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Pioneer Press Article

The Press wrote a wonderful article about Kidwinks.com

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Pioneer Press Article

  1. 1. Park Ridge parents launch where-to-go-with-kids Web site Comments July 16, 2009 By WYNN KOEBEL FOSTER wfoster@pioneerlocal.com In the annals of child rearing, there are heroes. Consider Frank Epperson, who was 11 years old when he accidentally created the Popsicle in 1905. Or, with apologies to environmentalists, what about Marion Donovan, who invented the disposable diaper in the 1950s? And let's not forget the unheralded mastermind who molded the first pacifier. Or cousins Edwin Binney and Harold Smith who, in 1903, began selling eight-piece boxes of their new invention -- Crayola crayons. » Click to enlarge image Eight-year-old Emma Lemke and her 6-year-old sister, Anna, of Park Ridge, wait their turn behind 5-year-old Madeline Goldberg, of Glenview, who visits a snake at River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook. (Michelle LaVigne/Staff Photographer) » Click to enlarge image Northbrook's River Trail Nature Center interpretive naturalist Ryan DePauw shows a barred owl to 6-year-old Anna, 8-year-old Emma and their mother, Jean Lemke, along with 10-year-old Dylan and 7-year-old Tyler Estrada, with their mother Nina Taluc, all of Park Ridge. Taluc and Lemke have created kidwinks.com, a Web site that lists activities and destinations for children in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. (Michelle LaVigne/Staff Photographer) » Click to enlarge image
  2. 2. Nina Taluc and her sons, 10-year-old Dylan and 7-year-old Tyler Estrada, along with 6-year-old Anna Lemke, all of Park Ridge, touch a skunk held by interpretive naturalist Ryan DaPauw at River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook. Taluc, along with Jean Lemke, have created kidwinks.com, a Web site that lists activities and destinations for children in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The Nature Center is one of their favorite spots to visit. (Michelle LaVigne/Staff Photographer) To those hall-of-fame shoo-ins, add the names of Park Ridge moms Jean Lemke and Nina Taluc. They've created kidwinks.com, a Web site that lists just about everything parents can do with their kids in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond. Their site is easy to navigate, comprehensive and free. "The Web site was Nina's idea," said Lemke. "She's the creative genius." Taluc and Lemke met nine years ago through the Park Ridge Newcomers club. Lemke's expertise is programming, computer auditing and finance; Taluc's, statistical data analysis. They started working on kidwinks.com in 2005. By March 2008, they had the site up and running. Problem solvers "Moms are overwhelmed trying to manage their households, work schedules, family calendars and more," Taluc said. "We've given them all the information they need to be the cool moms on the block who plan the best family outings this summer -- no matter what their budgets are." Lemke and her husband, Joe, have two daughters -- Emma, 8, and Anna, 6. Taluc and her husband, David Estrada, have two sons -- Dylan Estrada, 10, and Tyler Estrada, 7. In creating kidwinks.com, they were filling a need in their own lives. "Before, when we actually found event listings, the descriptions were usually pretty limited," Taluc explained. Not so on kidwinks.com. Links to the attractions' Web sites are provided. Events and venues are described in detail and often reviewed. Members who contribute reviews are eligible for drawings for free merchandise and event admissions. Everyone can use kidwinks.com coupons. Those who join the site, free of charge, can take advantage of additional perks -- free e-mail reminders of events and the site's free weekly e-newsletter. Members who supply their street addresses will find they can sort listings by distance from
  3. 3. their homes, too. And maps to many attractions are provided, courtesy of links to Google. Low cost, no cost Kidwinks.com may be particularly attractive during the current recession -- when children's "We're bored" collides squarely with parents' "We're broke." A hefty percentage of the site's listings are low-cost or free. Members can sort listings by cost. "Our kids really love the River Trail Nature Center, in Northbrook," said Lemke. "If you're there around 2:30 or 3 p.m., you can watch the naturalists feed the animals. It's all free." During the first week in August, for example, kidwinks.com lists 317 events, 164 of which are free. Also for the first week in August, the site lists 436 area restaurants, 97 of which offer free or low cost ($1.99 or cheaper) children's meals. "And we list restaurant parents will actually enjoy," Taluc said. Click on a site calendar for all of the attractions available on a specific date. Or click, for example, on Ongoing Activities. View them all or browse by category -- Animals (20 activities); Groups and Clubs (196); Indoor Activities (219); Kids' Crafts (20); Landmarks (13); Museums (107); Outdoor Kids' Activities (296); Religion (4); Seasonal Kids' Activities (292); Sightseeing and Tours (19); Kids' Sports (146); and Mini Vacations (6). Check kidwinks.com's featured Ongoing Activities listings, too: Top 10 Most Viewed of the Week; Top 10 Highest Rated of the Week; Upcoming Events; and What's New. Icons on the site identify Kidwinks' picks, coupons, dining deals, restaurants, ongoing activities, shopping, services and events. Major listings categories include: Ongoing Activities, Events, Restaurants, Shopping and Services. Each is subdivided. For example, the Restaurants category is broken up by Service Type (701 listings), Meals Served (1,332), Seasonal (42) and Cuisine (1,530). For parents planning children's parties, kidwinks.com offers plenty of help under Services: Kids' Party (203 listings), Catering (16), Entertainers (31), Inflatables (24), Places to Party (109), Party Favors (5) and Party Planners (18). Riding the rails And kidwinks.com is a work in progress, too. Lemke and Taluc's newest feature touts short day trips on Metra. What child doesn't love trains? they ask. Those who get off at the Park Ridge station will find lots to do within walking distance, they say. Suggested activities include a stop at the Park Ridge Public
  4. 4. Library's Children's Department, a movie at the historic Pickwick Theater, mother/daughter manicures at Jackie's Nails and a visit to the farmers' market on Saturday mornings from May 23 through Oct. 31. Food choices include Tasty Pup; Maki Sushi, which offers a children's menu; and Jason's Deli, where kids eat free on Mondays. Sweet treats are available at Fannie May, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Baked by Betsy and, during summer, at Lisa's Italian Ice. Suggested shopping destinations include New Prospects, 2 Sisters and Hill's Hallmark.

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The Press wrote a wonderful article about Kidwinks.com

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