail sewn by my mom, and the birthday boy got a hoodie with dinosaur spikes as well. (The dinosaur boots are a part of his everyday flair.) Instructions for the tails can be found here. The only difference in our tails is that we cut spikes of different colors rather than having the spikes be all the same color. I just bought fat quarters from the fabric store and cut triangles for a few nights. The hoodie my mom improvised based on this inspiration from Etsy.

IMG_8490Dinosaur tracks in the kitchen.



Easy centerpieces. Just a $2 fern from Home Depot and a T-Rex (fished out of the bin of dinosaurs in the toy room.)

IMG_8495The make-your-own treat bag station. Bought the containers at Wal-Mart and affixed tiny dinos to the top. The dinosaur masks and toys are from Oriental Trading.


Volcano centerpiece. We used an upside down flower pot as a base, then used this formula. We painted it brown, then let the red drip down like lava, and put little dinos around it. All of the kids were obsessed with it.


Super easy dinosaur cut outs. I just searched on Google Images for suitable silhouettes and then cut them into colorful scrapbook paper.

IMG_8507Baby gate turned dinosaur paddock. Inflatables from Oriental Trading.

Pinwheel Is On Vacation

Pinwheel is on spring break this week. Back next week with more posts!

Sales This Week

Moms of Multiples runs Saturday, March 29th from 9 a.m. to noon at the Unitarian Church of Evanston (1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston). Admission is $1; purchases are cash only. One laundry basket allowed; no strollers permitted.

Head to Central Street in Evanston for Retail Therapy on Thursday, March 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. Shops between the 1800 and 2100 blocks of Central Street will stay open late and offer discounts and other perks.

The International Vintage Poster Fair heads to the Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph St., Chicago) from Friday, March 28 through Sunday, March 30 with more than 10,000 original vintage posters for sale. Admission is $15 to $20.

Kid Garden Tools


Spring has sprung. Get the kids in on the gardening action with this set of tool essentials, $33.75 at Sprout Home ().

Fruit Solar System

It’s Science Fair season, and though my kids are too young for that yet, my toddler has been obsessed with the solar system lately. (“Let’s talk about planets, mommy.”) So we did a super easy (and delicious) craft — making a solar system out of fruit. I found the instructions here, and we created our own for lunch, with my son memorizing which fruit corresponded to which planet…before devouring the whole plate.

SolarSystemReadyHere is the guide that includes the names of the planets.

Solar System 4

Here’s our version — we used popcorn for our asteroid belt.

Solar System 1Enjoying the spoils!

If you want to stay in the science spirit with your little one, check out these five titles on Netflix.

1. Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius

2. Peep and the Big Wide World

3. Magic School Bus: All Dried Up

4. Animal Mechanicals

5. Wild Kratts



Sales This Weekend

Lots of consignment sales this week.

Lots for Tots Consignments runs Friday, March 21st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday March 22nd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the half-price sale on Sunday, March 23rd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Libertyville Sports Complex (1950 N. Hwy. 45, Libertyville). Admission is free; purchases are cash, Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Park Ridge Newcomers Club Spring Kids Sale is Saturday, March 22nd from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Andrews Lutheran Church (260 N. Northwest Hwy., Park Ridge). Admission is $2 cash. Purchases are cash or credit card; minimum $50 purchase for credit cards. Sales tax charged on all purchases. Bring a laundry basket to shop; no strollers or carts allowed.

Rhea Lana’s of West Chicagoland, one of the largest consignment sales in the area, runs Sunday, March 23rd from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, March 24th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 25th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 26th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 27th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 29th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (half price sale), Saturday, March 29th from 9 a.m. to noon (half price) at 1421 Lake St., Addison. Admission is free; purchases are cash or credit.

The Macy’s Flower Show kicks off Sunday, March 23rd and runs through Sunday, April 6th. Starting March 29th, Family Fun Days include face painting, crafting, and mini-graden workshops for kids.

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