Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallows Eve...circa 2000

Emma is working on some pretty scary chemistry homework tonight and passing out a few treats before heading out to a late evening rehearsal and Finn disappeared after school to spend the evening watching horror movies with friends.  We have a nice pot of chili on the stove, a few friends stopping by for drinks and a gigantic bowl of candy for hoards of trick-or-treaters, but something about Halloween feels a little different this year. Every one is so darn grown up and busy that I was the only person in our family to carve a pumpkin last night.  I love how time moves forward, but tonight I had to subtract twelve years just for a second; back then I would have been spending the night with a tiny snugly elephant and monitoring the sugar intake of an exuberant Madeline!  

Happy Halloween!

Eek from the Elsmo Four!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday on the Pitch...

Now, that is quite the hair flourish!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Link...

It's no secret that I love the dark side of Halloween!  If you are looking for some devilishly delicious dishes to serve on All Hallows Eve check out my column this week HERE.
Boo and Eek!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Standing Up.

I nannied for these three gorgeous little girls while I was in high school and they were just seven, four and one when I started.  All three of them were (and still are) totally unique and knowing them  has transformed me as a person and influences the type of parent I am to this very day.  Keeping tabs on all of their achievements as they have grown into impressive adults has been a true joy in my life. All three of them stood up for me in my wedding and I pulled this picture out today because of a pretty profound blog post.  Written by the middle sister, I encourage you to read her thoughtful words HERE and consider how they may impact your vote in upcoming election.  Molly stood up in my wedding and I will surely cast my vote to stand up for hers.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Starting the 100th Year...

Tonight officially marked the start of the Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery's centennial year of service offering nurturing childcare and preschool education for families in the community.  The historic building was all shined up for the occasion and the committee, board, and staff put on a lovely little party to celebrate the start out year of festivities!  I am certainly quite proud to be a part of the special group of people supporting the Day Nursery through this year full of milestones.

Little Sip

As part of the creative array of appetizers we put together for the Day Nursery kick-off event, these little chicken soup shots were among my favorite.  Even though chopping all of the vegetables for this simple soup rubbed my rugged kitchen hands raw, they were a whimsical celebration of childhood and quality child care.  Each and every dish we served linked to a decade the Day Nursery has been open like this...

It really was a fun little party!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stage Bound

It feels like a lifetime ago that I  portrayed the absolutely wacky and utterly lovable Essie Carmichael in the hilarious stage play, You Can't Take it with You. The candy making, love-sick, wanna-be ballerina was my favorite among all the varied roles I played during my theatrical years at Homestead High school.

It came as quite a surprise last week when Emma came home and informed us that she was planning to audition for a play at OPRF.  Emma is no stranger to dancing on stage, but she has never expressed an interest in acting before. OPRF has a pretty competitive theater department, but despite what she thought were long odds, we were nothing but supportive of her goal; she had a great attitude about the whole thing.  Her first audition lead to a call back and guess what?
This lovely young lady will be an all verbal version of a ballerina as she portrays Essie Carmichael in OPRF's production of You Can't Take it with You this coming December!  I cannot even tell you how amazing this full circle moment feels!  I think she is going to have the time of her life!
Emma we are so proud of you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Little Soup/Big Flavor

Roasted Butternut and Macintosh Soup
with Curry and Four Indian Flavors

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sunny Puppy.

We never deny the strange and downright quirky nature of the littlest Elsmo; she really is a naughty dog.  Lucy has been so darn cute these days though, it is impossible to think she could ever do anything wrong!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chinatown Girls

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Homecoming 2012

 Emma and one of her besties, Madison, got all dolled up and headed to the annual homecoming dance on Saturday night.  I think they both looked a million bucks and their single ladies confidence  made them look even more beautiful!  They danced until their feet were blistered and worn out and could stop smiling after they got home.  They both loved the DJ, fog machine and seeing so many of their friends dressed to the nines.  It should be noted that Emma has decided this dress is her favorite of all time!  It was a really good twirler.

A Lovely Evening...

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Sometimes the things you discard when making a dish are as pretty as the final product.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Running Scared?

Whenever Finn plays under the lights I end up taking some interesting pictures, but this one sort of cracked me up.  It looks like the Red Wedge is running from a ghost rather than toward a soccer ball.  I guess that makes sense considering Halloween is right around the corner!

Evolution of a salad...

I am not sure how many folks know how long I work on dish before I deem it "finished," but this one has taken nearly two years to shore up.  This little salad featuring radishes  watercress, olives, goat cheese, citrus and lavender started rolling around in my mind long before it made its rudimentary debut at an LGC dinner in March of 2011.  I subsequently revisited the dish at a lovely dinner in April of 2011 and again in February of this year, but the final two tweaks happened in the past couple of weeks.  I took a little inspiration from my friend Andrew, of Houndstooth Vintage, whom I've always admired for placing beautiful items under glass and from my friend Ang, who introduced me to Vom Fass vingars.  Suddenly this little dish is ready for a week-end revival!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Handsome Fellows...

...hanging out at a wedding in Wisconsin.
Photo Credit to Stephanie Shanks
Thanks for sharing this amazing photo Niki!

Monday, October 8, 2012


The Finnman stubbed his toe playing soccer this morning and wound up with his foot in a boot this afternoon.  His toes don't appear to be broken, but Finn is pretty sore and hobbling around the house.  He'll have to have it checked out again in the next couple of days and we'll go from there.  
This was quite a curve ball to say the least!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Emma in the Woods...

Big Cooking!

Once again, my trusty team and I pulled off a pretty big event at Unity Temple to benefit the Oak Park Regional Housing Center.  We churned out a couple thousand appetizers for a couple hundred guests on Friday night and barely broke a sweat!  I just love that we have hit our stride and still have fun at the same time!

Thanks Patty, Oliver, Heather, Midge, Rhonda and Kelsey! 
I couldn't have done it without you!

Pretty Succulent...

This lovely gift from my friend Aim makes me smile every day!
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