Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Couch Potato

Well this confirms it! I've always suspected that our Java girl watches her fair share of daytime television while I am out and about.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Feedback School of Music

When you are taking a drive past the brand new Open Door Theater on Ridgeland, be sure to check out the new logo in the window.  Pretty good looking, right?  Passionate Oak Parker, Midge Dinou, is busy making her dreams a reality and giving roots to Feedback School of Music in the Harrison Street Arts District.  If you are looking for a progressive approach to music lessons for children and adults alike, Feedback is the place for you!  The winter schedule is up on the Feedback blog and information about this worthy non-profit's upcoming fundraiser featuring This Must Be The Band at FitzGerald's can  be found HERE or simply purchase a ticket via TicketWeb.  I am thrilled to be an active supporter of this fantastic new addition to our vibrant community!  Check out a lesson first hand...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcoming Gala

I am lucky to have the opportunity to chef it up on a regular basis around town, but I don't write about it too often; if I did this blog would look the same every day.  Every once in a while, however, an event comes along that gets my creative juices flowing and I just have to share it!  I've partnered with Pilgrim Community Nursery School to provide the nibbles for their 1920's themed fundraiser in April.  Last night I served a few little tastes to the planning committee and I am more excited than ever to work on this festive event.  
Check out Pilgrim's Gala blog HERE and purchase a ticket.  It is bound to be a delicious evening for a great cause!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ladies Brunch

This afternoon Emma and I had the chance to head into the city for a ladies brunch at Kaberi's to celebrate our friend Cel's engagement! We dined on pistachio donuts, fruit, eggs, scones and poached salmon.  I cannot tell you how amazing it is to share the company of such extraordinary women and how fun it was to talk about wedding plans. 
 Kaberi put me  in charge of the scrambled eggs and just when I was about to ask where she kept her whisk, I opened a drawer and found six!

Even with all the ladies in the house the resident prince managed to keep his kingdom in good order!
Over all I cannot imagine a better way to spend a day.

The Throwdown.

I absolutely love people who will invite me over for a home cooked dinner. Believe me, it does not happen very often and the folks who do it know how much it means to me!  Last night, our friends the Petertils threw down a five course dinner for four guests and I was lucky enough to be one of them!  Considering what we've been eating as part of of our $20/day challenge the scallops and halibut were like eating a little piece of heaven.  Thank you for sharing this amazing evening with us! I went to sleep with visions of delicate dumplings, velvety cauliflower, and salted caramel in my head.

Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Dumplings

Hand Chopped Kale with Almonds, Currents and Parmesan in Lemon Vinaigrette
Cauliflower Puree, Scallops, Leek, and Lemon Oil
Halibut, Cabbage, Polenta, Mushrooms, Truffle Oil, Red Wine Reduction
Salted Caramel Budino

Thursday, January 19, 2012


When the temperatures drop below zero, Lulu is a chilly mess.  The only thing that keeps her happy is a warm sweater and a cozy blanket.  She looks totally pitiful, but she is just just so darn cuddly when winter hits it is hard not to love our wacky dog a little more than normal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Squeaky Clean

Today, my friend Ali posted a about successfully coaxing her adorable son to take a bath on his own.  Looking at August peacefully hanging out in the tub with his floating book, rubber ducks and bright blue bucket forced me to remember those enchanting days long ago when the simple joys of bath time made every day of my life just a little brighter...
...until it dawned on me that Emma always used to act like a sweet and loving big sister right before she'd attempt to drown her little brother.  Good times.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Battle for the Crown!

(Clockwise from the top left: Miss America 1973, Terry Meeuwsen, Miss America 1980, Cheryl Prewitt, Miss America 1981, Susan Powell, Miss America 1987, Kellye Cash. Images via missamerica.org)

 My mom and I always, without fail, watched the annual Miss America Pageant together when I was a young girl.  I  always assumed that she grew up watching pageant, too and our tradition was simply a natural extension of her youth, but in 1973, my father harangued my mother into attending a pre-season Packer game in the rain despite the fact her sorority sister, Terry Meewesen, was representing Wisconsin in the Miss America Pageant that evening.  My father proclaimed Terry a long shot to win and my mom was dismayed to learn that her sorority sister became the first Miss Wisconsin to win the Miss America crown while she was dripping wet and freezing to death in row 52 at Lambeau field.  I was born the following year and for as long as I can remember my mom and I would pop a bowl of popcorn and watch the pageant.  Every year, at some point she would tell me the story about missing the the 1973 crowning of Miss America. 
Now that I think about it, I suspect my mom's unwaivering commitment to viewing the pageant on a regular basis may have had less to do with an undying love for tiaras and  a little more to do with spite, but as a kid I never thought twice about it.

Through work, my Uncle Bill had the chance to meet a couple of Miss Americas and as a result, I had signed pictures of Miss America 1980, Cheryl Prewitt and Miss America 1981, Susan Powell prominently displayed on my bulletin board for years. In 1987, Kellye Cash won the title and I basically thought she was the most incredible woman I had ever seen,  After all she could sing AND play the piano! My mom even taped the short interview that aired on the Today show following her win on the VHS tape containing my coveted copy of Annie; I must have watched that interview a thousand times and just like it never bothered me that I had to fast forward through the commercials when I wanted to watch my favorite musical, 
it never bothered me that the first few minutes of Annie 
were forever lost to Kellye Cash!
I never wanted to be Miss America and over the years became more savvy about what most  pageants really represent, but for the sake of tradition our whole family watches Miss America every year. Of course we turn  our viewing party into a battle to wear a crown, too! Last night Leif won the the chance to wear the coveted alumninum foil crown by winning what we affectionately refer to as "The Lightning Round of Objectification."  When the contestants introduce themselves we all pick our top 15 based on looks  alone; Leif impressively picked 12 out of 15 finalists after one glance!  He didn't get to keep the crown for long though; Emma predicted  Miss Wisconsin would win it all  in the lightning round and Laura Kaeppeler took home top honors last night!  It was only the second time Miss Wisconsin has won Miss America since 1921.  
There she is; your ideal...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crafty Girls!

