• Confessions,  Favorite Things

    I’m the Dinosaur Who is Still Sending Holiday Cards.

    I read a great post by my friend Kari called “Why I’m Not Sending Everyone a Christmas Card This Year” and, after leaving her a comment, decided to expand on my thoughts here. I haven’t been sending holiday cards ever since the very beginning of my and Jim’s marriage in 1986 but I don’t think it was too many years before I started making my address list and checking it twice. My holiday card selection/creation process has definitely evolved over the years (much like our refrigerator). In the first few years I picked them up from the store. More specifically, I picked them up from the Hallmark store my mom…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things

    Telling Our Stories

    One of the things I have always loved about getting together with my parents is the storytelling. There are certain stories in our family (and probably yours too) that get told and retold. Favorite stories for us include the one about how my dad stuck a fork in his older sister’s butt cheek, how my Grandma casually came out to the living room where my Grandpa and my Dad were talking and said sweetly, “Danny, the kitchen is on fire…”, how my sister nailed me in the head with a wooden Fisher-Price clock on a road trip to Canada…those are just the tip of the iceberg. Dylan, Jason, and Hannah…

  • 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…