Saturday, November 30, 2013

Celebrating Small Business Saturday with our Favorite Small Businesses!

Find treasures at Small Businesses like PrimaTea!
If you have been reading for awhile, you know that we love to highlight small businesses. Since today is Small Business Saturday, I thought that we would highlight some of our favorite small businesses that we learned about this year.

Small Businesses truly add special moments to our lives and give us something beyond what more traditional businesses do. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of visiting mom and pops with my grandparents. During our summer visits, we would walk to their town's downtown and visit the dime store, local department store (a chain in a few rural Wisconsin towns) and the town's pharmacy. Do I have particularly fond memories of more commercial ventures--not so much. But, mom and pops have provided many special moments that I will not forget!

This past year, we have had the pleasure of exploring many small businesses either by trying a product or by visiting with the owner. Here is a look:

We began this year with a quaint family baking session with Coggie's Cookies! Coggie's has taken out the guess work of putting together a great cookie recipe. However, you can still capture the moments of baking with your little ones using Coggie's! Read our review of Coggie's to learn about this special cookie mix!


During our adventures, we had the pleasure of visiting Curt's Cafe in Evanston. Curt's is a very comfortable cafe complete with nice, comfy couches! Curt's, though, is much more than a place for a bite. Owner Susan Trieschmann has created a warm foundation for at risk youth. At Curt's, at risk youth can learn important food service and life skills that can help them succeed in future jobs. Curt's is definitely worth a visit!

The South Bend Chocolate Company has been a longtime favorite of ours! Their chocolate always reminds me of old fashioned creations rather than the mass produced chocolates we find at the store. The South Bend Chocolate Company Stores often have other treats like decadent cakes, delectable chocolate drinks and more! I also love that there are fully loaded candy counters at some of the Indiana Rest Areas! Pretty cool! You can read about The South Bend Chocolate Company here.

Speaking of chocolate, we are fortunate to have the Long Grove Confectionery virtually in our backyard! This past spring, we were able to channel our inner Willy Wonka's and take a nice tour of the factory! The tour was very well done and we were given a little treat at the end! Plus, the factory store is stacked with wonderful confections, so who can't resist bring something home! Take a minute to read about our tour.

Need to keep the kiddos {or yourself} busy? American Science & Surplus is a store full of wonderment and learning. It can truly be a treasure trove any time of year. However, this time of year it may be advantageous to grab some science fun for the winter break ahead! Read about this fascinating store.

We also took a peek into the Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School. This bastion of creativity and artistry is tucked away in the suburb of Wheeling. For anyone interested in creating their own jewelry, this is definitely the place to go. They have an amazing array of classes to choose from. Take a look inside.

Nestled with the jewelry school is PrimaTea, a nice spot for relaxation, introspection and learning. We sampled a tea class at PrimaTea and learned so much while relaxing! If you are in the mood for exploring tea, read about PrimaTea. PrimaTea and the Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary Art School has an Open House next week, December 7th--so check it out!

Elegant desserts at Barrington Country Bistro

The Barrington Country Bistro has become one of our favorite spots for an elegant, kids-free meal! Of course, who can say no to French dining! From beginning to end, you feel special and pampered. Plus, the food is well executed and will have you coming back for more!

This year, we had the pleasure of uncovering Arlington Heights with Yapa Events! Yapa Events creates family bonding events that highlight the treasures in Arlington Heights. Quite a novel idea that will provide families with cherished memories for years to come!

We also explored healing our bodies through shifting energy and working on strategies to heal from the inside out with Samana Jasper of Kidz N Moms. Samana has so many ways to help you and your family work on having the best health possible! Be sure to read about Samana.

Have you ever wanted to learn to draw? We tried the Monart method and were impressed by the results! Monart teaches you to break down drawing into more manageable pieces. Check out what we were able to do and get an inside look at Monart!

So, of course, we do have to finish this with something sweet! Recently, we learned about Xocai Healthy Chocolate. While the chocolate is healthy and has some unexpected benefits, it tastes great! If you are curious about Xocai, they do have tasting events or you could call Michelle for more information! Read about this delightful reason to eat chocolate!

We hope that you are all getting out this Small Business Saturday and shopping small!


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