Reader Questions


I get many really good reader questions, mostly regarding being a mom and living in Orland Park (go figure) and most of the time I can answer them on my own, and do.

This one, however, required a professional opinion.  I thought I would share….

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My Baby Behind the Wheel – Tales of a Nerve-Wracked Mom



Of course I knew this day would come. I dreaded it and embraced its possibilities all at the same time.

As I reluctantly dropped my son off at his first day of driving school, prayed that he would pay attention, absorb all of the important info that would help him become a safe driver one day. Continue reading

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Chicago Area Pumpkin Patches 2014


Looking for a pumpkin patch in the area but not sure where to start?  Are the kids hoping to score that perfect pumpkin?  You are in luck, because over at is a complete list of patches, hours, amenities and prices to help you on your way.

Be sure to call to verify information posted before venturing out to be sure of hours and events.

For a list that encompasses a larger area, visit and choose your region.  Here is their Chicagoland list.

Good luck and happy pumpkin picking!

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One Step Closer to Downtown OP’s University of Chicago Medical Center!



I, for one, cannot be more excited about the plans to bring University of Chicago quality medical care to Orland Park.  I have, for years, traveled to the UC hospital in Hyde Park and various outpatient centers in other suburbs for specialty care for myself and my children.  Should any member of my family need top-notch specialty outpatient care, it is nice to know we won’t have to travel far for another option!  

Here is the Chicago Tribune article with the latest developments.

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Lowdown on the TTT (Text Talk Translation)

Orland Park Mom

So you happen across your kid’s cell phone and happen to browse through the text messages sent and received.  You think you are all slick until, what the…… It is written in some sort of alien code that you are not able to comprehend.   Now, I am not so in the dark that I do not get the obvious things like LOL, smh and brb, but some of these texts are completely confusing.

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Happy Mother’s Day?

I know I am supposed to smile appreciatively as I receive all of the “Happy Mother’s Day!” greetings this weekend, and I do.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Mommy and nothing in the world means more to me than being a Mom to my kids.  This time of year is always bittersweet for me because it makes me miss my own Mom.  I start to think of how my life and the lives of my children would be if she were still here.  Continue reading

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Homemade Shamrock Shakes

shamrock shakeI am embarrassed to admit how many shamrock shakes I consume during this time of year.  I can’t help it, I love the things and nothing hits the spot after a busy day like a trip through the drive thru and being handed a frosty cup of green goodness.

Here’s the problem, they are not ALWAYS available.  That is why I have learned how to create my own at home.  They are really simple to make and you can adjust the ingredients for those who do not like too much of the minty flavor in their shake.

So here you go…my homemade shamrock shake recipe: (this recipe makes 2 shakes)

  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream (any kind will do, I buy what is on sale)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( I use 2% but whole and skim are fine as well)
  • mint extract (I use about half a teaspoon but find your desired amount by starting out with a little and taste testing as you go)
  • Green food coloring, about 6-7 drops
  •  Whipped cream and colored sprinkles (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients in your blender until smooth and incorporated.  Pour into 2 glasses, top with whipped cream and sprinkles and enjoy!

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Help the CSHS Music Boosters Raise Some Dough!

music boosters

The Carl Sandburg Music Boosters are hoping for your support! Simply go to Panera tomorrow (Wednesday, January 8th)  between 4pm and 8pm off of 143rd and LaGrange Road with this flyer:

Carl Sandburg Music Boosters Flyer

And a percentage of your purchase will benefit the CSHS music programs!

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Trick or Treating in Orland Park 2013

trick or treat



Halloween is almost here! Costumes are ready and local kids are super excited about the possibility of bags full of candy.

Trick or Treating hours in the village are listed as 2pm through 7pm this year.  

