So. Many. Blueberries.

I am way (!!!!) behind on updating our summer list….so be on the lookout for several posts coming your way in the next several days!

Now. Blueberries.

Blueberry picking was on our summer list and, honestly, I wasn’t sure how we were going to accomplish that one. I had hoped that there would be a blueberry u-pick farm near Milwaukee so that we would be able to combine that with our yearly trip to visit Granny and Pa (post about that trip coming up soon)….but I learned something…..there are no u-pick farms anywhere near Milwaukee. (At least for blueberries.) And, there are no u-pick farms anywhere near Chicago (again…for blueberries.)

When I write that I was looking for something near those locations, I was looking for something within an hour. There are many spots that are 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours away.

So, we did something kind of crazy. The day after we returned from Wisconsin, we set off for a day trip to the Indiana/Michigan border!

Now, if you are in Harbor Country, you will be able to find many different u-pick options! Blueberry farms are everywhere! You will need to plan your trip accordingly, though.

Be sure to check up on the following items before you head out:

  • Some farms accept only cash. Some are cash and credit.
  • Bring sunscreen! You will be in the direct sun for at least an hour depending on how many blueberries you want to take home.
  • Bring snacks. Some of the farms might also have a stand with other fruits, veggies, baked goods. Some may even have more options like sandwiches or other snacks. However, chances are good, you’ll only have blueberries surrounding you for awhile so be ready.

We went to Stateline Blueberries and had great success. We went home with over six pounds of blueberries!

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Once you get your blueberries home, get ready to prepare them. I wash them lightly, then spread out over a towel so that they can dry. Carefully roll the blueberries around to catch any leaves or stems that are stuck to the blueberries.

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Blueberries freeze incredibly well. I actually just poured the blueberries into gallon size freezer bags and stuck them in the freezer. You can take them out anytime and add to muffins, pancakes, or just to snack on! However, let them thaw before you add them to batters.

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.
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Movies Under the Stars

We love seeing movies outdoors! Luckily for us, we are very close to a weekly option for outdoor movies during the summer!

For several Wednesdays during the summer, Oakbrook Center hosts movie screenings on their Lawn.

The movies take place rain or shine. Although, there are people who will just prop up an umbrella and hang out in their rain jacket or poncho, I am not those people. Lol. So, we’ve planned on going to two of the movies this summer and have only been able to go to one. We’re hoping that the rain cooperates so that we can see Incredibles 2 tomorrow night!

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We usually stop upstairs to pick up food from the food court before claiming our spots on the Lawn. (Pie Five for the girls. Cilantro Taco Grill for me.)

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

 

Fireworks! And more fireworks!

There are many options for you if your goal is to see fireworks. During the summer, every Wednesday and Saturday, you can see fireworks at Navy Pier.

If you wanted to, you could see fireworks on the 3rd, the 4th, and later. There were even fireworks last night! (We could hear them from our living room.) However, this post is going to be about fireworks on the 4th. There are so many great places in the suburbs to see fireworks on the 4th of July!

Some tips for seeing fireworks on the 4th:

  • Do your research. Is it a super popular spot? Do people start picking spots early in the day? When are streets closed down? Where are the best viewing areas?
  • Bring food! Bring snacks and/or dinner because honestly, it’s hard to figure out when the start time will actually be for the fireworks. “Dusk” means a lot of different times depending on who is in charge. In addition, if weather is questionable, the fireworks might start earlier or later for safety.
  • Stock up on “things that glow.” I buy glow bracelets and necklaces from the Target Dollar Spot whenever they are available. This year, I was also able to snag glow headbands!
  • Be prepared for the weather. Check the forecast repeatedly and be ready to leave if there’s thunder/lightning.
  • Bring bug spray. Many places will actually spray for mosquitoes in the days leading up to the 4th but you want to be prepared.
  • Have fun! Fireworks are magical and watching them with kids? Even more magical!

