lake county mom

Melissa HaakMelissa Haak
Creator/Editor-in-Chief {Grayslake}
“Mom in Charge”

Melissa once lived in heels and dreamed of traveling the world, but these days she lives in her minivan and dreams of a clean kitchen. A passionate localist, she is a great ally to have if you’re living in, doing business in, or even just passing through her Lake County. She was honored to receive the 2014 Suburban Life Lake County Women of Distinction. She believes that motherhood is the ultimate creative problem solving job. Get four kids to three locations at two different times while feeding a toddler studying with the older one and answering client calls? No problem. With four kids between the ages of 13 and 5, she experiences lots of joy and giggles, but not a lot of downtime.  Find her on just about all social media sites as @PBinmyHair.


Jennifer J.
Managing Editor {Libertyville}
“Tween & Teen Handler”

Jennifer traveled to two continents as a nonprofit administrator and later helped run a small village in Lake County. But the real adventures began when she and her husband put down roots in Libertyville and started a family. Mom to a teenage boy and a tween girl, Jennifer spends her time changing radio stations in her minivan while driving to band concerts, learning new texting lingo and keeping track of the latest trends in electronics and hairstyles. Married for over 20 years, Jennifer and her husband are volunteers for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, active in their church community, and always looking for fun, new ways to spend time together as a family. Jennifer spends any free time she can find trying to stay organized, testing out new recipes that everyone might eat, reading, crafting or trying to beat her own best score in SpellTower.


JC PhotographyAlli
Event Manager / Sales Executive {Lindenhurst}
“The Authentic Mom”

Alli is a boldly authentic mom (because who has time to fake it?) to three little ones. She enjoys almost all things that moms get to do and strives to find joy in every day. Along with her supportive husband, Alli can be seen (or heard) around Lake County chasing runaway children, eating ice cream and holding someone’s hand. {Photo credit: JC Photography}

Contributor {Mundelein}
“The Super Sports Dad”

Chad is a Mundelein dad who loves to stay active and on the move with his two super-hero sons, Jordan and Danny, and his energetic wife, Jen. He’s a K-8 physical education teacher at Bannockburn School by day and a crazed fan of the NIU Huskies, Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls by night. He also keeps busy by discovering new parks with his family, teeing it up at local golf courses and making frequent visits to Chipotle.  You can follow Chad on Twitter at @c23v and @bulldogsmove


Contributor {Mundelein}
“Overcommited & Hyper-tasking Mom”

Cheryl can be found at the local baseball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts or football fields with her camera almost every night after work to support (and photograph) both of her sons. She also serves as the baseball organization’s Volunteer Director of Marketing and Secretary. Cheryl lives in flip flops all year round, loves the Chicago Cubs and hates the question: “What’s for dinner?” Her favorite possession is her iPhone, the perfect tool for the hyper-tasking moms out there (because who has time to only multi-task?). Cheryl’s dream for the future is to start a group therapy session for moms like her titled: “How Not to Overcommit – Learning to Say No When People Keep Asking You to Volunteer”.



Contributor {Libertyville}
“Go-Getter with Girls”

Cindy was born and raised in the “old” part of Gurnee (not by Gurnee Mills) and met her husband in kindergarten. She moved to Libertyville in 2001, got married, and is a former writer/communication consultant. In 2012 she was honored with the title of Mom, and in 2014, she moved with her family of three to Dublin, OH, where she found out she was expecting…twin girls! Cindy and her expanded family moved back to Libertyville in late 2016 and she’s now adjusting to life as a full-time mom of three little girls in Lake County.  As the Queen of the House, Cindy works closely with her team of Princesses (ages almost 5 and 2.5 times two!). She frequently travels (to playgrounds and playdates), writes (killer grocery lists and the ABCs), drinks (leftover milk, but prefers bourbon), and sings (anything and everything). She’s a lover of vinyl records, the north woods of Wisconsin, and The Wonder Years. When she’s not busy managing her team, you can find her relaxing at home or eating, hiking and drinking (usually not all at once) around Lake County with friends and family.


