Gas Tank Getaway: Six Flags Great America

Don’t let high gas prices keep you home this summer.  There’s no need to sweat it out in your backyard when extreme family fun is less than a tank of gas away. If you live in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan or Illinois, a mecca of mind-blowing adventure awaits at Six Flags Great America.  The popular theme park is located in Gurnee, Illinois; less than an hour’s drive from Chicago, Milwaukee, and a host of other major Midwestern cities. Great America’s convenient location is a major timesaver, but the savings don’t stop there.  In addition to banking gas money, you can continue … Continue reading

Shortening Summer Vacation

Know how to shut down an unruly kid in record time? Tell him that his school is shortening summer vacation. I’ve never seen a mouthy child go silent as quickly as I did last week while watching the evening news at our neighbor’s house.  Education leaders recently began serious talks about lengthening the academic year here. Of course, all my neighbor’s rowdy kid heard was:  “Next year, public school kids across the state could be dealing with a much shorter summer vacation.” The news reporter’s last three words nearly triggered an aneurysm in my neighbor’s kid. My child attends parochial … Continue reading

End-of-the-School-Year Bliss

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Sing it with me. No more pencils, no more books, no more dragging kids out of bed, no more making lunches at 5 a.m., no more threatening children to finish their homework, no more last-minute scrambles to find missing socks and backpacks while the school bus sits at the end of the driveway… I’m done. Thank goodness, the end of the school year is just around the corner. Thankful. Thankful. Thankful. That’s me. While some parents are cursing the end of the academic year, I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I’m not … Continue reading

Back-to-School Broke

Just as my bank account was recovering from funding summer camps, soccer lessons, new swimsuits, pool fees, daily DQ runs and July jaunts to major theme parks, I’m being buried by back-to-school bills. I am officially back-to-school broke and classes around here don’t start for another two weeks. I kvetched when I saw Target and Wal-Mart employees replacing Fourth of July displays with school supplies, but then I realized that many kids are forced to head back to class at the end of July. Thousands of year-round students that attend Chicago Public Schools start the new academic year on Monday. … Continue reading

The Curse of Swearing

“Stop f-ing around you dumb***!” “F-you, jerk!” “You’re the jerk, *$*#!” That’s just a tiny excerpt of the filth my 6-year-old was exposed to while standing in line for a water ride at Six Flags Great America earlier this summer. Fortunately, my little angel had no clue that the colorful language spewing from the mouths of the random teens messing around in front of us at the “family-friendly” amusement park is grounds for a severe butt whooping in some clans. Namely mine. As much as I would love for my daughter to reside in a hermetically-sealed bubble, I know the … Continue reading

Simple Weekend Pleasures

Who says you have to splurge on a Disney getaway or a Six Flags splash-fest in order to make your kid happy this summer? In the few years that I have been a parent I’ve learned that children care more about the amount of quality time you spend with them rather than the amount of money you spend on them. Of course, my daughter is only six, so that theory is subject to change once she hits tweendom. Still, there’s nothing quite like bonding with your child in the great outdoors on a bright summer day. Just you, your kid, … Continue reading

Ways to Save on a Six Flags Staycation

It’s never a good day when travelers are actually excited to see gas prices hovering near $4. Three dollars and 89 cents for a gallon of unleaded–SCORE!! While the cost of gas has fallen slightly in the last couple weeks, from its highest levels since July 2008, Americans are still paying nearly a dollar more per gallon than a year ago. As a result, families from coast-to-coast continue to restructure their summer vacation plans in order to preserve their household budgets, and still have fun in the sun. That goes double for clans living in and around Chicago. According to … Continue reading