Monday, April 29, 2013


The Color Run was a wet, messy success this year!  Since it was wet, that meant my phone refused to take pictures.  I am waiting to get pictures of our madness from all my other running partners.  My favorite part of this trip was being in southern Illinois in the couple of weeks where everything is so bright in color.  It feels magical to look at.The fact that it was overcast made the new buds and all of the grass pop even more.

Clara has never experienced this before and was mesmerized.  Maybe it is from the lack of grass the kid has seen in general but once we turned onto the country roads (from the interstate) and started passing wheat fields, she exclaimed to me,

"Oh Mama!  Look at all that grass!  Oh my!  Look at all the grass they have here!"

Mama and I on the way to the race.
We are still very clean and very warm in this picture.

  I am still in recovery mode from all the sleep I didn't get with my travelling and trying to see as many people as possible.  However, today was the first time we have had a clean bill of health/warm weather in our house so it has been back to the tri training all morning for me. Tomorrow I am getting a kid seat to go on the back of my bike (another thing I swore I would never do).  This weather and the need to up my training is just begging Clara and I to get to the lakefront!

AND - the most exciting part of my Monday......Today after Clara's kid's yoga class......


(Not even when it was time to leave!!!!!)

Small Victories in my house today.  
I will take them and I will LOVE them!

Her "I'm a big girl I didn't cry" prize.
Judge me if you will.
Bribing is one of the only tools I have that works.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Color Run

We are packing up to go to our 2nd annual family Color Run tomorrow!  I'm super duper excited, I haven't seen my Mama in months!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Southern Accent

A.  Nobody told me that teenage girls eat JUST AS MUCH as teenage boys.  Sometimes, when I am putting her dinner plate down, I feel like if I don't get my arm out of the way, it too will be devoured.  I have never seen such a small person with such a  ravenous appetite!

So to all my friends out there who are just now having babies - (and they are all having boys!) - Don't feel like you are the only one who is feeling the grocery bill blues!  The ones with the girls are feeling it too!

B.  The "why" monster has invaded Clara's brain.  I think I hear that question around 6 million times a day.

C.  We just came back from an amazing trip to Washington D.C.  I don't know what I was expecting to find there, but I didn't think I was going to love the area as much as I did.  I think the biggest breath of fresh air  was the fact that we were not in segregated areas.  (If you are not from Chicago you may not know this, but Chicago neighborhoods are so segregated it is sickening.  I almost feel I am doing my children a disservice raising them here.)

However, while I was in D.C. it felt like I was back in the south, People would sit on their front porches and everyone said hello to you, or was just generally pleasant   THAT does not happen in Chicago.  If someone on the street says hello to me I never stop to chitchat.  EVER.  There is always ulterior motive.  And it usually involves money.

Plus, we left Chicago in a cold and flooded state of emergency while Washington D.C. was warm, blooming and beautiful.  Our cab driver who took us from the airport had to think the Mister and I had both lost our minds since we both were hanging our heads out the window like a couple of dogs for the entire ride.

It was fantastic!

That night we ate at this fantastic BBQ joint called the Kangaroo Boxing Club.  

We highly recommend it!

But the reason of our trip was this...

(Congratulations K and D!)

We all had a wonderful time at your beautiful wedding!

Seriously?  Abe even joined in the festivities!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Happy Humpday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day is Every Day!

Happy Earth Day, folks!

It is sunny and beautiful here in the Windy City.  

The wee one and I decided there would be no better way to celebrate Earth Day then to stroll around the fabulous beaches and parks this city has to offer.

In case you are not sure of a proper way to celebrate Earth Day, we have a few suggestions:

 Smell every single flower you can find.....

Exclaim how beautiful every single one is.
(And mean it.)

Find some sand.

Make some adorable foot prints in it.

Find a beach,
Roll in the sand,
Run in circles,
Laugh maniacally.

Or you could be like our neighbor.....

(Who apparently hates the Earth but loooooves dogs.)

However you celebrate today, make sure it is done with love!

Maybe it is just because I haven't seen the kids all weekend, but I sure am feeling the love today!

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Box of Rain

The Mister and I are supposed to fly into Washington DC tomorrow.  Perfect timing, eh?  Between the heightened security and all this stinking rain Rhiannon is worried for us.  I had to remind her what will be, will be.  Since I don't have anything new and exciting to write about I will share a few pictures of the baby shower I hosted months ago.  It turned out so cute!

 The shower was for a girl whose nursery colors are a soft grey and pink.  I decided to make the shower elephant themed.  This is a painting I made for shower decor/present for the Mamma.

Beverage Station

Kids Table

PB&J cut out to look like elephants, juice box's and fruit and vegetable trays to look like Oscar the grouch and Elmo.  (Thanks pinterest!)  I also put some trays of toys under this that the kids could come and get as they pleased.  Best last minute idea ever.  Except next time, I will not be putting stickers in the trays!

