supper club

It's funny how the idea of food changes throughout your life. Babies are generally adventurous eaters, enjoying every new flavor they experience. Then you get all picky. Green things are gross, non-green things are equally gross. I think Lola ate 3 hot dogs the other day. Then time turns you into a college student where solids seem to take a backseat to liquids. Luckily, you move on from that and end up having kids of your own. You find yourself making curried peas and all of these wonderful things. Which takes me to this point in my life. Food has brought me friends. Food is a reason to gather together. To talk about the week, share experiences, laugh... and eat. I found friends who have inspired me with their passion for food and for life. We get together as often as possible, and for me, it's all about challenging myself to make things that are out of my comfort zone. And what I've realized is, I end up loving everything because it's not just the ingredients that went into it. It's the love, the effort, the time, the mistakes. It's an excuse to be with my friends and my kid's friends. I wouldn't give it up for the world. And if you just made it all the way through that introduction, thanks! I'm going to start to feature some of our "supper club" get-togethers. Here is our very first.

We started out with some cool cheladas while we watched the kids frolick.

The main dish was enchiladas, and they were amazing! A lot of love in those layers...

Dessert was a tart with pastry cream and strawberries. We have a pastry chef in the house kids. Be jealous, be very jealous.

Til next time!


christmas card outtakes

Garfield Park Conservatory has this fountain with a tile mosaic that is beyond words. I knew it would be perfect for the kids Christmas card photos this year, a cool 180 from last years pics.

We got some really great shots of the kids, but there are so many that make me laugh out loud that I just had to put all the outtakes in a post.

And just keepin it real- it's not always (ever) easy to get the good shots. You just try to make them laugh and click away for 10 minutes crossing your fingers you get good shots. Or you force them into position like this.

Are they cute or what? We even got some quick family photos with the tripod.


christmas gifts 2016

Per usual Christmas starts out with the best of intentions. Then December 22nd and 23rd come around and I am frantically making, sewing, baking... But then we celebrate and it's all a distant memory, only fun and laughs in that wine haze we all know and love. 

We did make some fun gifts this year, though. Like check out these cutting/serving boards John made. On his own. With his hands. We both wanted to keep the "living edge" of the boards, which created organic-looking shapes that I think pretty great. We treated them with a natural oil but gave a small dropper bottle with each board just to maintain a nice finish.

John is going to start an Etsy shop to sell more. We're toying with a good name- John's Wood just doesn't seem right... :)

I made jam, because duh. I found the recipe here, and let me tell you- try this. Make this recipe. You won't be sorry.

John's got a beard. My dad has a beard. My brother-in-law has a beard. So natch I made some beard oil. A friend of mine gave me this recipe and I followed it exactly because I don't have much experience with essential oils and didn't know what I liked. When I have some more time to experiment I might try other scents, but we all ended up liking this one. 

Another good Christmas in the books. Now to make room for the 648 new toys my lucky children received...


Design Sponge House Tour

A couple months ago something amazing happened... Design Sponge featured my home in their Before & After section! I wasn't exactly sure when the article would be published and one day when I went to their site, it was my dining room looking back at me! It was a pretty amazing feeling, I have to tell you. I have been reading Design Sponge since 2004, it was the first "blog" I had ever heard of. So, check one off my bucket list kids! 

Here's a little taste, but head over to Design Sponge to read the whole article.

Click here to read the whole post!


24 hours in chicago

John and I celebrated our 8th anniversary in June and just couldn't seem it get it together enough to plan a trip. I reeeeaaaaally wanted to get away though, so we planned a little staycation... one night in Chicago to try some of the places that have popped up since we had kids. It turned out to be an amazing couple days, so I thought I'd let you know where we went!

This hotel (slash hostel) has a laid back, bohemian vibe that definitely doesn't feel like downtown. It's fun and eclectic, with a great cafe and bar

We had some pretty amazing cocktails at the Broken Shaker. Mine was called shoots and ladders and had snap pea infused beefeater gin, chinese bitter melon shrub, aloe vera liqueur, and coconut la croix. You know I love me some la croix! John had a trail mix old fashioned and I can barely spell what is in it. Amazing.

We had a private room, which was small but cute. I really want to go back with the kids and book one of the bunk rooms.

Parsons Chicken and Fish
I had the most amazing drink here. Hominy beer with a shot of verdita. It's like nothing I have ever tasted and I need to make it right now. Besides that life changing moment, the chicken was delish and we had some fun playing ping pong. I was horrible and surprisingly John was too.

Heritage General Store
We like coffee. We (John) likes bikes. I've been wanting to check out Heritage for a while now and it was for sure a great hang.

Big Star
We made it to Big Star approximately 5 minutes before there was an incredible downpour.  Luckily we were outside watching it, under cover, drinking delicious margaritas and eating some unbelievable tacos. My favorite had mole spiced carrots, chipotle date yogurt, pumpkin and sesame seeds, almond and cilantro.

The Violet Hour
Right across the street from Big Star is the Violet Hour. The mural is ever changing and disguises the entrance. There is a strict no cell phone policy inside, so I can't show you, but it was dark and intimate with super high back chairs and amazing cocktails.

Doughnut Vault
The next morning we headed straight over to the Doughnut Vault, right by the merch mart. They do have a food truck you can track on Twitter, but we were closer to this location. It's really hard to go wrong with doughnuts and coffee. They are made fresh every day, always different kids, and when they sell through- they close up for the day!

Chicago Cultural Center
We had to work off a bit of doughnut, so we walked over to the Chicago Cultural Center. It is worth a stop if you have the time, and it's free!

Lillstreet Art Center
Ravenswood is one of my favorite streets in all of Chicago. It seems secluded, sandwiched between train tracks and rows of brick buildings. I will take any excuse to go there. Luckily, there are two must see places on the same block. The Lillstreet Art Center is one, which offers art classes of all kinds to young and old. Inside the same building is the gallery, which showcases the work of some local artists. It took a lot of willpower not to buy anything...

Architectural Artifacts
This place is amazing, and located right next to Lillstreet. Put it on your bucket list immediately. It has the weird, the cool, the mid century modern, the 18th century antiques. You can find everything from furniture to doorknobs... or a mummy. It doubles as an event space, John and I looked at it as a venue for our wedding, so you can admire the building along with the merchandise.

That was our 24 hour adventure! What are your favorite things to do in Chicago?
little mr moo.
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