1/13/22

What You Wish You’d Known Before Moving to Chicago


Are you considering relocating to Chicago? The third-largest city in terms of population in the United States, Chicago is an excellent location for anyone who wants to live in a global-standard metropolitan city. Richer in history than Los Angeles and cleaner than New York, this "Third-Coast" city is brimming with culture, historic neighborhoods, and Michelin-starred restaurants. 

 

A majority of Chicago residents have roots going back several generations. However, the place equally welcomes newcomers with open arms. From the rich cultural scene to waterfront restaurants and abundance of recreational activities, it is easy to fall in love with the Windy City.

However, there is more to becoming a Chicago resident than you anticipate. Whether you are moving to Chicago with your family or entering the city for a job, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Getting Around

 

Regardless of the city you are relocating to, perhaps the first thing you should learn is how to move around the city. Owning a car will quickly wear you out due to unfavorable gridlocks that will take up a lot of time in the morning and evening, high parking charges, and stressful parking rules.

On the other hand, commuting is much easier. The Chicago Transport Authority offers convenient ways for residents to get to almost every part of the city — this includes trains and buses moving on specific tracks. Nonetheless, make sure you know your route and be prepared for delayed departure and arrival times, but the fares are fairly cheap.

 

Winter in Chicago Is One of the Coldest 


Winters are very cold in Chicago, especially with the renowned bone-chilling wind. It gets so cold that the schools here close for chilly and snow days because it can be dangerous for students outside. So, when you plan to relocate to Chicago, make sure you go prepared for the sub zero winters.

Put extra consideration into dressing appropriately. A heavy coat and a winter hat aren't going to keep you safe from the weather. So, dress in layers and wear waterproof boots. Additionally, if you own a vehicle, keep jumper cables, gloves, shovels, a snow brush on hand for times of need. An umbrella with wind vents is also necessary.


Chicago Neighborhoods Are Diverse


Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods. If you are into sports and beer gardens, you would want to check out the southside neighborhoods like Lincoln Parks or Lakeview. On the other hand, the northside offers a more urban experience. Similarly, the Ukrainian Village and Logan Square are ideal for people who are into live music and dive bars. Aspiring foodies should check out the Near West Side.

Before you move to Chicago, you will have to figure out which neighborhood you wish to live in. The locality you choose will depend on your lifestyle, whether you want a permanent residence or a place to rent, and your budget. Your funds will also determine whether you share an apartment with someone to cut expenses.


You'll Wish You Lived Close to a Grocery Store


Another thing you should be concerned about is the proximity to a grocery store. While there is an endless array of restaurant options in Chicago, you don't want to end up spending most of your earnings on the delivery of food items.

Instead, you want to make it as easy as possible to stock your pantry. Apps like Instacart make it easier for Chicagoans to purchase groceries even if they lack grocery access.


Renting Is Preferred to Buying


Whether you are moving with your family into a forever home or looking for a single, temporary residence, it is more ideal to rent than buy in Chicago. Compared to the west coast and east coast, Chicago probably has one of the best housing market bargains in North America. Chicago's median home value was estimated to be $285,579 in 2018. But this figure has increased by 7.9 percent between January 2020 and February 2020.

Chicago can also be referred to as the renter's city since the cost of making actual purchases within the city limits can be pretty high. Currently, the median home price is around $330,350. However, if you plan to rent in Chicago, you would be surprised to know that the median price for a home listing is $1,635. The median rental cost in Chicago is just $166 above the national average rent of $1,469.

Welcome to the Windy City


Chicago is a welcoming city. It won't take long for you to feel all the love it has to offer. Chances are you will be getting a tattoo of the Chicago flag, drinking malort shots, and complaining about politics like a local soon.

Regardless of where you are moving to, odds are you don't want unwanted guests creeping and crawling all over your new place. Enlist the help of a professional through pest control chicago services to handle any pest problems before moving into a new house.

