Upcoming Travel: Girl’s Weekend in Chicago!

Last December, my mom, sister & I spent a long weekend in New York City.  This was the first time that we all traveled together, out of state.

It was magical – the entire city was decorated for Christmas; holiday spirit filled the air & us small-town Wisconsin girls had a blast, squeezing in every major “must see thing” to do in NYC on our list.

We vowed to make these Girl’s Trips an annual thing.

This year, we have decided to spend our Second Annual Girl’s Weekend, in Chicago.  We are leaving in a couple weeks, and I’d love to know what else we should put on our list.  So far, our agenda looks like this:

+ Architectural River Cruise
+ Sky Deck @ The Willis Tower
+ Millennium Park: Crown Fountain & Cloud Gate (better known as "The Bean”)
+ Navy Pier
+ Magnificent Mile shopping
+ Improv show??

What are we missing?  Any must-see things we should do, see, or eat while in the windy city?
I’d love your input! 

P.S. -- You best believe I will be taking my selfie stick along.  Zac will be so proud.

Happy Sunday.

How to harvest & store onions -- something that we will need to brush up on very soon as our garden is exploding with onions!

Kelle did a Back to School theme party, and it turned out adorable, per usual :)

Reasons to use a slow cooker overnight vs. all day while your at work.

Does anyone have an orchard rack?  I'm thinking about putting one one my wish list to store said onions & other garden veggies.  Or maybe this kitchen cart organizer -- it's cheaper & basically the same thing? Or is this hanging apparatus better?  Ahhh, the possibilities.

Bay Beach

Continuing right along with recapping our “kid’s weekend”… (you can read about our ice cream date here & our park/beach fun, here)

My summer list said “take my niece & nephew to Bay Beach”, so totally ignoring that it was hottest, most humid day of the entire summer thus far, we drenched the kids in sunscreen, packed some Gatorade, and off we went.

Bay Beach was busy – it was Saturday, mid-morning & apparently everybody & their brother had the same idea as us.  We got $10 worth of tickets (such affordable fun!) & stood in line for the beloved train.

Halfway through the train ride, Kane’s eyes got awfully heavy & I thought “oh great, he’s gonna fall asleep & miss the whole dang experience!”  He fooled me though, and even got an extra pep in this step after riding the merry-go-round.

Next up, the swings!

Not everyone enjoyed the swings... look at that poor little girl to the left of Elena.  She screamed the entire ride :(

Do you notice a theme to the color of the rides?  They HAD to be yellow.  Because yellow is Elena's favorite color, of course.

By 12:30, I had sweated through my shirt & the kids were getting whiney, so it was time to head into the air conditioning & feed their little bellies.

It was Subway, upon request, and let me just proclaim – hats off to all the mom’s out there who do outings by yourself with more than one child…  I made the kids wash their hands before eating while Zac ordered our lunch.  We all went into the ladies bathroom & while I was helping Elena wash her hands, Kane somehow managed to touch every single crevice of that bathroom.  Seriously, kid?

Here’s me… “Kane, no – that’s yucky.” “Kane, please don’t touch.”  “Kane, NO.”  “KANE, STOP TOUCHING THE TOILET!”  After E’s hands were washed, I told her to stand like a statue & NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.  So, what does she do?  Plays with the swinging top of the garbage can.  Uhg, #Fail.

After we all washed our hands 3 times, we enjoyed our lunch & napped on the way home.

Park & "Beach" adventures.

After our ice cream date, we took the kiddos to the park, to burn off some energy.

Zac & I had my niece & nephew for the whole weekend, so we had plenty of ideas up our sleeve to keep them busy, since our house isn’t very kid friendly.

Elena says to me, “So, KK (they call me "Kay-Kay") – do you have any like, kid toys?" "Like a ball, or bubbles, or Barbies?”

Sorry hun, I don’t…

I do however have an antique rotary phone, an antique typewriter, & a tv remote control -- their top three favorite “toys” at auntie’s house.

So thank goodness for parks & play grounds – they provide endless amounts of entertainment & smiles.

This park is right next to the water, so before we left, we searched for shells.  Elena found a few, which she wouldn’t let go of -- all night -- but mostly we just got an overabundance of zebra mussel shells stuck in our shoes.

Crunch, crunch, crunc
h – the sound of walking on the shells; “where’s the sand, KK?!”

 Oh, we did find a couple dead fish too.  Bonus points on the cool meter for uncle Zac.

They thought it was way cool watching uncle Zac skip rocks in the water, “do it again!”  “Do it again!!”

With the sun setting on the horizon, it was time to empty our shoes & head back home.

We ended the evening with baths and a brief showing of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, all snuggled in our bed.

What a perfect Friday night.  Did I mention being an auntie is the best? 

Current Happenings.

Post idea inspired by Emily's 'Five Things' posts, at Cupcakes & Cashmere.
(a great way to stay active behind the camera, to document the little things)

Bella, my puppy niece. 

Mini chocolate chip zucchini bread

Mini chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Crescent Beach in Algoma
Beach views.

Kane sprinkler fun

Running through the sprinkler -- pure joy on a hot & humid summer day.

Sunflower from farmers market
Farmer's market blooms.

Happy Sunday.

The secret-ingredient that will make your lemonade over-the-top yummy.

Have you tried sulfate-free shampoo?  I think I'm making the switch to see if it yields any results.

These office makeovers have me itching to do finish mine.

Recipes to help you eat up that entire watermelon.

Tips on creating beautiful chalk calligraphy -- so wish I had this talent.

Make: Pizza Loaf.

In addition to this baked chicken fajita, another staple in our weeknight dinner rotation is Pizza loaf.

Of course, the recipe comes from my favorite cookbook, Taste of Homes Most Requested Recipes, and the recipe can also be found here.

Bread dough


What I love about this, is that you can customize it to your liking, adding whatever toppings you desire, & the left-overs are just as good as the first time around.

spice and egg wash

making pizza loaf

brush on egg wash

And, it's kinda fun to make :)

Pizza loaf

Buon Appetito!