Event Assistant {Grayslake}
“Accidental Homeschooler”

Genevieve is mom to three future world leaders and wife to one really funny guy. She is a public health educator turned stay-at-home mom, who has spent 11 years navigating the course of daily life in an active household. She loves mornings, exercise, God, America and chocolate. She hates scary movies, spiders, airplanes and writing bios. She is a contributing author at and keeps up with the 21st century by blogging about her family’s adventures in and around their hometown of Grayslake, IL.




Writer Educator/ Contributor {Hainesville}
“Healthy, Happy, Hippie for Jesus”

A journalist by nature and profession, Hyacynth  has been on special assignment covering the foreign land of motherhood for nearly three years. While she enjoys covering bare baby bottoms with diapers, she does, from time to time, miss covering chair-throwing, name-calling town hall meetings. But those moments of day-dreaming bliss are often burst by a toddler’s tantrum, which, ironically enough does include pee-wee chair throwing and name calling. Hyacynth blogs about such events at Undercover Mother where she also taps into her creative-writing-bleeding heart, writing life outloud and tackling subjects like faith, marriage, organic living and Curious George. Because who doesn’t love that little monkey, really? She’s wife to very a tolerant, patient man, John, who often indulges her requests for long adult conversation and iced chai tea lattes and mom to two little boys. She loves Jesus, her country and her dog, but, ironically, she doesn’t love Country music; rather she feasts on the music genius of Jimmy Eat World and finds inspiration in song, her boys, good friends and the God she serves.


Contributor {Ingelside}
“Animal Wrangling Mama”

Jessica was born and raised on Vancouver Island, BC in Canada and has been living in Lake County for almost 2 years now. She loves to explore new places in the area with her husband and 1-year-old daughter. A published author and avid crafter, Jess is also an exotic animal trainer and with her husband they own Animal Quest (an animal outreach company), where they take their animals all over for educational (and fun!) shows. She blogs about their daily adventures with their little zoo of 75 animals on her site Loving Every Moment. It’s never a dull day around their home! Jess also enjoys cooking and baking and has fun re-creating healthy recipes which she shares on her blog as well. She loves photography but admits she is nowhere near the professional level, but has fun taking photos anyway. Oh and she has a slight addiction to Instagram…and of course Pinterest!



Jessica G. 
Contributor {Spring Grove}
“A Faith-Full Mom”

Jessica is a busy mom of three girls— an infant, a preschooler and one in grade school. Her hometown of Spring Grove straddles both Lake and McHenry counties, and is a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin border. When she isn’t in the kitchen with her girls, she can be found running her photography business (Jessica Lynn Studio), playing the violin or eating dark chocolate. In “real life” she is a licensed clinical social worker, but she is loving this season of her life as a stay-at-home mom. A freezer-cooking addict, Jessica actually enjoys grocery shopping—but she prefers to do it by herself! Jessica takes pride in teaching her girls about healthy eating and knows that someday they will realize that green smoothies are delicious. The most important thing in Jessica’s life is her relationship with Jesus. Jessica leads several Bible studies and women’s groups, where she helps other moms to find their significance beyond their mothering role, but in the Lord.




Kari H.
Contributor {Round Lake}

Kari loves to write and take photos, not necessarily in that order. Her journey started in 2010 when she sat down to write a few words on a private blog.  She pressed “public” a few weeks later and the rest is history. Kari loves making people laugh, being real, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She also really loves her dog Buddy and fish Lucy. 
When she is not busy writing or going through the Starbucks drive thru, you can find her talking to her plants Zoe, Evie and Albert. She didn’t name Evie. Her nine year old did. But she is totally an Edna so that’s Kari call hers that when her nine year old isn’t home.
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Laura Otto
Contributor {Vernon Hills}
The Road Scholar”

Laura Otto is an associate professor at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, where she teaches courses in journalism, writing for new media and creative writing. She lives in Vernon Hills with her husband, Matt, and three kids: Cole (19), Maya (7) and Shane (4). When she isn’t grading papers or scrubbing crayon off the walls, she can be found playing Downton Abbey trivia games on Facebook or doodling all over her kids’ homework.