 


1/12/22

Sons of Thunder: Redemption Series Coming to Pure Flix


In anticipation of the upcoming release of Sons of Thunder: Redemption on PureFlix, I had the opportunity to both learn more about this upcoming spin off and the original Sons of Thunder which viewers came to love.  I have spent the last few days catching up on the original Sons of Thunder and I am really looking forward to the release of Sons of Thunder:  Redemption on January 13th!
 


Catch up on the original Sons of Thunder if you missed it!

 

Combat vet Simon motorcycles across the country, working odd jobs, helping those God puts in his path, and trying to atone for past sins in a biker club.

 

Through the episodes of Season 1, viewers will follow Simon's journey as he shares his interactions and experiences with a variety of people encountered during his travels.  With each episode, viewers learn a little more about the life Simon chose to leave behind while trusting God to lead him forward.  

 

I found myself drawn to Simon as he sought help those around him with his wisdom and faith. I looked forward to learning more about Simon's past through the episodes while watching him encourage others to make amends and work through challenges with Bible based guidance.  

 

Watch the Original Sons of Thunder Trailer

 


 

Check out the Sons of Thunder: Redemption!

 

This week, Pure Flix releases “Sons of Thunder” franchise: “Sons of Thunder: Redemption,” a spinoff show that follows another former member of the Devil’s Hand who is righting wrongs and spreading the love of Jesus.

 

This new show follows Jacob, fresh out of prison for crimes he committed for the biker club. But his stint behind bars was freeing for his soul because of an encounter with fan-favorite, Simon.

 


Be sure to look for it on Pure Flix on January 13th!

 

 

ABOUT PURE FLIX:

Pure Flix is the leading faith and family-friendly streaming video-on-demand service. With thousands of God-honoring and inspiring movies and shows, you can Have Faith In Your Entertainment again.

 

Pure Flix was founded in 2005 by Michael Scott, David A.R. White, and Russell Wolfe. The company initially started as a film studio behind breakout theatrical hits like “God’s Not Dead,” “The Case for Christ,” and “Do You Believe?” and launched its streaming platform in 2014. In late 2020, Pure Flix the streaming service became part of AFFIRM Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with a mission to stream God-honoring stories to a new generation through inspiring and faith-affirming TV shows, movies and original series.


Happenstance Farms: A New Home Children's Book Review and Book Tour Giveaway


I love finding new children's books--especially ones that may offer families an entertaining way to learn a lesson or discuss a difficult topic. Today, I have an adorable children's book that follows a little girl as she adapts to a change in her life and faces learning about a new riding farm and making new friends. Learn about Hanstance Farms: A New Home, read my thoughts on the book, learn about author S. McMichael and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title: Happenstance Farms: A New Home by S. McMichael
Category:  Children's Fictions (ages 3-7), 32 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Ek-9 Solutions & Services, LLC
Release date:   January 2022
Content Rating:  G -Suitable for everyone.
 

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  

 
 
About the Book


​Change can be difficult, especially for Savanna. When she gets a new trainer at a new barn, she can't help thinking about how much she'll miss Colts & Company. More than that...she's a little scared. What will happen when Savanna swallows her fear and takes a chance on Happenstance Farms?

A fun, relatable story about a girl and her pony, your child will love keeping up with the adventures at Happenstance Farms. With charming characters, lots of laughs, and social-emotional learning, this book is the perfect addition to any home or classroom library.

 

My Review

Excellent Book For Children Facing New Experiences. Change is challenging--and a little scary sometimes--no matter your age. Readers will love Savanna and her story as she worries a bit about changing to a new riding teacher and a new farm away from her old friends and familiar surroundings. The author gives readers a wonderful book for children facing new places or situations of their own with lovely illustrations and relatable pages.​

 

Happenstance Farms: A New Home is Perfect for Animal Lovers. Savanna loves her horse--and makes a new friend in farm puppy Eli. This book is the perfect reminder of the bonds between humans and animals, especially when fearful or worried about an upcoming change. 

 

Would I Recommend Happenstance Farms: A New Home by S. McMichael? The author introduces readers to the Happenstance Farms series and characters in this book--and it is a perfect blend of setting and characters to create future relatable life lessons for children and families to enjoy. I definitely recommend the book to families with children facing fears or worries about a new school or new activities--or for horse and animal lovers seeking a simple story with a positive message.

