It’s Time to Give Back

It’s #GivingTuesday, a day set aside to give to organizations that can use your help. If you don’t regularly give to organizations or haven’t participated in Giving Tuesday before, it can be difficult to narrow down all of the choices.

In the past, I would feel overwhelmed by just how much need there is in the world. I’m only one person, right? But, it’s important to remember that even a small donation can mean a lot and can do a lot of good.

Need some ideas of places to donate to? In the last few years, I’ve tried to give back to organizations that I believe in.

ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union does so much every single day. I believe in this organization so much that we walked with them in this past summer’s Pride Parade. (Which was a whole lot of fun!). Their website is also full of information about what they are currently working on, what your rights are, and you can purchase gifts for others (or for yourself.)


Amnesty International – Amnesty International works tirelessly around the world to protect human rights. On their site, you can learn more about their important work, you can make donations, and you can learn about opportunities to help by volunteering your time in your own area.

Center for Responsive Politics – On their site – – they work to “follow the money.” There is a lot of talk about campaign donations, dark money, and how money affects our political landscape. Center for Responsive Politics follows the money so that we can be informed about what is truly going on.

Committee to Protect Journalists – Journalism is vital. Facts are important. And CPJ works to protect those journalists as they do their jobs.

International Rescue Committee – Around the world, families have been torn apart by violence, war, and natural disasters. The IRC works to protect these families in need.

Sierra Club – Sierra Club works to protect the great outdoors and preserve it for generations to come. Their website lists lots of different ways to donate or help in other ways. There are several topics that Sierra Club is taking action on, that you can easily help out with by writing your congressperson. Also, if you become a member, you can get a super useful bag. 🙂

Southern Poverty Law Center – SPLC works to fight hate across America. On their site, you can find more specific information about the causes that they are fighting for. And, of course, make a donation.


Even though the Walk to End Alzheimer’s already happened this year, you can still donate to my fundraising efforts by clicking here! The Walk is over for the year, but the fundraising continues. Together, we can End Alzheimer’s.


Holiday Bucket List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s that time of year once again when I put up with the weather because the holidays are just so much fun!

There are many activities that we do every year around this time of year. (It’s a little crazy to think that it’s holiday time once again!) As with our fall bucket list, there are some things on the list that we’ve already done – or will be doing very very soon. So check out the list! There might be some things that you can do along with us!

Some of our favorites:


Illuminate 900  – This one we actually did Thursday night. We rarely ever go to the 900 North Michigan Avenue shops, mostly because we just never shop that far on Michigan. But, this is a great way to kick off holiday celebrations. It’s free! But, you can add a donation to Make-a-Wish. This year, I got the free wristbands for the girls and I paid for an upgrade wristband for myself. Cookie decorating. Christmas decorations. Music. Dancing. Santa. Yes, it’s a school night, but it’s a lot of fun.


Mag Mile Lights Festival – This one we will be doing today! This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas activities. Christmas lights. Shopping. Santa. And Disney! When I worked on Michigan Avenue, this was a stressful day to be at work. But, now, I love it! lol


Holiday Magic –  One of our favorite Brookfield Zoo activities is seeing the decorations and lights throughout the zoo. The lights are beautiful and there are special holiday activities throughout the zoo.


Look at Christmas decorations – We pretty much do this one all season long. I love wandering through downtown Chicago and looking at decorations, store windows, Christmas trees. There is just so much to see! Plus, after attending Mass on Christmas Eve, we drive around our town and look at decorations. This is a tradition that began when I was a kid and now my own girls look forward to going for a drive after Mass to see the lights.


Go to Christkindlmarket – Each year, we’ve gone to the downtown Chicago location. This year, my goal is to check out the Naperville location and maybe even hit up the Milwaukee location!

Visit with Santa – Well, we’ve sort of done this. We’ve seen Santa a couple times now but haven’t had the “sit down and tell me what you want for Christmas” conversation with him yet. We did, however, write down lists and mail them off so I think that we have this task completed.

Drink egg nog – Oh, how I love egg nog. And I love to drink egg nog out of my Santa mug or one of my many holiday glasses. This will be happening. Probably several times.

Sit by the fireplace – One of my favorite things in our house is the fireplace. We weren’t able to use it during our first winter in the house because the chimney needed to have some, um, safety problems fixed first. Now, however, it’s fixed, works well, and is just so nice to sit near.

Now, I want to know….what’s on your list of must-do holiday activities?


Fall Bucket List

Although summer is my favorite time of year, there are so many fun activities to do during the fall. Most of these things we have already done. One will hopefully be done in the next couple weeks……before all of the leaves fall off of the trees.

Our Fall Bucket List:

Scarecrow Fest  – We love this fest! I previously wrote about Scarecrow Fest and how we celebrate it in a blog post that you can find here. Scarecrows. Pumpkins. Food. Carnival rides. And a yearly staycation at a resort? Yes, please!


Apple picking – There are so many great orchards in the Chicago suburbs. We’ve been to several different ones. But, our favorite place for apple picking is Jonamac Orchard. This orchard has lots of activities in the farm, great apple picking, and a cider house – with tastings of their ciders and wines!


Pumpkin picking – Just like apple picking, there are several fun pumpkin patches to check out in the Chicago suburbs. However, just like with the apple orchards, we have a favorite pumpkin farm. We love________.

Boo at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo – This is a yearly must-do for us. Our family membership at Brookfield Zoo was one of the first things that we purchased after we moved to the suburbs. And for a family of four, a membership is a great deal. It basically pays for itself after just a few trips. Boo at the Zoo has trick-or-treating, pumpkin smashing, lots of fun decor, and many fall-themed animal encounters.


Go on a walk/hike in the woods – This one we haven’t done yet. We’ve had something every single weekend and most evenings. And, our bathroom renovation (which I’ll be blogging about soon) is altering our regular schedule in a huge way. But, we all love hitting the trails in the Forest Preserves.  There are so many great trails and the forest preserves are free. Stay tuned for some upcoming hiking.



So now I want to know, what’s on your fall bucket list? What do you try to do every fall?