Our favorite wintertime fun
"After a big snowfall we all go out and shovel the driveway together. Then we build snow forts with the bigs piles of snow from the driveway. We then go inside and warm up with some hot chocolate." Angie Campbell
"My family’s favorite activity in the winters of Chicago is to go to an indoor Mega-waterpark in the Dells." Kim Raye
"Our favorite wintertime activity is going to Wolves games. Then it’s through the Krispy Kreme drive-thru." Teresa Schneider
"Our favorite winter things to do include: playing outside (snow needed), skiing (can also do with fake snow), playing board games, watching good family movies, baking goodies, scrapbooking, visiting family/friends."Julie Bittke
"We love to snuggle together in our living room and watch football while sipping hot cider or hot chocolate."Michelle Habrych
Someone you should know Chef Steve Chiappetti on food and family
A product of four generations of butchers on his mother’s and father’s side, Steve Chiappetti knows food. The dad of 5-year-old Grace Frances and 2-year-old Leonardo Alexander, Chiappetti is chef at Viand, a three-star restaurant in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood that’s generating a lot of buzz. To balance his busy life, he’s crafted a recipe that mixes 1 cup of family, 1 cup of work and a pinch of lessons from his mom, Annette, about life, food and parenting.
1 How have you incorporated your kids into what you are doing at Viand?
"My whole perspective on family life has completely (changed). It’s been more about family than anything else. …We wanted to make a restaurant as creatively fun for adults as well as for kids. ...I think dining has to be more than food on a plate. Dining with kids is interactive. The whole point of being with kids is that you are interacting with them, that it’s a family experience. (At the table) you capture their attention. That’s usually when most conversations happen, at least the important ones."
2 Do you have picky eaters in your house?
"My daughter is. For the first three years, I’d say, to four years, I was one of those chefs who said I’m going to feed my kids everything, only the best. I would make all of her baby food. Guess what? That didn’t fly. You want to talk about a humbling experience when your daughter is spitting out your food."
3 Your advice for eating out with kids?
Don’t take kids out to eat on a Friday or Saturday night. Weekday nights work much better for families. His own family eats out twice a week. "It’s very important to teach kids social interaction and going out helps that."
4 How do you balance your life and career?
"I found that there has to be balance. I schedule my day so that I’m home until noon to be with my son and daughter," while his wife, Leslie, works. Then she returns and he goes to work. They decided early on they didn’t want others taking care of their kids. "I really think it’s important to imprint yourself on your children and have that one-on-one interaction."
5 What is one thing you’d want to say to other parents?
"I think you can’t put anything more important than your children. You have to spend those moments with your kids when they are young … I’ve owned many restaurants, a cooking school, been on TV. ... Nothing is more important than being a parent."
Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy
It happened to meBe strong and never ask OK
I’ve seen a lot in my 25 years as a Chicago police officer, but when I am off-duty I try to respond as any parent would. When my daughter was about 4, we were on a playground where another mom was playing with her two kids when a small band of boys came up to her on their bikes.
The ringleader began telling the mother that the bike her daughter was on was his little sister’s. The other mom was confused—exactly what the boys intended on their way to bullying her into giving up her daughter’s bike.
The three boys hadn’t spared more than a glance at me until I told them "It’s your sister’s bike, huh? Where is she? You go get her! And bring her parents and the police report!"
It was easy to tell they hadn’t expected anyone to speak up for a stranger. They told me it was none of my business. I told them, "Too bad, I made it my business, and if you don’t like it, you get the cops." As they harassed and cursed me, I started dialing 911 on my cell phone.
They pedaled off, but came back twice. I stayed with the mother I wouldn’t know by name until a year later. They never got what they were after.
Anyone can make a difference like this. Start here: Be sure to make your words as strong as your tone of voice. When you give an instruction or order to someone, even your own child, never finish with "... OK?" You are not asking the kid’s permission to give a command and "OK?" negates whatever you just said.
Maja Ramirez, Chicago
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.