Friday, November 30, 2012
Area farms offer fresh trees, memorable experiences and an environment-friendly tradition.
Most American households, 48 percent, erect artificial trees during the Christmas holiday, according to Christmas Tree Facts from the University of Illinois Extension. But for the 21 percent who prefer a real tree, there’s nothing better than taking a drive to Christmas tree farm to cut down the perfect one. (In case you are wondering about the rest of the respondents, 32 percent said they do not have a tree at all.) For those who aren’t convinced that real is better, consider the environmental benefits. Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill, according to the university’s Christmas Tree Facts web page. “Many people still perceive cutting trees down as bad for the environment and that is not …
Thursday, February 9, 2012
For this opinion column, we're talking about Baby Boomers on, so "It Happened One Night" and "Some Like It Hot" don't count. I've got my list. What's yours?
I was shocked—shocked!—to find out what Moviefone picked as the Top 25 romantic comedies of all time. Although I might agree with their top choice. Yes, I'm a 54-year-old man, and I shouldn't admit it (in the off chance my high school or college buddies actually read this) but I'm a sucker for romantic comedies. Unfortunately, I don't think we get a lot of good ones anymore. There was a time when it seemed like Hollywood was producing a truly great romantic comedy once a year. Nowadays, the movies that fall under that heading come off (to me, at least) as unscripted or over-the-top, lacking the elegance or charm of their counterparts from the 1980s or '90s. That's my opinion, anyway, and I'm sticking with it. Here are my top 10 of the past…
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The cards you find in the store seldom hit the nail on the head.
More than once, I've bumped into my neighbor Pat, from across the street, in the greeting card aisle at Jewel. When it happens, it's usually about 7:30 a.m. on Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, when we're both looking for that perfect greeting card. However, that late in the greeting card cycle, the shelves are three-quarters empty and every card has a couple dozen fingerprints on it. If I can find a card that's not too smudgy, and if I can find an envelope that's about the right size, I grab those suckers and trot to the car happy as a dog who found a bone, even if it set me back $8.95. Even if I got there a week early, I don't think I'd find a card with enough unique rhymes on it to justify that sticker price. There ought to be more …
Monday, December 26, 2011
Taking your new iPhone for a spin? Download the Patch app for quick access to local news and events.
- HOLIDAY GUIDE
Monday, December 26, 2011
Lucky enough to get a mobile device this holiday season? Let's put it to work learning about your community. Patch has apps for iPhones and Android phones, and also makes it easy for you to upload photos, news and comments from anywhere. Here's a look at a few ways you can connect with Patch through your mobile device. Patch for iPhone Patch for iPhone keeps customers connected to the latest news, weather, local business listings and current events happening in their neighborhood. Patch’s app will keep them engaged and mobile by delivering 24/7 local community coverage. The Patch app's useful features include: Plus, they can save anything from favorite stories to business listings direct to the iPhone for easy offline access. Customer …
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Our Patch contest gives readers a chance to show off their holiday spirit.
Does your house outshine the others in your neighborhood when it comes to holiday decorations? If the answer is yes, starting Dec. 8, enter Patch's Deck the House Contest for a chance to win $100,000 for your local public school system, $500 toward your electric bill or bragging rights in your neighborhood. The contest will run until Dec. 26 and users will vote for the best-decked house in their town. From there, Patch judges will select 24 finalists nationwide, who will get their December electric bill paid by Patch (up to $500). The grand prize winner will recieve a $100,000 donation to their local school system. We'll give you an update with more details next week, but for now, get decorating. And don't forget to take photos! Enter Now…
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Ninety-one children products have been recalled this year. Are any on your shopping list?
Though most recalled toys are yanked from store shelves, some find their way onto resale websites and eventually into the home. If you're shopping for holiday gifts online, it's something to keep in mind. To help diminish the risk of allowing a defunct or dangerous product into your household, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has once again issued her Safe Shopping Guide, a 42-page PDF document packed with photos and product descriptions of products recalled in 2011. It's available at the Illinois Attorney General's website and is attached here as a PDF. “This guide is an easy-to-use resource for parents who are already busy enough without monitoring the dizzying number of recalls and dangerous products. I encourage everyone to use …
Trying to live up to holiday car commercials will only drive you to depression.
I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed. Poor Charlie Brown. He really is the Charlie Browniest. But he’s not the only one having a blue Christmas, just the most famous. We all know that Christmas can be a stressful time of year, what with all the gift buying, card writing, cookie baking, tree decorating, and party-going. There’s a free-floating anxiety in the air that is very specific to this time of the year—the pressure to be ever-so-very-merry and for your life to resemble as closely as possible the picture-perfect scenes that we are bombarded with in television specials, commercials, …
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Did you ever host a dinner that was more foul than fowl? Read on and your holiday will be better than ever.
For Thanksgiving I always go to Casey's for my turkey. I feel like they have the freshest birds. So, it was really disappointing when one year my turkey, despite it's potential, didn’t turn out as planned. I was so upset my caruncle nearly burst. If you don’t know what that is, then it’s time to talk turkey about Thanksgiving. Here are a few steps: 1. Preparing your bird. Find a good counselor to help him cope. Farmed turkeys are flightless and have little chance for escape—especially since each year the average American eats about 10% of his own body weight in turkey. It may make you feel better to know that Big Bird’s costume was made from thousands of yellow-dyed turkey feathers. Life goes on? 2. Turkey safety. I think it’s pretty …
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Lodging and attractions near the Tollway's interchanges are featured in the new guides, available online.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Thanksgiving holiday travelers looking for a hotel near grandma’s house or a place to entertain the kids during a visit to northeast Illinois can check out four new quick-reference guides for lodging and tourism attractions along the Illinois Tollway. The guides can be downloaded in PDF format from www.illinoistollway.com. In the middle of the homepage of the site, on the right side, users can click on a link labeled "Tourism Guide." In a press release, Kristi Lafleur, the Tollway's executive director, said she hopes the guide will make travel less stressful and promote businesses along the tollway system. The guide features lodging and attractions near each tollway interchange. There are four distinct guides for: the Tri-State Tollway (I-…
Monday, November 21, 2011
It's not all about the turkey. A perfect Thanksgiving meal can be measured in beans and potatoes and other good stuff.
Monday, November 21, 2011
We have much to be thankful for, including a table loaded with good food, on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. While the turkey is defrosting, the discussion and planning about side dishes have begun. People are passionate about their potatoes, bonkers for beans and serious about the perfect stuffing recipe. Often for sentimental reasons, Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without certain side dishes. So, Patch Poll asks: What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? In the most recent Patch Poll, "Will President Obama's Student Loan Plan Help to Stimulate the Economy?," 73 percent answered no; 26 percent answered yes. Some of the comments to the poll included this one from Maria: "College tuition need to be fully tax deductible at all income level…