 

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

Go Take a Hike

Even when it’s super hot (it was really hot today), you can usually find us outside at some point each day during the summer. It’s very important to me that we get outside as much as possible when the weather is good (not storming). And even though this week has been quite warm, the girls and I have gone on several walks in the woods.

The Forest Preserves of Dupage County are an excellent resource for us. There are frequently activities at the many education centers/farms/forests. And there are many opportunities to just get outside.

This week, we went to two of our favorites: Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center and Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out these locations. At Fullersburg, you can borrow a backpack of exploration tools to help in your nature exploration. We borrowed magnifying glasses, binoculars, and plant identification cards.

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At Willowbrook, you can witness their work first hand. They take in sick and injured wild animals, they treat those animals, and then release them back into a forest preserve. If an injury or illness can not be fixed, that animal may become a permanent resident of Willowbrook. You can see many of their residents indoors and outdoors.

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Our summer list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

The Summer of Legos

We recently went to Morton Arboretum to check out the Lego exhibit. Well, guess what? Brookfield Zoo also has Legos this summer! There are several life-size and several larger-than-life animal sculptures on display right now. They are very cool and definitely worth the trip to check them out!

There were so many different animals. And, like the exhibit at the Arboretum, each sculpture has a sign nearby that tells you how many bricks were used and how long it took to build. This exhibit also tells you how much the finished sculpture weighs. It was fun to guess how many bricks were used or how long it took to build and then checking the actual numbers on the sign.

This exhibit is an extra cost but it’s worth checking out!

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling.
  • Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

A Tale of Two Beaches

So, on our list for the summer is to have a beach day. Well, we may not have had a beach day yet this summer, we did have two separate beach nights!

During our recent road trip (more on that in upcoming posts), we drove home and stopped at two different beachy locations. Our first beach stop was Cocoa Beach after a day at the Kennedy Space Center (look for an upcoming post about that day as well).

Until this trip, my only memory of the Atlantic Ocean was from a trip when I was in high school. I remember the beach being gross and the water being smelly. And that memory has forever stuck with me and was my sole memory of the Atlantic. Until this trip. We went to the beach after stopping for dinner at a restaurant right on the beach.

The beach was lovely. The water was beautiful.  This is now what I will think of when I think of the Atlantic!

Following our night in Cocoa Beach, we drove to Pensacola Bay. We lucked out because our hotel was right on the beach. Right. On. The. Beach. So, of course, once we got checked into our room, we headed down to the beach.

So, although we didn’t have a beach day, I am definitely checking this one off of the summer list. We may still have a beach day this summer….but if not…..I think it’s ok. 🙂

Our list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling. Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.

So Many Legos!

Last week, we went to Morton Arboretum with the goal of seeing the new exhibit Nature Connects. This exhibit is full of fun sculptures made from Legos. So many Legos! Each sculpture has a sign that lets you know how many Lego bricks were used and how many hours it took to build each one. The numbers are pretty astonishing. So many Legos. So many hours!

It’s a very cool exhibit and is perfect for a lovely (and pretty short) walk outdoors. Plus, after you see the Legos, you can go on a hike or explore the children’s garden!

Our summer list thus far:

  • Go to Disney World.
  • Pick blueberries.
  • Go bowling. Bake some treats.
  • See outdoor movies.
  • Go to the museums.
  • Go to LEGO Discovery Center.
  • Visit Brookfield Zoo.
  • Go to Morton Arboretum to see the Lego sculptures.
  • Visit the Art Institute.
  • Eat ice cream.
  • Play on the playground.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Have a slumber party.
  • Have a pajama day.
  • Watch movies at home.
  • Visit Granny and Pa.
  • Visit Mimi and Pa.
  • Have a beach day.
  • Pick dandelions out of the yard.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to the splash pads.
  • Visit Chinatown.
  • Play outside.
  • Have tea at American Girl.
  • Play in our house.