• How To

    How to Receive a Gift

    I spent hours and hours (and hours) today, wrapping the rest of the holiday gifts that have been hanging out in my dining room for nearly two weeks, so I thought I’d go with the gift theme, again. Everyone’s talking about gifts right now anyway, so why not? Earlier this month I posted 6 Tips for the Gift-Giving Challenged, so if you’re still figuring out what to get for whom this holiday season or you just generally need advice make sure to check that out. Five years ago I wrote about what I enjoy receiving from someone after I give them a present: nothing but a “thank you.” Honest. I…

  • Confessions

    Another Demographic That Needs to Learn “No Means No”

    You probably already know where I’m going here. I’m talking about those super aggressive men and women who hawk Dead Sea skin care products at mall kiosks and, as I discovered two weeks ago, also in Lahaina, Hawaii. What, weren’t you thinking of them, too? I have encountered these people many times, and my normal M.O. is to walk past them as close to the outer wall of the mall and away from the kiosk as possible so they don’t even see me. When I am in the unfortunate position of having to pass by them in closer proximity than I prefer, I have no problem turning down their offers…

  • Favorite Things

    So Funny.

    My very favorite television genre is and always has been the sitcom. It’s not the “wrap up a weekly situation with humor in just 22 minutes” big picture aspect that I like; it’s literally the humor and only the humor. I like to laugh. The 80s (when there were far fewer television choices, by the way), were the Golden Age of Sitcoms. Sadly, they don’t make ‘em like they used to and they don’t make nearly as many of ‘em as they used to. I still seek them out, though. A few months ago Jim and I were scouring Netflix for something new to watch, something more funny and less…

  • Blessings,  Confessions

    What I Know For Sure

    Four years ago today, the snowy scene pictured above was my reality in the western suburbs of Chicago. We moved to Knoxville a year and a half ago and no longer had the need for the snowblower we purchased the year that photo was taken. Although it snows occasionally in Knoxville—and yeah yeah yeah the area practically shuts down when it merely flurries and people, who don’t think about the fact that the South doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with snow, let alone the fact that the hills and sharp curves around here make traveling in icy conditions very dangerous regardless of whether the roads have been salted properly,…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    Let Me Be Frank.

    Yesterday I wrote about how more isn’t always better and how, although I miss Chicago immensely, I really do have everything I need in Knoxville. Then we took my parents to Portillo’s for lunch today because there was NO FREAKING WAY that I was going to be in the area for two full days and not go to Portillo’s, Thanksgiving or not. I decided that the answer to the question with which I ended yesterday’s post, “Who could ask for more?” is “Me, and I’d like a Knoxville Portillo’s, please.” THEN I’ll have everything I need.  

  • Blessings,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Travels

    Abundance

    One of the things I love about coming back up north is having the ability to stick up on things I can’t get in Knoxville. Being in Kenosha for this holiday meant a mandatory trip to my favorite grocery store. Woodman’s is a Wisconsin-based chain that is employee-owned and has the largest selection of products I have ever seen, as in four whole aisles of candy, one entire corner of the store devoted to soda pop and other beverages, and an aisle the length of the entire back of the store full of every kind of chip you could ever want, just to name a few. Unlike other stores which…

  • Family Fun,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz,  Travels

    A Scene on the Road

    Like so many other families, we’re on the road today. Jim and I are headed north with my parents and sister, in the same car. Usually we take two cars when we’re all together, so this is new. My dad and sister are in the two middle seats and my mom is in the back. It’s been a relatively quiet trip so far, but after our last pit stop things amped up a little bit. And by “things”, I mean my dad. My sister is trying to read her book, mom is crocheting, and I was playing a game on my phone. (Jim, driving.) Dad suddenly got bored so he started…

  • Confessions,  Motivation

    Keep Moving

    It’s been a day (and a night: I’m running on an hour of sleep) so I decided to take the easy way out for today’s post and find a quote that speaks to me. Maybe it’ll speak to you, too. It’s from dancer Twyla Tharp: To survive, you’ve got to keep wheedling your way. You can’t just sit there and fight against odds when it’s not going to work. You have to turn a corner, dig a hole, go through a tunnel – and find a way to keep moving. Let’s keep moving, shall we?

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments

    (Almost) Done.

    A couple months ago when we were talking about going to Chicago for Thanksgiving I decided it would be a good idea to get the boys’ Hanukkah gifts all set and ready to throw in the car so I wouldn’t have to ship a box basically as soon as we get home: Hanukkah is early this year! (By the way, did you read my tips for the gift-giving challenged? You should.) The other day when we returned home from Maui I was all, “THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET THE SHOPPING DONE FOR THE BOYS.” Then yesterday, I changed my mind again. I decided to give it a shot.…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things

    I’m One of Those.

    I finally switched out the clothes in my bedroom closet today, trading tank tops and Capri pants for sweatshirts and jeans. I am SO HAPPY. Don’t get me wrong; I really like summer, especially now that we have access to a pool just up the street. As much as I enjoy driving with the sunroof open though, I get a little giddy when autumn kicks in. Just a few things I love about fall: Changing trees and fallling leaves Running our fireplace Hot cocoa with whipped cream The aforementioned sweatshirts and jeans Curling up on the couch with a blanket The seat warmers in my car Chicken matzah ball soup…