October 24, 2007
Earlier this month I over-packed significantly and headed back to Chi-Town for my 10-year HS reunion. I am a child of the suburbs, so the reunion was held in Naperville, but most of my time was spend with my oldest friend LeMare in the city. The windy city and I have missed each other a lot. LeMare and I are mostly interested in shopping, eating, and rehashing old-times, but I really need to take Little Ro’ back there in the next couple of years to see the fabulous museums and sites. What a great city!
Did I mention the shopping is wonderful? My favorite purchase of the entire trip has to be my new eggplant handbag. I’m smitten. I picked up some other great finds as well. And then there’s the food. I think the highlight of my city-eating was probably the one fast-food meal we ate! We ran out to Portillos on Friday night. This is typically something we reserve for the burbs, but I was too starving to wait at a restaurant and didn’t regret our choice one bit. Portillos is a hometown tradition that I really miss a lot. After stuffing ourselves with Portillos, LeMare and I returned to her apartment to watch an old favorite: The Night They Saved Christmas. Aah—a night dripping with memories and tradition!
But now to the point of my journey. My reunion. On Saturday, LeMare and I dashed to Union Station, lugging my 43 lb suitcase, new purchases, and LeMare’s overnight bag (naturally a Nordstrom bag). We barely made our train due to my 10-minutes-late watch. The conductor approached us for our tickets and said “which part of Hinsdale or Naperville are you from?” LeMare was initially offended, but I pointed out our luck that he didn’t ask if we were from Cicero or Berwyn. Whew!
We arrived on time in Naperville, however our ride did not, so we decided to head downtown on foot to take advantage of a little shopping before dinner with our dear friend Matt. We ate at Lou Malnati’s—it’s a must-have Chicago pizza spot. After dinner we ran back to LeMare’s parents’ house to get ready for our big night out. After much chaos and outfit changing, we were ready to roll! We rolled up to our reunion in LeMare’s mom’s minivan. Some things never change.
The reunion was great. I have to say that MOST everyone was better. Better looking (even if they had gained a few lbs), more genuine, just better. I was actually really surprized at how many people were married (many with kids). It wasn’t a huge turnout, but pretty much everyone I wanted to see was there. Here are a couple pics from the reunion.
I also went back just in time, as LeMare is heading to greener pastures on the great city of San Francisco next month. Congrats, LeMare, I’m really happy for you!!
October 21, 2007
The Brag Book. I picked mine up at Ann Taylor when Little Ro’ was a newborn and I didn’t fully appreciate the little gem until last weekend. I took mine, fully loaded with pics, to my HS Reunion and to visit old friends in Naperville, IL. The other moms thought it was such a clever little book and I was happy not to be showing my little guy off via my cell phone or awkwardly digging photos out of my wallet. So I now think it’s a must-have for every proud mom’s handbag. This site has a bunch of really cute styles at very reasonable prices.
I have to admit that I’m giving myself a huge pat on the back today! I just finished sewing–yes, you read that right–Little Ro’s Halloween costume. He will be dressed as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. I fell totally in love with the characters after seeing Wicked in London last December. It’s a MUST see. Anyway, his costume pattern appears on this page. It has been ages since I have sewed just about anything, let alone starting something from scratch. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas last year and have been looking for an excuse. I clearly need more practice, but I have to admit that it was totally addicting and I really enjoyed myself. I’ll try it on him and post pics soon. I’m afraid he won’t wear the hat and hood, which are darling, but maybe just long enough for a picture!
October 15, 2007
We finally made it to the cabin last weekend. The cabin is the mountains of central Utah and is quite cold this time of year. We decided to go down to relax and watch our church’s semi-annual General Conference. It was cozy! It was freezing and snowed on Saturday. We had fires in the fireplace and coal stove and just hung out. Little Ro’ was smitten with the cabin–as he is generally smitten with all things outdoors. He hates wearing a coat and seems unaffected by the cold. He explored outside each day until we were too cold to stand chasing him around. And this weekend we discovered his love for horses! He couldn’t get enough of them and would call out “Bo! Bobobobo!” at my Grandpa’s horse, Bo. He wasn’t quite as smitten with Ben. Of course we didn’t have our camera when he rode Bo, but here are some pics with Grandpa Great’s horses.
My grandpa had to take the horses home for the winter, so here is my dad helping round them up (riding Bo). They’re spoiled and get to run free in a pasture for the summer, so they’re not very willing to be put in the trailer.
