Digital magazine connects families across CU

Photo courtesy of Laura Weisskopf Bleill was created in 2009 by Laura Weisskopf Bleill and is aimed at providing different resources for families in the C-U area. The website calls attention to different activities happening throughout the towns in addition to providing a way for different families to connect with each other and organize play dates.

By Sam Schrage, Staff Writer

When local business owner Seth Fein first became a father to his son, he turned to a particular outlet to share his experience with others in the area.

This outlet is called, a digital magazine that provides resources to families in the Champaign-Urbana and East Central Illinois areas.

“Mom-in-chief” Laura Weisskopf Bleill created in 2009, but she never imagined it would grow into the brand and lifestyle it is today. She first started the digital magazine because she felt there was a lack of useful resources for young families in the area.

“Having two young children, rainy days are easier knowing that you can just take a glance at what is happening that might meet the needs of your children at any given time,” Fein said.

By sharing his thoughts and feelings, Fein was able to give future dads a look into what special moments of parenthood are like. The magazine has continued to be a resource for Fein and his family as they explore different local opportunities and events. provides support to families in the area who want to learn more about local family-friendly events and options. The website includes events, activities, guides, meal ideas, celebration ideas and local information meant to provide resources and opportunities to families.

As associate director of the University of Illinois Research Park, Weisskopf Bleill understands the importance of having a media outlet solely directed toward families. Weisskopf Bleill’s background in journalism helped her throughout the creation process, where she especially wanted to highlight more female voices in the media.

“Our goal is to provide information that is timely, accurate and helpful to our readers and the community at large. We focus on events as well as news,” Weisskopf Bleill said. “We love to break news. Most of all, we love to help people.”

The website has multiple employees and contributors who upload content on everything from fall activity ideas to information on local child care services. The website also does advertising campaigns for local clients who want to reach Champaign-Urbana families.

Jennifer Newell is currently the happiness manager, or advertising manager, of, where she helps organize clients and advertising campaigns. Newell first got involved with the website as its very first advertiser. As a local small business owner and parent, she saw the benefits of the website and wanted to be involved.

“I saw a need for more information for families in the Champaign-Urbana area,” Newell said. “Laura’s ideas were helpful to me, and I was able to see the reach with the number of customers that said they had heard about my business through the website.”

Newell said the website is a great way for local businesses to advertise because of its direct reach to nearby, young families. The staff’s goal for the site is to share a variety of information to benefit families of all shapes and sizes.

One of the things Newell hopes families get from reading the website is answers to their parenting questions.

Taking away some of the everyday parenting stress by answering these and connecting families to one another is just one of the many benefits of

The website allows families to connect online and in person. Each summer and winter, the website organizes play dates, where families can join up with with one another and share their parenting triumphs and tribulations.

“Parents want to feel a part of a community; they want to know that they aren’t alone,” Newell said. “By showcasing the wonderful things of our community and giving people a chance to connect, they realize that there is a place for everyone, which leads to growth more people want to be a part of.”

Part of connecting families to one another is allowing local parents to share their own experiences and stories. Many of the articles on feature parents offering their advice, experiences and reflections.

For many parents like Fein, has become an invaluable resource for families when they are trying to decide on their next family outing, or when they’re looking for advice from other local parents. Weisskopf Bleill said she hopes the website brings the entire community together and allows all different types of families to thrive.

“We strive to meet the needs of our readers. Our goal is to grow, adapt and change with our readers,” Weisskopf Bleill said. “We will be adding to our family of websites and seeking new ways for our brand to connect with the community, through a variety of media.”

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