Winter Checklist

It’s time for a new checklist. The winter checklist is full of winter-y but mostly Christmas-y things that we will hopefully be able to accomplish in the next coming weeks. Most of these things are ones that we have traditionally done each year. I hope that each of these things are things that our girls want to do for many more years to come.

Our list of winter must-dos:

When we do the summer checklist, we generally have about three months to get everything done and are able to do much of the list during the week since the girls and I are all home for the summer. For the winter checklist, however, we have to get it all done in just a few weekends (for the most part).

A couple of the to-do list items have already been accomplished. The Mag Mile Lights Festival was last weekend. It’s always one of our favorite events of the holiday season. It’s a great combination of two of our favorite things, Christmas and Disney.


Mickey Mouse celebrating his birthday on the Mag Mile

We’ve also already accomplished taking a picture with Santa – a couple times already! At the tree lighting at Yorktown, the girls had a picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. And then, once again, at a tree lighting – this time at the Shops at 900 North Michigan, the girls got to see Santa again and this time sit on his lap and let him know what their Christmas list consisted of.


The tree at the Shops at 900 North Michigan is truly stunning!

So, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about our list. Hopefully, there will be even more Christmas-y things that we are able to do, even if they aren’t on the initial list.

Our list thus far:

What are your Christmas must-dos?


Garden Update – Here Comes Spring!

We had snow this week! Actual snow! And I’m not very happy about it! Now, I am fully aware that we’ve had a very easy winter for the most part. There has been very little snow and the temperatures have been fairly mild. I think that that’s why this week’s snow seems like such a giant leap backward. I thought that we were done with winter. Although, this year, it seems as though we were done with winter in early January……


The front yard is starting to wake up. There is new growth popping up everywhere. We did a lot of work in the front yard last summer. We moved a lot of plants and planted many new ones. I’m excited and anxious to see how all of the new plants do this year.

My Own Christmas To-Do List

It’s a well-known fact that it is very easy for me to overdue Christmas. There is just so much that can be done during the holidays in and near Chicago! How can you choose? So, well, I don’t choose and instead try to do everything. That might be why December is so exhausting…..well, that and I teach preschool so no matter what December is going to be exhausting. But, if you too are wanting to have a Christmas crammed with activities, here is my list of must-do’s during the holidays. (Close to Thanksgiving, I usually send Ryan a bunch of invites on Google calendar so that he knows what I’m planning.)

Mag Mile Lights Festival -This one is a great way to kick off the holidays, in my opinion. Plus, it combines two of my favorite things: Disney and Christmas decorations!

Christkindlemarket – It’s fun just to walk around but it’s even more fun if you buy some snacks. Since they are right across the street from each other, we usually combine going here with dinner at the Walnut Room.

Walnut Room – One of my all-time favorites. Ryan and I have been doing the Walnut Room since before we had kids. But, it’s even more fun now that we have kids. The girls love seeing the “Christmas fairies” and I love seeing the windows and the giant tree in the middle of the restaurant.

Holiday Magic (or “lights at the zoo.”) – Lots of zoos do their own version of zoo lights. We go to Brookfield because we are members there. But, I have many friends who go to see the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo and they love going there. So, I think that you are probably ok with picking a zoo and enjoying their lights. 🙂

Renegade Craft Fair – I love this because it offers a chance to purchase some interesting gifts for people.

Christmas Around the World at MSI – This has been one of my favorites since before I even lived in the Chicago area. The trees are beautiful and you still have time to check out some of the other exhibits after you see the trees.

Garfield Park Conservatory – This one is a new one to the list. But, it’s not a new one for a list of my favorite things to do during the winter. This really is one of my favorite places to visit in the winter. Walking in here in January, you can forget that it’s 2 degrees outside and just enjoy the tropical temperatures, sights, and smells. This was, however, the first year that we went during the Holiday Flower Show.

Walking (or Driving) Around And Looking at Lights – This one isn’t necessarily a “destination.” However, I do like to walk around downtown Chicago to see the lights. The big tree at Millennium Park always looks nice. But, I also enjoy taking a scenic route home from Target or the mall to check out neighborhood lights. And, a big part of our Christmas Eve tradition involves driving around and looking at lights. That’s what we do following Christmas Eve Mass. 🙂


What are your must-do activities at Christmas?

My New Best Friend

So, my lovely readers, you already know that I am training for a 10K. You can check out my fundraising page here. Well, the 10K is in Florida. Which is great because it’s in February and a February 10K would only be doable (for me) if it was somewhere warm. The downside? I don’t live in Florida.

I was very concerned about how I would keep up with my training. One of the first cold-ish days in October, I went for a morning run. Let me just say, it was awful. Just awful. I’m guessing that once I’ve done more training, my lungs be a bit more prepared for…um…October. But I needed to continue my training without it being, well, awful.

So, here’s my new best running friend. Yep. A treadmill. It’s definitely not a fancy one but it does the job that it needs to do. And it folds up so it’s out of the way. It was also a lot cheaper than trying to get a gym membership.


Once spring has returned, I can get back into running outside. But for now, it’s nice to be able to keep up with my training without setting a foot outside. 🙂

Winter, Winter, Go Away

I love the big tree in our front yard.  It looks so nice in the summer.

Winter, go away! You're ruining my tree!

Winter, go away! You’re ruining my tree!

We have a deck and I am so looking forward to sitting on it this summer with a beer in my hand.

Winter, look what you've done to our deck!

Winter, look what you’ve done to our deck!

Summer means time for hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. And we have added seating with the picnic table in front of the garage.

Winter. You are such a jerk.

Winter. You are such a jerk.


Spring Break! Woo!

Spring Break is finally here!  The never-ending snow is finally melting! The first day of spring is quickly approaching!  Can you tell that I’m excited?!?  This winter has really worn me down and I’m looking forward to seeing the first signs of spring.  Cabin fever has hit me really hard this winter and I’m ready to get outside.

So, now that I’ve got a week at home, I do have some projects to get caught up on.  This week will be a very social week as we have someone to visit almost every day but there are some things around the house that I do want to complete.

In no particular order:

  • Transition little girl into her big girl bed.  She picked out her new sheets and blankets yesterday.  This weekend we will hopefully move the crib out and move the twin mattresses in.  We won’t set up her actual bed yet as it is pretty tall but the mattresses will be a good start.
  • Plant some succulents.  I’ve been holding on to some small planters and some miscellaneous mason jars that I had planned on using for succulents.  Well, I think that this week is as good as any to complete that task.
  • Move some furniture into the garage.  This is one that I won’t be able to do on my own and Ryan may not be able to do on his own but we’ll figure out a way to get it done.  That one dresser that we never painted?  Yep.  It’s still not painted and it’s actually empty right now so it’s just taking up space.  We also have a bookshelf that isn’t being used at the time and it’s in a place that in a couple of months will be taken up by the pack ‘n play. 🙂
  • Potentially take in some more art to be framed.  We still have several prints that we didn’t have framed before we moved.  I finally think that I know where a few of them will go, they just need to be matted and framed.
  • Sleep.  Sleep as much as possible!

So, that’s my list.  I’m keeping it fairly short so that I can hopefully get most of the completed during this week.

Wish me luck!  🙂