Here are some tips to consider when heading out the door with your little ghouls and goblins:

  • Stay on the sidewalk as much as possible to avoid traffic when possible.
  • While trick or treating in the dark, wear bright and/or reflective clothing to make sure drivers can see you.
  • Hike up or shorten long costumes to avoid tripping and accidents.
  • Be sure that holes in masks and costumes are large enough to enable full peripheral vision for crossing streets and safe navigation.
  • Take a flashlight with you for those dark streets.
  • Check all candy for possible tampering and throw away all unwrapped items.
  • Leave some for the other kids!  I’ve witnessed, on many occasions, kids taking advantage of the bowls of candy left out by fellow trick or treating families with the intention of each child taking one or a few pieces.  Please make sure your child is fair and leaves candy for the trick or treaters that are to follow.
  • Young children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult, but when older kids are out and about on their own, make sure they are in a group and know not to go into strangers’ homes or get into cars of strangers.
  • Make sure your older child is carrying a cell phone for ease of check-in if needed.

Most importantly, have a good time!  Halloween is a fun time for kids and a great opportunity to build boootiful family memories!

Happy Halloween!

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Words to live by



Last night I attended what was the last School Board meeting for some, and first for other newly elected members of the board.   The community seems very hopeful for what will come due to the swearing-in of the much admired Laura Berry, Michael Carroll, Sandy Kulak and Mike Maratea.

Many statements were made last night, but the one that really stood out for many was a statement made by outgoing member, Lynne Donegan. I thought it would be nice to share for those of you who may have not been present:

 As I sat down to put some thoughts on paper, it was hard to not get emotional. I reflected back to five years ago—- before the school board— WHERE was I? WHO was I?   Well, I was a mom, volunteer, PFE member, and I was an advocate and lobbyist working on legislation for the implementation of AEDs in indoor and outdoor facilities.

I worked hard, was committed and focused; I showed up prepared~ when I was speaking or presenting, and I did my duties to the best of my ability. I always kept a poker face, while never revealing “my hand”, in true south side fashion.  I asked nothing in return because I was driven and enjoyed what I was doing.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED, someone stepped into my over scheduled, but manageable life and said, “Hey Lynne, how about running for school board?—you are already so invested in the students, you have this innate ability to bring people together, and when you speak people listen (so I was told).  So I “threw my hat into the ring.”

As I look back, I learned a lot and what I can tell you is that “GREAT” isn’t a word I would use to describe my experience over the past four years. My work ethic, and values did not change but my “one person CAN make a difference,” beliefs were severely shaken.

One of the biggest things I learned is that whether I am part of the minority, or the majority, the board is 7 people serving together… as one board. I am disappointed that as ONE board, we accomplished very little, and actually caused much disruption. I was bullied, and could state reasons for removing myself from vulgar name-calling, ultimatums, and unacceptable behavior in closed sessions, but the public knows, yes you know—as you’ve witnessed some of it for yourselves, in open session as well. I could sit here, and try to explain the volatility and stress, but I am choosing to forgive, heal, put it behind me, and move forward.

Even though I came prepared for meetings, did my homework, and voted my conscience, I am frustrated that I was not able to come up with a solution to make our board “rise to the occasion.” The reality is… we were a dysfunctional board, and from the bottom of my heart, I apologize to those individuals who were caught in the crossfire, especially and most important of all…our children.

Moving forward for me actually means GOING BACK….BACK to enjoying Monday nights again, BACK to my favorite roles: as a mom, volunteer, PFE member, and I continue to honor my niece Colleen O’Sullivan by my advocacy work with AEDs, oh, and I also have a full-time job, so don’t worry I won’t be bored!

TODAY IS A NEW DAY—I would like to wish the newly elected school board members the very best. I no longer have to wonder what could be, because it now CAN BE! Please keep in mind that PROBLEMS are mistakes we CHOOSE to ignore.

And I leave you with a quote that sums up my four years on the board, and hopefully it will inspire the new board:

Marcus Aurelius (last of the Five Good Emperors of the Roman Emperor) said, “If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.”

Thank you!

Words to live by.  Thank you to Lynne and Mary Bragg for their tireless efforts to do what was best for the kids.  From one parent to another, your hard work and attempt to do what was right did NOT go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated.  You may not have had the majority vote at that table, but you have the majority appreciation of this grateful community.

See you around town!

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