A Day with the Fishes

This week, we took advantage of the Illinois resident free admission at the Shedd Aquarium. The Aquarium is such a fun way to spend the day! Last summer, the Shedd updated their procedure for the resident free days. It had been that the free day only included the main galleries. I would then purchase the upgrade to do the Polar Play Zone – yes, I’ll pay extra to see my kids wear penguin costumes – and the Wild Reef. Now, however, your resident free day includes everything! You can go to the main galleries, Polar Play Zone, Wild Reef, Stingray Touch (only open during certain months of the year) and see an aquatic presentation! So so fun!

My girls talked me into doing one upgrade. You have to pay extra to see one of the 4D experiences…..and one of the 4D shows was Splash and Bubbles. They (and I) really like the show on PBS…and it was pretty cute. Both girls laughed out loud. Addy was dancing in her seat. So, it was worth it. 🙂






Our summer list thus far:

Days Downtown – Summer Checklist

We have been able to slowly get more items checked off of the summer list.


Going to the Disney Store in downtown Chicago. Our girls like to go to to press buttons on the walls and watch the big tv. Lol.


We also ate at one of big girl’s favorite restaurants: Big Bowl.


The list thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Summer time concert time

I love seeing concerts in the summer because there is the opportunity to see bands playing outside. Outdoor concert season! Woo-hoo! There is just something wonderful about listening to music and drinking a beer while sitting outside.

The downside? Everyone brings picnic blankets and chairs and get comfortable. Really comfortable. That means that hundreds of your new best friends all take of their shoes at the same time. Yea.

Ryan and I recently saw Flight of the Conchords when they played downtown. Don’t know who they are? Seriously, look them up because I have tried to explain them and I just can’t do it very well. Get the seasons of their HBO show….watch the episodes…..and then you’ll know why seeing them live is just a lot of fun.

In addition to seeing them live, we got to hang out in Millennium Park which really is one of my favorite things about downtown Chicago. The park opened when I moved to Chicago and I remember thinking “Wow, that is a lot (!!!!!!!) of money. I sure hope people use this thing…..” And yes, it was a lot of money. But yes, people are in the park all year long. Even in January, you will see people taking pictures by the Bean. (Guys…January….go inside! It’s cold!).

So yay for concerts outside. Yay for summer nights. And yay for the Bean looking even more beautiful when reflecting the nighttime skyline.

A Taste of Home – Or – Things That I Miss

When you see this box, you can rest assured that it is full of yummy.

When you see this box, you can rest assured that it is full of yummy.

There are some things that I miss about living in the city: living just a quick walk away from restaurants and parks, lots of activities to do on the weekend. There are also lots of things that I don’t miss: parking, paying rent to help someone else pay their mortgage, the high cost of, well, everything. But there is one thing that I do truly miss – a great slice of raspberry marzipan torte. After a quick brunch date with a friend back in the old ‘hood, I needed a taste of nostalgia.

The cake did not last long.......

The cake did not last long…….

There are other “Chicago foods” that, of course, remind me of the city. But, I can get a darn good Chicago char dog lots of places and I live just a few blocks away from several locations where I can get an Italian beef. So, for me, the raspberry marzipan torte is my taste of Chicago. Luckily, we didn’t move that far away and a trip to the city for an adventure (or just a slice of cake) is not a big deal.

If you were to move away from home, what would be the one food that you would miss?

Summer To Do List

The summer is quickly moving along and I have a lot that I want/need to do this summer.  As we are still house hunting, this summer may very well be our last in Chicago so there are a lot projects that I want to complete and places that I want to visit before school begins once more.

In no particular order:

  • Read.  Read.  Read.  I have so many books that I have yet to finish or even start.  My goal is to finish as many of the paperback books as I can so that they can be packed up in boxes.  Then, I can return to the books on my Kindle and the Kindle app on my phone.
  • Go on a walk every day.  So far, weather permitting, I’ve been great at this one.  Just have to keep going with it.  The key is to get most of my walk in before we pass any swings at the park.  Because as soon as little girl can see the swings, she’ll lose her mind until she sits in one.
  • Start mommy and me yoga classes.  I was going to start this this past Friday, but, the Blackhawks won.  And we live in Chicago.  So…of course we had a parade to attend.
  • Finish the furniture renovations that we began at the beginning of the summer.  We still need to sand and paint the dresser which is a rather large piece of furniture.  There is also a stepstool that matches the original paint on those pieces but I have yet to figure out what I’m going to do with it.
  • Go to the zoo.  Lincoln Park Zoo is one of my favorite places in the city.  The best part is that it’s free!  I’m planning on going at least once with Peanut.
  • Spend a rainy day at a museum.  The museums in the city are amazing and almost all have activities that are fun for little kiddos to do, too.
  • Have a yard sale.  We’ve been slowly going through all of our stuff.  What do we need?  What can we get rid of?  What should we donate?  What can we try to sell?  We have accumulated a lot of stuff and it would be great to not have to try to box it all up when we move.
  • Buy frames for photos that need to be framed.  We had family portraits done and need to frame those.  Ryan and I also still have Peanut’s one-year photos on the dining room table.  We need to frame those as well.
  • Have matting done for art pieces.  We have several prints that we have already purchased frames for.  All that they need now are to be matted and they will be ready to hang in our new home.
  • Do this project.  I’ve had the pattern printed out and the paper purchased for a long time now.  I just need to purchase the wood for the background, cut out the pieces, and complete it.
  • Eat outside as much as possible.  Almost all of my favorite restaurants have seating outside because Chicagoans love (!!!!!!!!) eating outside.  This one won’t be much of a challenge to complete.  🙂
  • Make a terrarium using a mason jar and succulents.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on Pinterest about types of terrariums, types of soil that is needed, and different succulents.  Will probably do this closer to a moving date, whenever that is.  I am a bit concerned about succulents and the cats so I will have to figure out a place in the new house where the succulents can be and where the cats can’t get to them.  Whenever bringing plants into a house with animals, please research the type of plant as much as possible.  The ASPCA has a great list of plants that are poisonous to animals that you can see here.
  • Go to the beach.  We have yet to take Peanut to the beach for a day and I know that that is something that I want to change soon.
  • Do this project.  I’m not sure what word(s) I’ll do.  “Family.”  “Love.”  “Laughter.”  “I love cookies.”  I’m open to suggestions.
  • Watch tv.  I’ve been slowly working my way through seasons of shows that I never watched when they were on using our Netflix.  I finally understand what people had been talking about years ago.  🙂
  • Do this project.  I love it because it looks so easy and could be any possible color palette.

That’s my list.  It’s pretty extensive and I probably won’t get most of them done but writing down the list is a good start.  What’s on your summer bucket list?

Urban nature

Sometimes it is difficult to see nature in the city. I am lucky to live near two large parks and a nice path running along the river. However, I rarely see any animals other than pets, pigeons or squirrels. I guess that’s why these ducks are so interesting to me. It seems that they have made their home on the side of the road as I’ve seen them there almost every day this month.