Adult Food Table

Happy Humpday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I wanna hold your hand.

I read this blog post a while ago and now almost everything the wee one in my house does, mentally brings me back to the list.

Take last night, for example.  The Mister and I were jolted from our slumber because of a terrible, ear shattering wail that was coming from Clara's room.  I jumped out of bed and half ran-half stumbled into her room believing that I was going to find something incredibly harrowing. 


  •  a fire.  
  • Or a real life boogie man.  
  • Or at the very least, maybe she had an accident and peed the bed.  
  • Or had a nightmare and fell out of the bed.  
  • Maybe she hit her face in her sleep and her nose was bleeding.  
  • Maybe there was a giant spider on the wall.  

All of these terrifying possibilities were running through my head in the 8 seconds it took me to get from my room to hers.

I would have accepted any of these as valid reasons for her screaming.  

However, when I went into her room I found her and the dog both sitting on her bed (much like this, except in the dark),

And she said in a very calm and plain voice, 

"Mama, give me cookies."


That was her reason for waking up an entire city block at 4 in the morning.  


I'm going to let you figure out who did NOT get cookies.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sausage Pizza Quinoa


To whomever left the delicious looking unopened bottle of Malbec at my house, thank you!  I will make sure it is put to good use!


I hate quinoa.

I have only found one recipe using the stuff  that I actually enjoy eating.  It is a buffalo chicken quinoa and I think I only like it because it is smothered in delicious frank's hot sauce.  

Yesterday the Mister asked if I could try and create a recipe using quinoa made to taste like Chicago deep dish sausage pizza.  This is my first attempt.  It was okay.....Rhiannon immediately stuck her nose up to it, but then gobbled down her entire bowl.  Clara even ate it, which these days getting her to eat anything that isn't called a cookie or cereal bar is nothing short of a miracle.

(There are a few steps in this recipe that involves using a food processer - which you can substitute a blender for and also a food mandolin.  If you don't have one of these just cut the onions very thin.  Also, at the end of this recipe I will add extra steps that I will be adding next time this is made.)

Sausage Pizza Quinoa

  • 10-12 basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 lbs sausage (I suggest using Italian flavored sausage)
  • 3 small onions
  • 24 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • quinoa

  1. When I make quinoa at our house I always use the rice cooker.  (Just a FYI:  You use the same water/grain ratio and the same program on your machine for white rice.  I used 3 cups of (dry) quinoa and 3 1/2 cups of liquid.  I always use water, I don't like the way chicken stock tastes when cooked into grains.)
  2. Fry up your sausage and set aside.  
  3. Using a food mandolin, cut the onions on the thinnest setting.  If you don't have one just chop them up really thin or only use one or two small or one medium onion.  I wanted them to be thin for a few reasons.  First, I wanted them to almost caramelize, second I wanted to hide them from my picky three year old. 
  4. Take your basil leaves and remove them from the stems.  Take the garlic out of the skins.  Add the basil leaves, garlic and olive oil in a food procceser and blend until it is a pesto consistency   I had to add a little bit of liquid from the tomatoes.  
  5. Add a bit of oil to your frying skillet.  Saute the onions and the pesto for about 3-5 minutes over medium high heat.  Your onions should cook down nicely.
  6. Add your tomatoes, (I'm loving that Costco FINALLY sells crushed tomatoes in glass jars!)  Add your chicken stock, (you can use water if you don't have any) the oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper and sausage.  Let simmer for 20-40 minutes.  (Or however long you want.  We only did it for ten, but that is because everyone was so hungry they were threatening to eat my leg.  Next time I will let it simmer longer.)  The best part of this recipe is how thick the consistency was with out having to add anything.
    Don't mind the dirty stove.  I'm a messy cooker.
  7. Mix the quinoa and sauce and enjoy!

Next time I make this:  
  • The Mister says I should add spinach and it will taste just like the deep dish pizza.  (The girls and I hate spinach so that will not be added.)
  • I will be adding green pepper.  I feel like it needs a little more of a crunch.
  • I will also be adding some garlic powder.  Probably 1 1/2 tsp.
  • If you don't have a dairy allergy - add cheese.  It will make this dish fantastic.
Let me know if you try this and how you changed it to your liking!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 5, 2013


I had been trying to quit that delicious, beautiful and glorious thing called "smoking" since my Grandpa was diagnosed with cancer over five years ago.

(Guilt and sadness doesn't seem to work for me.)

For some folks, quitting is as easy as tossing them away and never looking back.  I envy those people.  For me, cigarettes have always been more then just a dirty habit.  It literally had become part of my life.

If I was feeling sad?

I gave myself a cigarette break and got over that shit!

I'm exhausted?

I know just what to do! Smoke a cigarette and have a coffee.  

