Category Archives: Parenting

2 Hoots for 2 Toots


Calling all kids or kids at heart…come in close so “they” can’t hear.  I have a really great idea for your parents or grandparents to do with you…shhh…I’ll do the talkin’….just stay quiet….and try to look cute.

If you have a kiddo who really loves trains or has never been on a train, I have a trip for you.  While I was in Elmhurst the other day there was a young couple, their little child, and grandpa heading 5 minutes to Glen Ellyn for lunch at the  2 Toots Train Whistle Grill.   I made a mental note to check it out for you.

See this map below??  Ignore this map below.  The Google location is not correct if you frequently use that method for directions.

It is straight west of the Metra stop on the north side of the tracks.  Just walk across Main Street and you are there.  It is a delicious burger joint that delivers your food on a train.  There is counter seating and booth seating and all of the tables are on the train track that encircles the restaurant.  The food is kid friendly, but tasty for grown ups too, plus there are options for vegetarians if that is what you prefer.  (There is a veggie burger, tuna salad, egg salad, Spring garden salad, grilled cheese and PB & J.)

The hand-packed hamburgers are made the old fashioned way.  They are made using Bill Kurtis’ Tallgrass Beef .  (As you may know, Bill Kurtis, CBS Anchorman and founder and Chairman of Tallgrass Beef, owns a ranch in Sedan, Kansas and raises grass fed cattle.)  The burgers and fries and delicious desserts are perfectly complimented by the 50’s music and casual family atmosphere. They are known for their burgers, but a source close to me at the counter said they have great milkshakes!  The kids can also get a train whistle in the top of their homemade cupcake, which your grown-up ears may or may not consider as a bonus.

The Ryan Family from Glen Ellyn enjoy the restaurant and appreciate that they have a fun place to take the boys right in their own hometown.  Their oldest son is able to request 2 Toots as his choice for lunch already and his parents commented that they are glad that Glen Ellyn has a vibrant downtown and are happy to support it.

The servers were genuinely friendly and paid the kids plenty of attention.  They said that it is busy almost everyday and I can attest to that.  By 12:00 on a Monday, almost all of the seats were filled.  The tables and counter are first come-first served.  The website follows if you would like to check out the menu before heading out.

To make your little ones happy, just take the UP-West Metra line to Glen Ellyn.

And for my “southern” friends:

(That would be anyone south of Interstate 80 or what I like to think of as the Mason Dixon line in Illinois,…do ya’ll have accents down there?)

A great idea would be to go to Elburn by taking 47 N,  jumping on the UP-W Metra line there and taking a little ride to Glen Ellyn.   This accomplishes two things.  You and your young ones get to ride on a train and you also get to have a fun lunch.  The ride is scenic from Elburn to Geneva and then suburban through West Chicago, Winfield, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Of course it would be faster to drive straight to the restaurant, but that would be missing out on the train ride, duh.

If you are unfamiliar with riding the train, they announce your stops so you will know when you are getting close.  You can buy a “10 ride”  ticket if you have 5 or less in your party.  It is a little cheaper that way  OR  if you are travelling on the weekend, you can buy a “weekend pass”  and get unlimited stops on the train and get off and on as much as you want. You could continue all the way into Chicago if you want a fun-filled train day.  On a beautiful weather day, it would be a great way to enjoy it.  No parking fees, no traffic, and a good walk for your legs.  Let me know if you need any help, I would be glad to assist.  Also, I have found that the conductors on the train are extremely helpful if you ask.

Download one of my favorite apps, the QikRide App, for your phone for times…

or here is the Metra website

Ok kids, how did we do? …Let me know if they take you.  All aboard!!


A ship is safe in the harbor, but that isn’t what it was built to do.


This is the time of the year when new and different seem to be in order.  Preschoolers crying on their momma’s legs; grade schoolers, high schoolers and college “schoolers” wanting to, but just happen to be too grown up.

I have been talking to many parents and reading many Facebook posts about the new adjustments… on both sides.

When my first went to preschool, I can remember like it was yesterday, how he was holding up a piece of bacon smiling for the camera while wearing a purple backpack equipped with florescent stripes so the cars would see him.

Out into the world he was going …to be judged, corrected, and compared to others.  I wanted to wrap him completely in florescent stripes to protect  him so they could “see” him.

Even when your kids are older and they are trying to find their way… judged, corrected and compared still happen to be the greatest fears for both child and parent. In grade school it is who gets asked to play at recess, …in junior high it is who sits with whom at lunch, …in high school it is who’s dating whom and who is wearing you know who’s football jersey on Friday, … and in college it is how you will be accepted by your new roommate or “floor” and the turmoil of which Greek house might want you.  And on top of that, along the way, teachers and coaches let you know how you compare.

As a parent it is a tough thing to watch and is out of our hands.  There is not enough florescent stripe in the world to protect your  children from what is in store each day.  Nor would you want it.  Nor should they have it.  The chips will fall where they may and it  is how the child sails through it and comes out in the end that is  the most important thing.  Some will need a life raft, some will  need a flare, some will be tossed in the storm, and some will  appear lucky enough to have the wind at their sails…but  remember, it is never as easy as it appears.

And no matter what age they are, our job is to be the safe harbor  in which to land when the day’s cruise is done.