 

 Buy the Book
   

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

 

Meet the Author

McMichael serves as the Senior Manager and Information Technology Business Partner for Training Solutions and Global Training Systems & Services in Boeing Global Services. She is a disabled veteran with more than 16 years of domestic and international experience in air traffic management and operations.  

McMichael holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s certificate in project management, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Southern Illinois University.  
 
She is a recipient of The Boeing Company CTO Technical Excellence Award, Women of Color in Technology “Rising Star” award, U.S. Air Force Air Traffic Training Achievement Award, and the International William A. Parenteau Memorial Award from the Air Traffic Control Association.  McMichael serves on the Advisory Board of SSM St. Charles Health Center, and the Missouri Hunter Jumper Organization board.
 
 

Enter the Giveaway

HAPPENSTANCE FARMS: A NEW HOME Book Tour Giveaway


 

Private vs. Public School: What Are the Factors to Look Out For?


It's important to weigh the pros and cons of where your children will receive their education because it can substantially impact their future. Public schools and private schools each offer different benefits and challenges.

 


 

Private schools aim to provide education accessible only to those who can afford it. For this reason, the tuition fees required for attending such schools are usually expensive. These institutions may sometimes receive financial aid from government grants to make tuition rates more affordable.

 

On the other hand, public schools aim to provide education equally accessible to all children, regardless of their backgrounds or financial situations. These schools are funded through both private and public means.

 

Knowing the key differences between both types of schools will allow you to make an informed decision about your child's future. Consider the following factors to help you make the right choice.

Admission Requirements

Private schools often have stricter admissions requirements than public schools. These may include higher grades, additional tests such as SAT or ISEE, and others. Public school admission requirements are rarely this demanding because they aim to include all students.

 

Of course, this is within good reason. For instance, most British School admissions in foreign countries are highly competitive because they are renowned for excellent quality education. And this makes perfect sense since getting into a good school can make or break a child's future.

Staffing

When it comes to staffing, public schools tend to have larger classes than private ones because they lack sufficient funding for hiring more teachers. This means that students may receive less attention from their instructors. Private schools, on the other hand, offer smaller classes.

 

This allows for more individualized attention for students. Moreover, they are also equipped with useful facilities like science laboratories and libraries to support their instructional programs. That's why private school students tend to have higher grades than public school students.

Class Size

Between public and private schools, small class sizes are more common in private schools. This is beneficial because students receive more attention from their instructors. Private universities also offer better opportunities for students to make friends with other classmates due to smaller ratios.

 

Consequently, this also results in fewer distractions because students are focused on their studies. As for public schools, since their student population is much larger, it's difficult for them to accommodate small class sizes. This likely implies that public school students are less engaged in their studies - resulting in lower grades than those from private schools.

Education Standards and Curriculum

Private schools typically have higher education standards and more dedicated instructors compared to public schools. The curriculum and lessons of private schools also tend to be more challenging, which prepares students for their future careers ahead.

 

Public schools offer a "just-enough" education that allows easier access for children from different backgrounds; however, this comes at the cost of lowered education standards and less effective teaching strategies. But this doesn't mean that public schools don't have their benefits because they are often more affordable than private schools.

Tuition Fees

The amount of money required to attend a private school is usually much higher than the amount needed to pay for a public school. This can be quite problematic for parents with limited means; however, the benefits of private school education are usually worth its high price tag.

 

The tuition fees are the main drawback of attending a private school. Children with lower grades may find it difficult to receive admission into such institutions because they require high levels of excellence in all areas. Still, the benefits received once inside are usually well worth the tuition fees.

Safety and Discipline

Private schools often have stricter rules regarding student behavior than public schools; however, the latter tend to be more lenient when approving students for enrollment because they lack the funds and resources required to make admission criteria stricter.

 

Private schools offer a better learning environment; however, disciplinary rules in such institutions are usually quite strict. Students cannot easily break the rules, or else they will face punishment. On the other hand, public schools usually have a more lenient disciplinary system in place because they cannot afford to lose their students.

