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Step right up: County Fairs roll in for old-fashioned summer fun

If you want to see a real live cow, or watch a pig race, or see cars smash up each other, there’s no place like the county fair. There are several county fairs that hearken back to the state’s agricultural roots. Here’s a look at …

ORANGE CRUSH — Your guide to area pumpkin picking adventures


Fall is here and it’s time for pumpkins

UniverSoul Circus aims to move the spirit in everyone


The UniverSoul Circus has returned to Chicago with performances at Washington Park and Union Park.

Worth The Trek ­— Portage Park


There’s a summer playground featuring history, greenery and a few different ways to keep cool where the No. 80 Irving Park bus and No. 85 Central Avenue bus converge.

At Irving Park and Central, take a dip into the heart of the Portage Park neighborhood, …

University of Chicago study: One-third of recent marriages began online

More than a third of recent marriages nationwide began online, according to a new University of Chicago study that was paid for by a dating website.

‘Hands-free’ parenting

Blogger Rachel Macy Stafford ( shared some tips for parenting “hands free”: • Create a barrier between you and your device. “Actually putting these items out of sight was a huge help for me,” she said. • Take the apps off your phone. “A lot …

‘Hands Free Mama’ message: Parents, put down that cellphone


Alabama blogger, a mother of two, says her texting and posting and picture-taking was taking her away from important family moments.

Books for younger set celebrate snow

Here are six delightful early toddler through kindergarten picture books that use snow as a prop or the star of the story.

Parents aren’t unhappier, studies find

Having kids may not make us miserable after all. The findings of two new studies suggest that parents today might, in fact, be happier than non-parents.

Study: When parents split, preschoolers show behavior problems

Kids whose parents split up when they were preschoolers have increased behavior problems, according to new research that suggests the timing of such breakups has long-term effects. The study by University of Chicago and Georgetown researchers found that such disruption — particularly in a child’s first three years but probably until they’re as old as 5 — “more strongly influences children’s development than changes later in childhood,” and those influences “seem to have negative effects on children’s behavior.”

New, faster drug to challenge Viagra, others

Consumers will soon be hearing a lot about a new drug to handle erectile dysfunction — the first new pill for the condition in a decade. This one — to be sold under the brand name Stendra — starts working in about 15 minutes, versus 30 to 60 minutes for Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.

Ways to get your kids to exercise


It should not come as news that the current childhood obesity problem continues to (pardon the pun) expand. On average, almost a third of children in the U.S. are overweight, many with Type 2 diabetes putting them in line for developing life-threatening diseases as they get older. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s organization, “Let’s Move!,” which was created to fight childhood obesity, you also can get your child moving onto a healthy path with some of these tips.

Puzzles help young kids develop math skills: study


Want to improve your child’s chances of going into a career in science, technology or engineering? Giving a child puzzles to play with between 2 and 4 years old might help, a University of Chicago study suggests.

Fun ways to get kids interested in reading


Learning to enjoy reading at an early age gives your child a jumpstart on her education, but schoolwork should not be the only reason to raise an eager reader. Enjoyment of reading is an important puzzle piece to a fulfilled life.

New book a guide to turning children into healthy little eaters


The Cleaner Plate Club is a must-read for parents of picky eaters. It comes with lots of information, a witty sense of humor, and even an any-mistake-you-made-we-made-it-too attitude.

Top 6 tips on how to get the family eating better


The Cleaner Plate Club author Ali Benjamin tells you how to get your kids on the road to healthy eating.