By the looks of my dining room table it would seem as if I had opened up a preschool day care in my house, but this sparkly mess is the result of three dedicated high school honors French students' efforts to complete a project for class.  They had to eat dinner in the family room and worked until close to 10pm, but they are a delight to be around.  I just love it when our house is full of all kinds of fun energy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snowy Day

Yesterday, I drove past our local elementary school and witnessed hoards of adorable children frolicking on the sunny playground without wearing coats!  It is hard to imagine that a mere 24 hours later those same kiddos are  wearing hats, mittens and boots!  Winter has officially arrived in Chicago!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Big Eyed Boy

I think it is unfair to other babies to add chubby cheeks to a face that already boasts the longest lashes in the land, but young Vikas seems to take his near criminal cuteness in stride.  My little man has been give a lion's share of good looks for sure!  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Budding Out?

I have to admit I was getting a little nervous that all of this unseasonably warm would cause our trees to bud out before winter even hit in earnest this year, but I wasn't at all prepared to find our Japanese Maple had sprouted a pizza blossom!  The sausage slice has been  hanging out near the top of the tree branches for days and days and even the most ravenous squirrels in the area haven't touched it.  I can't imagine how it got there!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Smile and Dash...

She flashed one smile before heading into the studio for  her very first rehearsal post surgery!  This was a very big milestone for our young dancer.

A Boy and His Dog

Nutcracker Connection

Our friendship with the Dwyers remains one of the greatest gifts Emma's years performing in the Nutcracker produced.  Yesterday we met up with our friends S and Mb for breakfast and a shopping trip to Motion Unlimuted.  It had been way too long since we'd last seen them, but it felt like no time had passed between us at all! What a perfect way to spend a sunny morning in  the city.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Sky Box...

...to see the Blackhawks!
By the looks of it Finn and Leif had an amazing boys' night out!

Just up the road...

My friend Angie is always posting pictures like this one as part of the inspiration files on her blog. She has insanely good taste and I  just love that she can imagine herself living in a host of intriguing places.  Only she doesn't have to imagine living in this house because it is hers!  And I couldn't think of a more perfect place for the Pfour to live.
The truth is I miss Ang a lot, but seeing her in this new and exciting space makes me so happy that my missing her doesn't seem to matter as much.  I adored visiting her today and just loved our easy flowing conversation; I can basically say or do anything around her...compare my relationship to Russian nesting dolls or fall out her back door...it is never boring when we're together.  I miss having her around the corner, but it is nice to know she lives in an extraordinarily cool house just up the road a ways.

The Old Homestead

This afternoon, I had the chance to take a quick drive by my last childhood home in Wisconsin. My parents designed and built this house in the late 1980's.  My mother, brother and I  drove past it every day after school during the year it was under construction...the foundation filled up with water and froze solid with a dead fox in the center, on "surprise we have cabinets day" I hit my head so hard on them that I actually saw stars, and on the day the house was painted my Mom sobbed in the car because it looked like the entire house was black.  Thankfully, the dark paint quickly faded and over time weathered into a lovely and warm mossy brown shade.  My bedroom had a pink tulip stencil border, I had my very first kiss at the end of the driveway, my brother and I  spent hours shooting baskets next to the garage, and the garden outside of the dining room window was full of a the rose bushes I bought my mom for Mother's Day. Obviously, the house  is a different color today, but it still looks pretty fantastic!  Clearly, my parents' taste can stand the test of time.


 While I spent the afternoon going down memory lane and hanging out with Ang, my mom treated Emma  to lunch and a shopping spree at Bayshore Mall.  She had a ball and looks like a million bucks, too!


"I've had so much homework over the past two weeks that I feel like I have been around you, but haven't really been with you."

(when considering her five hour per day  homework load over winter break)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lab Work

Emma is participating in a science competition in the spring and she and her lab partner are breeding a bazillion fruit flies for the occasion.  Emma is hosting the mutating little buggers in our house over winter break.  They are totally gross and a couple have escaped, but I just love seeing her scientific side at home.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Publican with Sally

Chef's Selection of Oysters
Frites with Louis's Eggs
Beets, Yogurt, Preserved Lemon, Candied Pecans
Cauliflower Gratin, Gruyere, Kale, Breadcrumbs
Brussels Sprouts, Burrata, Parmesan, Red Onion, Lemon
Benton Country Ham, Peasant Bread, Goat Butter
Country Ribs, Castelfranco Radicchio, Radish, Red Onion
Beef Cheeks, Oysters, Broccoli
Waffle, Honey Butter, Strawberry Preserves
Berry Crumble, Ice Cream, Almond, Orange
Lemon Meringue Pie, Chocolate Gelato, Almond Croquant

 This evening we enjoyed an outstanding meal at The Publican* with the kids.  The fare was remarkable, but our biggest treat was meeting up with Sally for dinner!  Fresh on the heels of her performance at the Peck School of the Arts she started a workshop at Second City; we couldn't resist stealing her for a bit while she was in town!  I find it hard to believe that I have a daughter who is taller than the baby I watched years ago, but seeing my girls together made my night!  We simply cannot wait until she comes to town again.

*Note: this was our first pre-planned exception exception to our $20/day commitment.
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