Hi friends!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed all of the birthday festivities. It was my step-daughters 13th birthday! She is officially a teen…and the quintessential 13 going on 30. Becoming a teen is a big birthday in our eyes.  So, we wanted to make it extra special. The first part of that was letting her invite 2 of her best friends. What would a “teenage” birthday be like without your besties to share it with, right? And let’s not forget, I was a teenager once. 

Trent picked up the girls on Friday night from Indiana and made the drive back to Chicago. Upon arrival, the girls were greeted with dog kisses from Dakota, hugs from me, and lots of junk food. We made (by making I mean we put in the oven) all my favorites from my teen years: bagel bites, mozzarella cheese sticks, chicken fingers and chips on chips. We also popped popcorn and had some yummy choices of candy.

I put together little gift bags for the girls with matching pajamas, face masks, bath bombs and nail polish. Once the girls got into PJ’s, we played a couple of games, and then we did what any good parents do…left them alone. LOL! We were asleep by 10pm and apparently so were they. HA!

Saturday morning came and it was time to set up for Madelynn’s “Pancakes and Pajamas” birthday party. If you didn’t already know, I LOVE PARTY PLANNING! With this theme, I asked everyone to wear cute PJ’s.

The menu included pancakes, Stan’s Donuts, a crust-less quiche, bacon, sausage, cereal and a rice crispy treat cake (Maddie doesn’t like cake and LOVES rice crispy treats). We had mimosas for the grown-ups and OJ or milk for the teens.

The décor was super fun and festive. I ordered these cute milk bottles and added the straws with powdered donut details. The balloons included the large “13” and some pastels. I decorated the bar cart with some garland and the table with some pink pinwheel decorations.

Chicago Lifestyle Blogger | Maddie's 13th Birthday | by Melanie Coy

I invited a few of our Chicago friends who have become family to all of us. I think the girls thought that the adults were crazy and embarrassing, which cracks me up. I’d like to think I am still “cool” but I guess that ship is sailing away. HA! After food, cake and presents we said our “thank you’s” and “goodbyes” because we had to get ready for our next activity.

What was that you ask??? A photo scavenger hunt of some of Chicago’s must see spots. We gave the girls a clue and they had to figure it out without using their phone. We would then go to that spot and get some cute pics. It was a really fun way to see a lot of Chicago in a short amount of time.

Here are the clues…can YOU guess the landmarks?

  • This iconic landmark near the lake is meant to embody the concept of water and the lake.  Its design is based off a similar one of these at the French Palace of Versailles.
  • This location sits over a passenger rail station, and it is most famous as a location to admire one’s reflection.
  • Two large kitties stand watch at this location keeping would be “cat burglars” at bay.
  • Let’s go have a snack.  This location draws folks in off the street with its sweet and savory smells.  Let’s hope there isn’t a line. 
  • The second largest building in Chicago sits alongside this waterway that is famously dyed green each March.
  • This location takes its name from a well-known gentleman from our early history who is known for the gravitas of his signature, and it anchors the northern end of the magnificent mile.
  • Come here and get up close to attractions from all over the world.  This location is commemorative of our 16th President who succeeded President James Buchanan.
  • New York City goes down below the street, and believe it or not, so does Chicago at some points.  But, this iconic attraction is best known for its elevation.
  • This location is known for its ivy walls and the 7th inning stretch.


Once we wrapped up, we went home for some downtime and to get ready for dinner at the Sugar Factory in River North.

Ok, I do not recommend this restaurant. I would say that everything else was pretty much perfect throughout the weekend apart from the Sugar Factory. The service, food and overall experience gets an “F”. I do think despite this, the girls still had a great time. They did put a sparkler in Maddie’s dessert, but other than that, it was awful. We will not be going back….ever.

After dinner, the birthday fun got back on track with Comedy Sports Improv at CSz Theater Chicago. This show was great. Maddie was invited on stage to perform and had a happy birthday song sung to her by the improv actors. I think it was really special. Seeing improv is one of her favorite things when she visits us. And don’t worry, it was all PG and clean for the kiddies. In fact, if anyone got close to or said something inappropriate, they were brown bagged. This meant they had to wear a brown bag over their head for a portion on the show. Truly hilarious! 

Sunday came so fast; too fast. That morning we let the girls sleep in a bit. Once up, we all got ready and headed to Crosby’s Kitchen for brunch. The monkey bread, a favorite of Maddie’s, was a huge hit. Once we were filled up and the check was paid, Maddie showed her friends her Southport shopping stomping grounds. An hour later, it was time to pack up and head out. Back to Indiana we all went for the always sad drop off. 

I must say, it was an amazing weekend. Once we and we hope Maddie, will never forget. Oh, and a quick shout out to Kristen for being our family photographer and being the best honorary auntie ever. We love you!

With Love, Melanie