 

Ultimately, it is important to make an informed decision about where you want your child to receive their education. Because the kind of school they will attend will substantially impact their future, it is vital to consider all the facts about both public and private schools. By knowing the differences between them, you can choose what will benefit your children in the long run.

1/11/22

New Animated Series Spotlight: A Show About Anthem Lights Coming to Pure Flix


Fans of Christian band Anthem Lights have something pretty exciting coming up this week--the release of a new animated show for kids and adults launching on Pure Flix!  If you aren't a fan of Anthem Lights yet--let me share a little about what we love about the band and their upcoming animated venture--and let you know where to watch this new animated show!



What is “A Show About Anthem Lights”?

 

Get ready to laugh and sing with the new animated series “A Show About Anthem Lights,” premiering exclusively on Pure Flix on January 12, 2022. A Show About Anthem Lights" is a 20-episode animated show featuring the characters of the band, Anthem Lights. Featuring the voices of the actual band mates, this new show is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor about the everyday life of being a Christian in a celebrity band. Adults and kids of all ages will be laughing through each episode. AFFIRM Films, the studio behind the animated film “The Star,” has helped bring the vision of creator and director Rob Hawkins to life.

The show is exactly what the title implies – an animated series depicting the Christian band, Anthem Lights, as they go about everyday activities navigating the ups and downs of life in a boy band ... all while singing about it!

“This show, in many ways, is a love letter to our fans and we think they are going to appreciate it as much as we appreciate them,” said band member Caleb Grimm. “We think it’s authentically funny and the music and stories will appeal to a wide range of people who may not be familiar with our music … yet.”

 

 
 
WHO IS THE CHRISTIAN BAND ANTHEM LIGHTS?

Anthem Lights is an American Christian group formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007. The band started as a solo project for the vocalist Chad Graham. He and Alan Powell were writing music for the project when they thought the songs would be better performed by a group. They came together with vocalists Kyle Kupecky and Caleb Grimm and formed the band Yellow Cavalier releasing one self-titled EP in 2009 before changing the name to Anthem Lights. 
 
If you have not yet listened to Anthem Lights--take a few minutes and check out their website for links to their music!  My favorite Anthem Lights songs?  I love their traditional hymns and worship music,  while the rest of the family loves their cover albums and original music like Automatic Love and the Dear Evan Hansen Medley!
 




 
Learn More About Anthem Lights
Excited to watch the new animated series A Show About Anthem Lights?
 
I love finding fun new shows that the family can enjoy together! Be sure to tune into Pure Flix on January 12th for the first episode! Your family is sure to enjoy it!

To get a special preview of an episode of A Show About Anthem Lights and or start your free trial to Pure Flix, visit: PureFlix.com/AnthemLights.

ABOUT PURE FLIX 

Pure Flix is the leading faith and family-friendly streaming video-on-demand service. With thousands of God-honoring and inspiring movies and shows, you can Have Faith In Your Entertainment again.

Pure Flix was founded in 2005 by Michael Scott, David A.R. White, and Russell Wolfe. The company initially started as a film studio behind breakout theatrical hits like “God’s Not Dead,” “The Case for Christ,” and “Do You Believe?” and launched its streaming platform in 2014. In late 2020, Pure Flix the streaming service became part of AFFIRM Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with a mission to stream God-honoring stories to a new generation through inspiring and faith-affirming TV shows, movies and original series.

 

ABOUT AFFIRM ENTERTAINMENT

AFFIRM Entertainment, Inc. is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment which also owns AFFIRM Films and the recently launched AFFIRM Television. AFFIRM Films, launched in 2007, is an industry leader in faith-based/inspirational film with worldwide box office of over $580 million including such hits as "Soul Surfer," "War Room," "Risen," "Heaven Is For Real," "Miracles From Heaven," and most recently "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood" in partnership with TriStar Pictures. AFFIRM produces, acquires and markets content that inspires, uplifts and entertains audiences around the world focusing on family, faith, and inspirational film and television series content. Sony Pictures Entertainment is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.


