• Favorite Things,  Writing

    My Best of 2016: Happy New Year!

    It’s (finally) the last day of 2016 and I’m so happy it’s over. So many of us have had an ultra-challenging year personally, and we’re ready to close the door on it and hope for a Happy New One. I wrote 75 posts this year (not including this one) which is, I’m certain, a new low for me. Twenty-seven of them were in the month of November alone as I tried to tackle NaBloPoMo. A couple of years ago my lack of posting really would have bothered me, but this year it doesn’t. Just like me, this blog is in a constant state of evolution. I don’t put all my…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    There’s No Place Like State Street for the Holidays

    For some unknown reason, it’s been a couple of years since I have gone into the city and visited State Street when it’s all dressed up for the holidays. I’ve visited the city itself in December, but I’m typically at the Christkindlmarket, on Michigan Avenue, or at some other area of town for a blogger event. Over the weekend I was invited to see the group Straight No Chaser (they were amazing, by the way), Because the weather was supposed to be rather hellacious, I kept an eye on my weather app all morning and chose to head in much earlier than I needed to be in order to miss…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Travels,  UGH.

    Currently Breaking My Heart: Gatlinburg

    You may not have heard until around lunchtime today because for some reason the news outlets weren’t covering it, but Gatlinburg, Tennessee was on fire. Actually, it has been on fire for a couple of weeks–East Tennessee has been experiencing its worst drought in about a decade–but yesterday the winds kicked up and some fires that were simmering in the Chimney Tops area blew out of control and caused terrible devastation. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses, gorgeous, beloved areas of Smoky Mountain National Park: torched to the ground. It’s upsetting for anyone who has ever set foot there because truly it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the…

  • Favorite Things,  Food

    Make This Pie Recipe And Your Family Will Love You Even More.

    I posted a picture of what was happening in my kitchen on Instagram this morning. The caption: There are very few holiday traditions I care about, but on Thanksgiving I make pumpkin pie for everyone else and my mother-in-law’s pineapple cream cheese pie for myself. (Okay, I share a little.) This pie is to die for. My mother-in-law has made it for Thanksgiving far longer than I’ve been married to Jim, and on the rare Thanksgivings when we aren’t all together, I make sure to get my butt into the kitchen to bake one. It’s my favorite homemade pie. I got her permission to share the recipe (yay for YOU!),…

  • Amazing People,  Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Okay, I Stand Corrected.

    Something good that has come out of this election is the seemingly unending stream of thoughtful political conversation I’ve been enjoying with my twenty-four-year-old. It’s really something special to be able to have intelligent discourse about world affairs with your own grown kid and as much as this election and the post-election developments have had me tied up in knots, it’s been a bright spot. That said, I have a much more entertaining conversation to share here. The scene: my kitchen. I’m lighting my Clean Cotton-scented Yankee Candle. Dylan: “It’s too bad they don’t make a candle that smells like lighting a match.” Me: “YES. That would be amazing.” Dylan:…

  • Favorite Things,  Spreading the Bloggie Love

    Friday Fun

    What a week, am I right? It’s finally Friday, and I’m shutting down the laptop early in order to get started on the weekend. Here are some great things I read/saw online this week that you should definitely check out: When You’re Feeling Lost, on Houseful of Nicholes We’re Tired, on Smacksy 18 Totally Real Conversations Obama and Biden Have Had Since the Election, on Buzzfeed This Chicago Cubs cartoon that will make any true Chicagoan reach for the Kleenex All about “Chalking the Bricks” at Wrigley Field (my own pics to come soon!) We Are the Role Models. Us. Not Them, on Two Cannoli How to Disagree, by Kid…

  • Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut and Sometimes You Need to Learn How to Share.

    I received some devastating news on Saturday*: my twenty one-year-old son said that he enjoys an Almond Joy candy bar now and then. DEVASTATING*. I thought I was the only one in the family who consumed Almond Joy bars. I mean, I have enjoyed the heck out of grabbing the fun-sized Almond Joys out of the boys’ trick-or-treat bags after they spent Halloween night ringing doorbells for sweets, because they ranked Almond Joy down there with Circus Peanuts and Whoppers. I’ve loved buying the occasional Almond Joy and leaving it on the counter where it would stay untouched until I was ready to eat it. Making sure that Almond Joys…

  • Amazing People,  Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Fun in Chicago,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Superstitions Be Gone: Cubs Win the 2016 World Series!

    Chicago is a very happy city today. I am a very happy person today. I am nearly too exhausted to write about this but I’m going to give it a shot: bear with me. I was up until 2am and slept in a most terrible manner for the duration before my eyes sprung open again at 6:45am. I suspect it was because internally I sensed that “Good Morning America” was coming on and I didn’t want to miss the World Series recap, which I enjoyed immensely. Let me back up. Chicago Cubs. Cleveland Indians. What a World Series: a real nail biter. Game 7, though? I literally thought I was…

  • Confessions,  Favorite Things

    Spring Cleaning

    Back when the boys were younger, spring cleaning happened in all four seasons. Rather, it was attempted in all four seasons. As a young family we were constantly bringing stuff (and more stuff) into the house, whether we purchased it or it was given as gifts or hand-me-downs. The struggle for extra space was real, all the time. Coming from a long line of packrats and being a mostly-recovered one myself (long story) it shouldn’t have surprised me when my older son D was traumatized at the mere suggestion of getting rid of, well, anything. It was his opinion that we should keep everything, because we might need it someday.…

  • Blessings,  Favorite Things,  Roxie

    Quality of Life

    Advance apologies: this might be difficult for you to read, but I had to get it out, for myself. This dog. Twelve days ago I was walking her down the street, both of us happy as could be. Today, we said goodbye to her. She was happiest when she was outside, running down the sidewalk. Actually, she was happiest when she was eating any kind of food: hers or ours. (Beagles, man.) But getting out on the leash was a close second. She was only eleven, one month short of twelve. Our beloved vet, Dr. Withers–who has seen Roxie ever since she was getting puppy shots–has been telling me for…