We drove up over the mountain on our way home (elevation 10k feet) and there was a lot of snow. The temp reading onour car dipped to 24 degrees! We saw a lot of deer but no elk, much to the disappointment of all the elk hunters we passed, I’m sure.
October 5, 2007
So, Little Ro’ has developed an obsession for band-aids. He calls them “Ouch!!” and can spend ridiculous amounts of time unwrapping them and sticking them on his body, the carpet, me, whatever is nearby. He escorts me into his room at least once a day to retrieve an “ouch” from his closet. His habit is starting to add up, so I picked up a cheap box at Target tonight. CTD and I left him unattended for a few minutes and this is what we found.
October 4, 2007
This is the recipe that I made for Little Ro’s b-day party last weekend. It was kind of an experiment, but they were a huge hit! This is a variation on a Rachel Ray recipe. Incidentally, I love her magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray. It’s chock full of recipes, unlike other cooking magazines. I made changes to the recipe to fit our tastes and to accommodate our low-lactose needs.
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 lbs new red potatoes (about 1.5 bags)
2 t salt
Pepper to taste
1 t Paprika
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1 1/4 c Sour Cream Substitute (IMO or regular sour cream)
1 1/4 c Grated Swiss Cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and pierce each once with a fork. Wearing latex-free gloves (if you like), coat each potato with a thin layer of Crisco. Bake on a jelly roll pan for 40-45 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool at room temp approx. 45 minutes. Cut each in half. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop the insides of the potatoes unto a mixing bowl. Replace all but 10 of the halves back onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the skins on the baking sheet with 1/2 t salt.
Add remaining salt, pepper, garlic, and 1/2 t paprika to the potatoes in the mixing bowl. Add cheese and sour cream and mash potatoes with a mixer until desired consistency (I like them a little chunky). Scoop potato mixture into a gallon Ziplock bag, cut out one corner, and squeeze potato mixture into the skins on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the potatoes with remaining paprika, return to oven. Bake 20 minutes and serve!
This makes a huge batch that will serve a crowd. Perfect football food.
October 3, 2007
I’m SO nervous I can’t stand it right now, so in an effort to distract myself I’m blogging. CTD is at a 3rd-round interview for a director-level job at an agency. With about an hour’s notice this morning (while I was away at tumbling with LR), he had to put together a media strategy and plan for a b2b client to present to the agency COO. That’s just not possible! Well, it’s possible to pull something together, but not a plan worthy of a new biz presentation. So, he told them he’d do his best with the time allotted and he left with an outline. I hope that’s good enough! I guess that if they’re not reasonable to understand what can be pulled together in a matter of an hour or two with very limited information, then he doesn’t want to work for them anyway. We’ll see! He’s honestly not sure he even wants this job, but it might be a great opportunity. Cross your fingers for him!
October 2, 2007
Today is Little Ro’s 2nd birthday! To celebrate we went to the zoo, just as we did on his 1st birthday. He had a ball! He walked pretty much the entire time, so he should be good and tired this afternoon. His favorite exhibits were the elephants and Asian Highlands–and the construction workers with their big tractors. Yes, you read that right. Hogle Zoo is doing major construction, adding some interesting new exhibits.
Now he’s laying in his bed calling out “fries, fries…” which is probably a fairly accurate representation of my parenting skills. Oh well.
We celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a train party. All things trains–specifically Thomas! It was a really fun party for the adults and kids. It was freezing and pouring rain, but we grilled burgers, brats, and hot dogs. I made these yummy twice-baked potatoes (I’ll post the recipe). They were a huge hit! I’ve decided that I need to have more parties, especially in light of football season. It’s just an excuse to make good food and hang out with family and friends. And did I mention eat?
I ordered what turned out to be the world’s largest cake from Dick’s market. It was SO cute! Complete with a little Thomas that drove around a track on top!
The kids loved the pinata. Little Ro’ was so excited that he wouldn’t actually hit it, but we managed to get it open anyway.
Little Ro’ received so many darling gifts, it’s definitely time for a toy clean-up around our house! We’re being over-taken! But I have to give a shout-out to 2 particular gifts. First, my mom managed to find this cash register at Toys R Us. It’s the exact same cash register I had as a child! It’s a HUGE hit! I highly recommend it. Also, Little Ro’ has a little-known obsession with sprinklers. It doesn’t matter if they’re on or off, he just loves sprinklers. I’m afraid we might have a future landscaper on our hands. So, his Gpa “B” made him this:
CSI–complete with sprinkler head! I’m afraid to say he’s totally obsessed. Sigh. If only I could really understand the 2-year-old mind.