Happy or excited?

Let's smoke ourselves a cigarette and celebrate that shit!

Someone/thing piss me off?

I'm going to smoke a cigarette and plot out my revenge.......

Don't even get me started on when the libations break out.  It is so hard to abstain.

And here's the thing, once you have something become intertwined and so deeply rooted in your life, it becomes more then just a crutch or habit.

It becomes a sweet friend that is always there and never lets you down.  


Until the very end where it ultimately wins.  

Honestly, I first really started smoking so I could have a reason to go on "break" when I was cocktail waitressing.  I smoked Capri's, for goodness sake!  Those aren't even real cigarettes!  It was just an excuse to sit down for ten minutes!  

I was in complete shock, and quite disgusted with myself the first time I realized I actually depended so much of those little fire sticks.

 When I first started trying to leave my dear old friend behind, I remember another dear old friend, Britta, tried to help me by telling me how she quit it.

She even mailed me a paper she wrote on all the things that worked for her.
In this list she told me a few things that are LIES.  

LIES, I tell you!

1.  Once you quit smoking, you won't be able to stand the smell anymore.

I walk by the groups of exiled smokers and take long, deep breaths.  It smells so tasty.  
So tasty!

2.  If you get the urge for a cigarette, just go run around the block.  You wont want one after that.

I run/swim/bike every day.  Literally, every single day.  Almost immediately after I'm done I think about how tasty a cigarette would be.  

Every. Time.  

3.  It get's easier with time.

Like I said above.  I have been on this road of quitting for a very long time.  

It started out with no more smoking in the house.  This was the easiest part (which is saying something, since in Chicago we have a brutal 8 months of winter.)  I think the brutal cold made it easier to not smoke as much.  

When we decided to have Clara, I quit.  That was easy, as my body rejected even the smell of it.  I watched others use the patch so they wouldn't smell like smoke around me.

(This seemed to work for them, until they forgot to take it off at night.  Holy night terrors!)

After Clara was born, however, the want for a cigarette came back very easily. It has been so hard to try and not only be a good example for the girls, but to better myself in this journey of quitting.  I have not always been strong either.  When things get hard, or scary, or I am at my wits end I still turn to my most trusted friend. 

And to be completely honest, the threat of lung, throat and other cancers is not what eventually scared me away from my dear old friend, cigarettes.

The only thing that has been doing the trick is the threat of becoming an old, wrinkly, bag of a woman before my time. 

How vain is that? 

 But whatever works, and it is a work in progress.   

So to all my fellow trying to quitters out there, keep up the good fight!  I know I am.  Some days better then others.....and today I am missing that old cancerous friend of mine!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


It finally feels like spring outside!  

Clara is having her first bout of (non-life threatening) sickness in her life.  
Croupy cold and fevers all around the block!  

So while we snuggle, I will leave you with a song that always makes me think of spring and cruising the backwoods in Carbondale, finding baby lamb farms and watching the world turn green and explode with all the wildflowers......Come on warm weather!  Keep it up!

Happy Humpday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Truth Time

I'm the type of person who will get completely and totally swallowed up in good book series.  Even if the books are mediocre or borderline bad, my brain intertwines with the characters until I feel every emotion.

It is exhausting and fabulous, all mixed in one. 

I actually passed this trait onto my oldest daughter.  Throughout her life we have read many book series together.

The Lemony Snicket series.  The Lightening Thief series, His Dark Materiel books.  Etc etc.  

{However, I could never get her to start reading the Harry Potter books (My absolute favorite.  I cried like a baby in the seventh book.) I refused to read the Twilight series.  Her absolute favorite.}

Confession Time

Rhiannon has been asking me to read the Hunger Games series for over a year and a half now.  I always said yeah yeah yeah, I promise I will, but I secretly didn't want to for fear that it would be really really bad and I would have to pretend like I liked it.  However, after Rhiannon read The Hunger Games, she became a lot more aware and interested in politics.

Even throughout the past presidential debates she would make references to the "capitol".

The Mister and I knew we needed to read these books in order to talk politics with Rhiannon using references she would understand.  

I decided over spring break to bite the bullet, read the books and get it out of the way.

Rhiannon I owe you the world's biggest apology.

The Hunger Games have slayed me.


I read the entire series in three days and it only took me that long because I still had to do things like....

 Take care of Clara.  

And feed the mister.  

After I read the books I made the Mister watch the movie with me again.  Now I am back to reading the books, only slower this time.

I want to soak in every word.  

Feel every emotion.  

This book series is my new absolute favorite in the whole entire world.  
(I know I am about 5 years behind on jumping on this bandwagon.)

Rhiannon, I will never doubt your reading judgement again.
Unless it's twilight.

I think the Hunger Games beats the Harry Potter series.  
(And those are potential fighting words.)

Now, if you excuse me, I have some reading to do.