 

1/7/22

Sometimes When I'm Sad Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway


I love discovering children's book series that help families tackle difficult subjects or developmental milestones! Today, I have another book from Deborah Serani that looks at emotions and mental health in children. Learn about Sometimes When I'm Sad, read my thoughts on the book and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.  Yesterday, I shared Sometimes When I'm Mad from the author as well--so check out that review if you missed it!

 

Book Title:  Sometimes When I'm Sad by Deborah Serani
Category:  Children's Non-Fiction (Ages 3-7)
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Free Spirit Publishing, 40 pages
Release date:   April 2020
Content Rating:  G.  Rated G.


About the Book

"Sometimes When I'm Sad" is a sensitive and supportive story to help young children recognize and cope with sadness. Written by psychologist, Deborah Serani, Psy.D. and illustrated by Kyra Teis, this award-winning children's book is also an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, caregivers and other mental health professionals. "Sometimes When I'm Sad" has been endorsed by Jo Frost, The Supernanny and pediatric depression expert ,Dr. Joan Luby.
 
 
My Review

​​ 

Sometimes When I'm Sad is For Grown-Ups Too! Just like Sometimes When I'm Mad--the author writes this book in a way that makes it very useful as a read-along for children and caregivers. Emotions are confusing and difficult to navigate for children still learning and developing. The author tackles sadness and depression in this children's book in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand fashion for children. While the author presents the realities of unhappiness in children, she gives some beneficial coping techniques and management strategies for both children and caregivers as well. The book shares tips and techniques so that parents and caregivers can use the book and its ideas to support children facing feelings of sadness--whether temporary or prolonged. The book ends with a few pages of very valuable resources for parents and caregivers seeking to understand sadness and depression and to offer some remedies in children from baby through middle school-aged. 

 

Sometimes When I'm Sad Offers the Perfect Conversation Starter for Families. The book follows a young boy facing feelings of sadness ."Children and caregivers will easily relate to the pages of this book and will be able to talk about the feelings, actions, and suggestions offered on each page. The author provides readers and caregivers with many insights and information to consider with simple text and illustrations.  


Would I Recommend Sometimes When I'm Sad by Deborah Serani? As a childI often remember hearing grown-ups say--"What does a kid have to be sad about?" Sadness and depression in children was, and is, a valid concern and a reality for many today. Books like this serve to support children and families as both learn to navigate changing views on mental health. I loved the author's writing style and presentation as she shared her professional knowledge in a simple, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-use manner for families with young children. While the book is a children's book--the author offers many resources for families and caregivers and tips for seeking professional mental health support.  

 

As with Sometimes When I'm Mad, I would recommend this book for families with young children seeking to support the child's emotional development better. The book is also valuable to families already working with a counselor. The book gives some helpful conversation starters, coping ideas, and resources that can further support their efforts or help them reinforce some of the "assignments" that counselors give during sessions.

 
 
Buy the Book
 
 
Also Available from Dr. Deborah Serani:


Book Title:  Sometimes When I'm Mad by Deborah Serani
Category:  Children's Non-Fiction (Ages 3-7)
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Free Spirit Publishing, 40 pages
Release date:   January 2022
Content Rating:  G.  Rated G.
 

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.  

 
 
About the Book

​​
Award-winning author and psychologist Dr. Deborah Serani and illustrator Kyra Teis team up again for a companion to "Sometimes When I’m Sad" that tackles the difficult feeling of anger. "Sometimes When I'm Mad" describes a child's experience with anger and the many ways it can surface, along with ways children - and adults who love them - can use anger management techniques.
 
 


Buy the Book
 
 
 
Meet the Author

Deborah Serani, Psy.D. is psychologist in practice over 30 years. She is also a senior professor at Adelphi University and has been published in academic journals on many psychological subjects. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found at ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post and USA Today, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is also a TEDx speaker and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Serani has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - where a recurring character, Judge D. Serani, was named for her. Dr. Serani is an award-winning author, writing about psychological topics in many genres.

Connect with the author:  ​​website ~twitter ~ facebook ~ goodreads
 

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