long weekend


Happy long weekend, everyone! We actually kicked it off last night with a quick dinner at Big Star.  I was feeling a bit bummed on Chicago this week (who am I kidding, this winter) so I thought picking up the kids and getting our favorite guacamole in the city could help me out a bit.  And, you know, it really did.  It has me looking forward to what the this place has to offer when spring finally comes.  Which is next week according to all four of my weather sources/apps.

This week we have easter egg hunts and brunches, record store day, and date nights planned! Until then, here are a couple of links that made me happy this week:

Taco Bell fans check out this little number our friend Jill made.

A toddler got stuck in a claw machine and it made my day.  (He wasn't hurt, okay!)

Brendan Kelly's musings on fatherhood are sweet.

Mike is playing drums on Record Store Day and we're bringing the fam.

I need a new purse and this might be the (vegan) one.

a passover gathering


Last night, Mike and I hosted a Passover gathering for a few friends.  I got the idea a couple nights ago when I realized I hadn't heard any plans from my family yet and was a little bummed to not at least acknowledge the holiday.  So, we picked up some matzah crackers, chocolate gelt for the kids, and chose a couple of recipes to test out.  I'm a big fan of noodle kugel so that was on the list and I found Jonathan Safran Foer's family recipe for homemade matzah ball soup! Mike was kind enough to get the soup going from scratch when I was at work and he put his own spin on it that ended up tasting delicious.  My sister brought over a matzah mac 'n' cheese and friends delivered on some amazing desserts.  

There was nothing kosher about this Passover but I'm so glad we chose to do it.  After my grandparents passed on a lot of our family traditions and customs did too.  I'm not a religious person by any means but I think there's a difference between dogma and culture and I don't want my kids to lack the latter, you know? Jewish holidays are filled with such rich history and I want to pass that on to them.  I think when you are the descendent of a people that has weathered so much you can't let the stories die. 

There may have been pizza and hockey but I think we did an ok job the first time around :)

a shelf + room inspiration


If you've been reading here since the start you may have noticed that I rarely post any updates on our bedroom.  And that's for good reason.  It's been the most overlooked room in the house.  When we bought this place we knew we wouldn't be living upstairs for quite sometime so we paid to have some new carpet put down (an absolute must) but otherwise left it alone.  Once we finally knocked the walls down to make a single family home we just never got around to it.  And whenever it seemed like we had a little bit of extra money to devote to the house a different room/job seemed to take priority.  But we have big plans for this room.  We do.  Mike just said how sad it is that of all the spaces in our home this one has the most potential but has sat untouched for so long.

We envision built in shelves and painted hardwood floors eventually.  To get a taste of what that will look like Mike put in a shelf in a corner that seemed to be calling out for a built-in.  I'm on the hunt for a better reading lamp (hoping to find something from a local vintage store) but otherwise I love it.  It may be a cheap and temporary fix but it has me really excited for the future.  Speaking of, I've been pinning attic bedrooms like a crazy lady over on pinterest and you can check them out here.

radio silence


I've gotten a few questions about where this blog went for the past couple of weeks so I thought I'd address it before moving right along like nothing happened.  As a working mom, I find that figuring out a balance to my time and how I spend it is a constant battle.  It's not unusual for me go to bed feeling like I could've done a better job on a given lesson plan, played nicer with my children, cleaned up more, done yoga, finished that book I've been reading, spent more time with Mike, researched some gardening thing and so on. Oy.  I've recently started to feel like spending time on the internet doesn't leave me feeling fulfilled in the same way any of the things above do. Surprise surprise, right?  Couple that with constant concerns of parental over-sharing and a general distaste for the direction many blogs are moving in (pretty pictures, lots of advertising, no substance) and you have a deleted blog!

....But.  I looked back at the home updates and garden photos and book lists and realized I do like having this space.  I might cut back on talking about the kids but I will talk about parenting (I've got a LOT to say about giftedness and I need to write it down somewhere!).  And our garden.  And the secret things Mike has been up to musically :)  So yeah, see you soon.

saying no to this face


I have a confession.  My son is a wild child.  He is delightful and sweet and loves to hug and give out his "silly kisses" (euphemism for licking).  He is a bundle of unbridled energy and excitement.  This, however, can manifest in throwing everything his little mitts can reach, jumping onto poor Oscar, hitting, or eating us to bits (thankfully he knows the difference between real and fake bites and saves the former for his beloved apples).  He is way too young for talks about choices and consequences but he's no stranger to the time out when he does something dangerous or hits one of us.  The problem? This kid is a real charmer.  When he hears "no" he flashes the most brilliant of smiles to wear down all defenses.  I'm telling you, I've had to leave the room so I could gain my composure and not let him see me laughing.  I'm smiling just thinking about his antics.  It's terrible! I mean, somebody has to teach this kid right? I remember a childhood friend whose mother would always plead with us not to laugh at her son when he did something outrageous because it only encouraged him.

I have that son.  And I can't help but to laugh.  Wish me luck with this kid because I'm going to need it.

what we're listening to


I've been keeping tabs on what we read on this blog for quite some time now but I thought it would be fun to talk about what we've been listening to these days. I'm a little bit predictable when it comes to my taste and although I like to joke that I'm musically stunted I do actually listen to music produced after 1999 and not just bands hailing from the Chicago suburbs.  Mike, if you go by interviews, would have you believe he's only listened to the Smiths or Sundays in all his life but by virtue of his job, he's actually better informed than he'd have you think.

We've got a decent record collection going that mostly includes old Willie Nelson records we found in Mike's childhood home and some french pop but recently Mike was asked to join Rdio and that has us exploring new music like never before. I've stuck to spotify, by the way.  Lately I've found myself gravitating to female vocals and electronic backings.  We've both been loving Chvrches (duh) and I'm still loving Savages and Crystal Castles. I put together a little playlist below of some of my favorite songs in case you also find it difficult to turn off the Lawrence Arms and listen to something new :)

Also, a word on listening to music online rather than purchasing it (I'm a paid account on spotify, by the way).  As a member of a family that supports itself, in part, by a musician's income this is obviously pretty personal.  I mean, I've seen the payout from Spotify. I know. I've also seen my husband give away more records/shirts than I could ever count and it's inspiring to watch him not get lost in the branding/marketing/social media bullshit that brings me all sorts of secondhand embarrassment for other bands.  But, I also know that we are lucky to have people who are willing to pay to see him play and that means we can send our kids to good schools and so on.  So, we might have some good dance parties at home when we stream our music but our record collection is still going strong and on the nights I can stay up late enough, we're still paying to watch good bands play live.

So, anything new I should give a listen to? I'd love to hear what's been on your playlists lately!

spring (for a moment)


The temps in Chicago nearly hit 60 degrees yesterday and every kid in the city heard the calling.  The whispers of the park, that is.  I met Mike and the kids there yesterday and it was an absolute zoo! Imagine a neighborhood's worth of kids getting out 3 months of cooped up craziness.  I know we have another snowstorm on its way tonight and there will still be signs of winter but one or two days a week of spring is all I need right now.

Oh, and Archie.  If you could've seen him.  Or heard him as he screamed the entire way out of the park.  The kid has learned how to relax every muscle in his body until he becomes a wet noodle impossible to pick up.  It's quite the move.  I can't blame him but, thankfully, we should be back at it come Friday.

Thanks for the preview, mother nature.