Contributor {Vernon Hills}
“Raising an Active Family Mom”

Lake County native Maureen was born and raised in Libertyville, before moving to Buffalo Grove during high school. She vivdly remembers being asked in school where she would like to live when she grows up, and answering proudly “Libertyville”. Now the mother of 4 kids ranging in age from 1 to 8, she did not actually land back in Libertyville after her time on the East Coast and Chicago, but has adopted the village of Vernon Hills as her hometown. A Lake County girl through and through, Maureen spent the first 6 years of motherhood as a Stroller Strides stroller fitness instructor and franchise owner. That experience connected her with women all over Lake County, encouraging them to stay active and support each other through those difficult first years of motherhood. After selling her Stroller Strides franchise to focus more time on her family, she discovered she would be starting the amazing motherhood journey all over again, but this time with twins. Now she spends her days chasing toddler boys, helping big kids with homework, shuttling everyone to sports and music, and trying to maintain the chaos in her life. Maureen loves being outdoors, staying active as a family, and finding fun low or no cost activities for her family around Lake County.


Contributor {Libertyville}
Crafty Mom”

Natalie is the mom of two elementary-school-aged children and a dog who thinks she’s a personal assistant. She is the author of more than fifty books and resources for kids (including her middle grade novel Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners). Natalie is a former elementary and middle school teacher. She was also a former museum educator and curriculum coordinator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Having grown up in Waukegan, she is a Lake County native. Natalie enjoys nature—especially insects, sled dog racing (observing!), doing crafts with her kids, and forming a world safe from peanuts. She has an obsession for instant coffee, wool socks, and 80s music. Find out more about her and her books for kids at





Sales Executive/Contributor {Lakewood}
“McHenry Mama”

Shelby has lived in counties across the U.S. from New York to California. She has worked in catering, public relations, and as a sales executive for a marketing and travel company before giving up her mundane life of exotic food, party planning and international binge travel for the glamour of poopy diapers and being known by name at Costco. She calls Lakewood home with her three sons and a daughter ranging in age from nine to one, and is married to her college sweetheart. Shelby enjoys cooking, exercising, coaching, church-going, wining and dining with friends and spying on her kids under the guise of “volunteering” at school. You can find Shelby dancing through the aisles of the dollar store, sporting heels and nursing her baby in the Ergo, while looking for inspiration for the next family theme day. Or, she might be chauffeuring her kiddos to one of their 1,204 activities while belting out Kids Bop (but using the original lyrics) in her gluten-free cracker-filled family truckster.


Editorial Assistant/Contributor
“Single Mama”

Tracy dreams of someday being considered a “cool” mom and she can still remember the days when she had time to put on makeup in the morning. She is a young, single, stay-at-home mom to an awesome little boy named Jayden. She recently graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has lived in various parts of Lake County her whole life. Every day, she and her son set off in her Jeep, rocking a pair of oversized sunglasses, in search of a new and exciting adventure to go on. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading, dancing, yoga, shopping, and pinning kid’s activities on Pinterest. She truly believes that if she was given enough Starbucks that she could rule the world.



Interested in joining the team? You don’t have to be a blogger! Just a mom on the go! Contact Melissa at littlelakecounty (at) gmail (dot) com


Headshots with brick backgrounds provided by Rosie Bridges Photography – Lake County family photographer



1 Comment

  1. Is there a way to click on an event and automatically have it add to a google calendar?
    I put many events in my bosses calendar and your sight seems to have everything listed. In stead of having to re-write the entire event in the calendar it would save a lot of time to have it done automatically. Please advise.

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