Author - Laura Baginski


Bid on date night ideas & Chicago restaurants |

Photo credit: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr

Has it been awhile since you last had a date night with your partner? (Note: PTA meetings don't count.)

Let NPN's Online Silent Auction help you out! Our auction, open for bidding now through May 1, is full of fun date night ideas and gift certificates to some of the city's best restaurants. Not only that, but you can also bid on babysitters to watch your kids while you go out on the town! 

Here are some of our favorite date-night ideas up for b...

Posted on April 28, 2016 at 1:57 PM by Laura Baginski

Bid on kids' classes & summer camps |

Photo credit: School of Rock

It's not too late to get your kids signed up for summer camp! Register for NPN's Online Silent Auction presented by British Swim School happening now through Sunday, May 1, and peruse our list of summer camps. When you find one you think your kid will love, put in a bid! Check out our guide to bidding (and winning) to get a leg up on the competition. 

Just a few of the summer camps offered in NPN's Online Silent Auction include:

Safari Advenute Sum...

Posted on April 27, 2016 at 9:26 AM by Laura Baginski

Childcare options for the April 1 CTU strike

Photo credit: MD11/Flickr

The question is no longer whether the Chicago Teachers Union will strike on April 1. Now that a strike is inevitable, the question (among many) is: What are Chicago parents going to do with their kids on April 1?

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool announced that CPS will set up 250 "contingency sites" where parents can send their kids next Friday—locations will be announced Tuesday. UPDATE: Here is the list of 250 spots. 

But if you would prefer to ensure your chi...

Posted on March 30, 2016 at 2:10 PM by Laura Baginski

12 things to put in Easter baskets that aren't candy |

Photo credit: Nicki Dugan Pogue/Flickr

For parents trying to limit their kids' candy intake and the little dollar-store toys littering the living-room floor, figuring out how to populate an Easter basket or coming up gifts for the Easter Bunny to hide can be tough. One NPN parent asked for creative ideas for Easter gifts on the discussion forum this week, and our members had some great ideas.

Here are some of their suggestions:



Spring PJs


Posted on March 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM by Laura Baginski

Why oh why are there tiny holes in my shirts? |

Yes, there's a looming CPS teachers' strike, and the presidential election becomes more farsical every day, but no one is talking about a very serious problem that's plaguing Chicago moms. No one, that is, except for NPN members.

That very serious problem? Those tiny holes that appear at the bottom of T-shirts, at the level of your jeans' button. What causes these vexing holes, which ruin our favorite T-shirts? Is it moths? Seat belts? Laundry detergent? Washing dishes? 

NPN member...

Posted on March 11, 2016 at 2:26 PM by Laura Baginski

The best kid-friendly restaurants in Chicago

Photo credit: mliu92/Flickr

When someone asks whether a restaurant is "kid-friendly," that's often code for: "How tolerant is the staff about my kid throwing his chicken fingers on the floor just for kicks, escaping his seat to take a lap around the restaurant and having two meltdowns before the appetizers arrive?" But beyond being understanding that kids will be kids, kid-friendly restaurants also have a menu filled with things kids will like, plenty of highchairs and booster seats, s...

Posted on March 04, 2016 at 1:18 PM by Laura Baginski

Does a kindergartener need a tutor to get ahead? |

If a child is behind in speech or language development, or not keeping up with his class academically, hiring a speech therapist or tutor is a no-brainer. But does a 5-year-old with typcial development need extra help—just to get ahead? 

An NPN member posted this question on our discussion forum this week after discovering that many of her friends' young children were enrolled in tutoring programs. Do kindergarteners need this kind of academic challenge, and is this really as perv...

Posted on February 26, 2016 at 11:45 AM by Laura Baginski

Philanthropy spotlight: Special Olympics Chicago

Anyone who has competed in sports knows the positive effects it can have: learning what it means to be a part of a team, testing physical and emotional limits, and improving overall health. Thanks to Special Olympics Chicago, 6,000 athletes with intellectual abilities get to experience all the highs and lows that come with participating in sports—without having to pay for a thing.


How does the Special Olympics accomplish this? Through creative fundraising endeavors, such as the up...

Posted on February 25, 2016 at 11:16 AM by Laura Baginski

When your kid isn't invited to a birthday party |

Photo credit: Brian Geltner/Flickr

When your kid is one of the few kids in her class who didn't get invited to a classmate's birthday party, the exclusion stings in many ways. You hurt for your kid, you are annoyed at the birthday boy's parents and it may even dredge up some old, long-forgotten hurt feelings from your own childhood. What's the best way to handle this slight and the emotions that come with it? That's one of the many topics NPN members are weighing in on today on th...

Posted on February 19, 2016 at 2:27 PM by Laura Baginski

5 awesome Chicago services for special-needs kids |

Photo credit: Courtesy Therapy Yoga Gymnastics Rocks

If your child has a developmental difference, you know you need to find a support team to help him excel, whether it's a therapist, a specialty school, a developmental pediatrician or all of the above. You'll be able to find all of these resources at NPN's Developmental Differences Resource Fair on March 13, but you'll also be able to find services that provide realy cool experiences for your child. 

Check out these exhibito...

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 9:38 AM by Laura Baginski