I started a new job that has me driving all over east central Illinois, but with the career transition and all the driving I've been too mentally exhausted to keep you in the loop. I love that I'm getting to Danville, Tuscola, and Monticello so often.
In Monticello, I discovered a toy store with excellent customer service and spot on recommendations. Bee Active Toys, located next to the Brown Bag (so popular and yum) and across the street from Prairie Fire Glass, is much bigger inside than you expect. The owner knows a lot about toys and can direct you to American made, or age and interest specific. I told him I had a 3.5 year old who likes cars and dinosaurs and he directed me to a "Zip-Bin" i.e. a playmat that zips into a storage box.
I was skeptical about whether it would be fun, but the owner was so enthusiastic that I bought it. That night H played with it for 3+ hours. It has been in the regular rotation for two solid weeks. He loves parking the cars in the parking lot and driving all over the mat. I also picked up an elephant watering can (plastic, $5) which has become an instant favorite too.
Bee Active Toys stocks lots of science kits, puzzles, animal and people figures. Vintage toys are on display. If you are going to Monticello to visit Allerton Park or ride the train, be sure to stop by Bee Active Toys. It is a kid friendly shop with great toys for sale.