Last year, Sarah Paddack, the mom behind Libertyville Area Moms, moved back to the Chicago suburb where she moved as a teenager to raise her family. “Libertyville is a wonderful mix of people who grew up here and moved back to raise a family and transplants who were drawn here for the schools, downtown and community,” says Sarah. Her site, part of The Local Moms Network, incorporates Libertyville as well as Vernon Hills and Mundelein. “Vernon Hills and Mundelein are bordering towns with similar draws and we all visit, shop and dine among the towns,” notes Sarah.
Sarah’s resume includes a degree in Management and Marketing from Purdue University in Indiana, as well as stints at JPMorgan Chase and Huron Consulting Group. Now, she works part time at Healthcare Marketing Consultants, while raising her 6-year-old boy ad 3-year-old girl—and, of course, running Libertyville Area Moms! “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring TLMN to the Libertyville Area! It is my dream job.” Here’s more about why Sarah decided to join The Local Moms Network, and inside tips for visitors to (or anyone thinking of relocating to) these sought after Chicago ‘burbs!
What drew you to this opportunity with The Local Moms Network?
I love putting the spotlight on local businesses and moms/parents and their career, passions, charity work or love for their town. I also love doing the research as the site curator to compile all of the resources, blog posts, and calendar to help save others time. I modeled the area covered after the local chamber of commerce GLMV which encompasses Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills.
From your site, it looks like there are plenty of places to eat out in the area. What are some of your go-tos?
Café Pomigliano in Libertyville serves delicious Italian classics. This is the former Trattoria Pomigliano restaurant that used to be located where the new Chrissoulas restaurant is (one I’m very excited to try!). My husband and I had our first date at Trattoria 10 years ago so it has history for us. We also celebrated our rehearsal dinner there three years later.
When we have the kiddos with us we love to visit Dos Amigos in Libertyville! Their Mexican cuisine is delicious and they conveniently also serve grilled cheese for those picky eaters. I’ve heard they are great at catering as well and plan to find out soon! We also love to visit Picnic Basket and grab food to go for a picnic in Cook Park. This restaurant has history for me as well since they were my first employer when I was in high school. I learned so much from this family.
On the weekends we go to Centre Club together as a family. The kids absolutely love going to Kidtown while my husband and I work out. Then it’s our tradition to get smoothies and snacks together in the Café afterwards. At times, it’s not the most relaxing or easy to dine with young children so we’re always on the hunt for places who make that experience easier. We’ve found that we love to go out to breakfast as a family since it can be quicker and has so many options kids love to eat. Our favorites are Townee Square Restaurant in Libertyville and Gardenberry in Vernon Hills, both of which have Mickey Mouse pancakes!
Where do you have friends/family stay if not at your house?
If we have friends or family staying nearby we recommend the Holiday Inn in Libertyville near Independence Grove, The DoubleTree in Mundelein or Hotel Indigo in Vernon Hills. We also suggest the Hampton Inn and Marriott in Lincolnshire. The Hampton Inn is near the movie theater, Wildfire, Big Bowl and Viper Alley. The Marriott Lincolnshire also has the Marriott Theatre. If we are looking for a hotel in the city we enjoy The London House by Hilton and their amazing rooftop near the River Walk. We also love the Midtown Athletic Club Hotel near Bucktown and Lincoln Park for a unique experience of a hotel with restaurants and spa but also tennis, group exercise, swimming, tennis and golf simulator!
What’s your favorite spot for drinks?
We don’t get out for drinks as much as we used to these days! But if we do there are so many great options in the area. We’ve celebrated many occasions in the old location of Mickey Finn’s upstairs and love the new O’Toole’s as well. Plus of course the new Mickey Finn’s! Firkin has great ambiance at the bar. When out with girlfriends we like to order the Frambois. If we are in Mundelein, I love the atmosphere in Park Street Craft Kitchen and Bar. There is a nice patio as well. In Vernon Hills, we have frequented Hitz many times over the years.
Where do you like to grab coffee?
Our local Starbucks in Libertyville is in the heart of downtown and I usually run into a familiar face. When I’m in a hurry and don’t want to get the kiddos in and out of the car, I love that Dunkin’ Donuts just north of downtown has a drive thru. The one on the far north end of town does too! And I of course love the local Hansa Coffee in it’s unique space in Libertyville and new location in Barbara’s bookstore in Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. I’ve been really wanting to try the coffee from Mundelein’s AREA General Store!
Do you have a favorite place to shop for the kids?
I love the neighborhood toy store Snickelfritz in Vernon Hills with it’s unique, educational toys. It is quite fun to visit from the child’s perspective as they enter through their own separate child-sized yellow door. They also offer birthday baskets where a child can come in and pick out items they’d like and store in a basket in the back of the store. When friends and family come to shop they can choose from these pre-selected items.
Where do you go to have fun as a family?
We love to go bowling together as a family and have been to Brunswick in Vernon Hills and Lakeside Lanes in Mundelein. We love to visit all of the area libraries. There are some great indoor play places like Yu Kids Island, XFactor Trampoline, and Dave & Buster’s.
We love to visit the neighborhood parks like Charlie Brown & Nicholas Dowden. If we are venturing out we love Hartmann Park and Century Park in Vernon Hills. Independence Grove is always a nice option. In the summertime you’ll find us at Lake Minear Beach in the mornings and we like to have dinner there with friends in the late afternoon too. The Mundelein Spray Park is also great when there is only one parent – it’s easy to watch the little ones solo.
Do you have any annual events visitors will love?
Vernon Hills Summer Celebration in July complete with children’s activities, rides, beer tent and concerts. Libertyville’s Wine About Winter event in February always sells out fast. Every year in June on Father’s Day we attend the Libertyville Days festivities. There is a parade, rides and games. David Adler Music & Arts Center Festival of the Arts and Mundelein Park District’s Fine Arts Festival are events I’ll be checking out this year. I’ve always wanted to try the MainSweet Dessert Walk in downtown Libertyville in August. Mundelein has summer concerts in Kracklauer Park that draw crowds.
Our mission is to give moms the gift of time. What is your best time saver?
Prepping in little pockets of time has helped me! Plus, being okay with just completing tiny bits at a time rather than finishing tasks all at once. If I have 15 minutes in the morning after the kids are ready for school I will chop vegetables and prep for cooking later. I also strive to wake up an hour before the kids everyday to get myself ready, do some work, laundry, vacuuming or even a cup of coffee before the chaos begins. I’ve found doing this leads to more calm mornings and I feel ahead of the game for the day.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
At Purdue University I was elected to the Student Concert Committee and served a two-year term. We were a big part of choosing and securing the talent, advertising and promoting the event, ticket sales, and working on show day backstage with catering, dressing room set-up, fulfilling the rider, and much more. Some of my favorite shows from this time were Tim Reynolds, Umpree’s McGee, Nelly, Gwen Stefani and Bob Dylan.