Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lucky Us...

Over the course of the past year, I have been working on a commemorative cook-book  celebrating the one hundred years of service the Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery has provided to children and families in our community.  Yesterday, I was gifted this gorgeous flan to photograph for the book.  The dish was included as part of the Day Nursery's 1991 progressive dinner and house walk called Sol Mare e Terre and the recipe is included in the commemorative cookbook.  Let's just say, I didn't have to force my family to eat it!  Volunteering is just too easy sometimes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lazy Day Justification...

So...Emma, Finn and I are hunkered down and snuggled up. 
We are still in our pajamas watching movies and have decided to make nothing more than waffles for dinner.  We are exhausted from the past three weeks and feeling a little blue that such a fun part of our summer has come to an end, but even so we felt like we should justify why we deserved a day to do absolutely NOTHING at all!  So here it goes...
Our Lazy Day Justification List
2 trips to the international airport terminal at O'Hare, 1 hand-made welcome sign, spaghetti and meatballs, 1 patriotic fireworks display, 1 back yard cook-out, pulled pork sandwiches, countless heated games of ladder golf, too many coca colas, seeing Chicago via train, boat, bus, cab, and feet in a single day, 2 Ferris wheel rides,  1 frenetic dim sum lunch, 1 package of candy cigarettes, 3 trips to millennium park, lots of reflective photos with and of the bean (Cloud Gate) and more than a few splashes in Crown Fountain, ball park hot dogs, 2 Chicago Fire games, 1 pig roast, 1 batch of homemade moules frites, 1 rainy day trip to Oak Brook, 1 Abercrombie tee-shirt, 2 Holister hoddies, 1 pair of Converse All-Stars, 1 rainy walk through Oak Park,  1 trip to Marshalls, 1 double cheese burger, picture on the cover of the local paper, more than a couple mocha-frappuccinos, 8 films (Pitch Perfect, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Cabin in the Woods, This Means War, Whip it, The Woman in Black), 1 tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, 1 “no sleep required” all-American sleepover, 1 batch of “I’m scary” Jiffy Pop, 1 tour of OPRF High school, yep, another hot dog for lunch, 1 trip to Iowa City, 4 viewings of Hubbard Street’s dance piece Untouched, 1 hotel sleepover with a room full of dancers, 1 trip to free Lucy from doggy jail, 2 sisters supporting their little brother at a soccer tournament, lots of chewing at the Taste of Chicago (pot stickers, funnel cake, lamb burgers and tacos), photos by Buckingham Fountain, 1 hipster concert featuring The Mowgli’s and Neon Trees, 1 trip to Reckless Records, 2 pancake breakfasts, 1 photo booth fail, Robie House, Rockefeller Chapel, and the Booth School of business, 1 tour of UofC and UCMC, 1 swag bag, 1 pizza party at Nonna’s house, 1 Ikea chair assembly, 1 tour of the Chicago Filmworkers club, cooking class at Flavour Cooking School, 3 Americans teens meet up with French friends for shopping in the city, 1 very hot and sunny day at the Oak Park pool, 1 melted ice cream cone and a shake from Hole in the Wall, more burgers and dogs at a neighborhood cook-out, time "chilling out" at the park, 1 visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo, 1 lazy afternoon at North Avenue Beach, 1 Shakespeare in the park production of 12th Night, lots of French braids, 1 trip to the county fair, 8 whirling rides, 5 corn dogs, 1 root beer float, too many cows, pigs, sheep and chickens, 1 midnight chocolate cake, 1 neighborhood Puerto Rican Party with dresses and loads of bright red lipstick, 1 ride in a 1977 GMC motorhome,  1 breakfast tailgating experience, 1 White Sox game, 1 blue icee, yep, another hot dog, 1 batch of home-made steak frites and countless Brittany crepes, 103 floors to the top of the Willis tower observatory, 5 passes to the Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1 photo of American Gothic, Family dinner at The Purple Pig on the magnificent mile, One Repulic at Ravinia, 1 Thanksgiving turkey, 1 midnight dance party, countless catch phrases like: quatre squirrels, fer shiz, aaiight!, and gimme some dap.  1 very teary airport goodbye and a priceless collection of memories.
Phew!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Au Revoir Elise...




It is hard to imagine just three weeks ago we hadn't even met Elise and today we experienced a super teary airport goodbye; she fit so seamlessly into our lives that it is impossible to imagine she won't be here in the morning.  From the moment we met her, Elise's intelligence, humor, inclusiveness and loving spirit made her feel like a part of our family. Seeing the city we love so much through her eyes was an unforgettable adventure and one we will treasure for years to come.   All of us are hopeful that our paths will cross again, but we have loads of happy memories to sustain us until that day comes.
Bon Voyage!

Thanksgiving in July...

 We couldn't imagine a more fitting end to Elise's time with our family than by enjoying an authentically American Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  We served up turkey with all the trimmings and even let the kids have the dining room table to themselves so our trio of French guests could get the full effect of the holiday.









After dinner, the kids played board games, watched movies and had a dance party!  They even camped out in the living room in sleeping bags overnight.  Seeing them all spread out and snuggled in for the night it was clear everyone was trying to make the most of their last few hours together.  It was such a beautiful an bittersweet night.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Art, Swine, and a Big View...


 The Art Institute of Chicago is home to the second largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world.  Only the Louvre in Paris, France holds more.  It seemed only fitting to put our membership pass to good use today and share our favorite museum with our French friend.


 After viewing paintings and sculptures galore, we walked to The Purple Pig to enjoy some spirited and flavorful communal dining.  The Pig has been a longtime favorite of mine and our plentiful selections tonight did not disappoint.  We loved the sweetbreads, turkey leg, octopus and cauliflower most especially, but then again everything tastes better in such grand company!


 With very full bellies, we headed to the Willis Tower and rode the 103 floors up to the observatory.  We had to be sure Elise had the chance to take in this spectacular view of the city we love!  From high in the sky, we were able to point out all of the places we've been in the last three weeks and it became abundantly clear that Elise has seen Chicago from top to bottom!




Sunday, July 21, 2013

Steak Frites...

On the menu tonight?
Family style steak frites. 
And Elise said my frites were as good as her grandmother's!
How about that? 

Supporting the Sox...

This afternoon we all headed down to US Cellular field to take in the White Sox game.  Tailgating in a totally tricked out 1977 GMC motorhome (yep, this one) and tossing bean bags before the game kept everyone's attention, but the game proved to be  a little boring to the kids.  Elise determined that baseball is probably much more fun to play than it is to watch and I have to say I totally agree!  We all concur that hanging with our friends in the parking lot was so much fun that it couldn't even compete with America's past-time!







Midnight Moelleux Au Chocolat...

 I will preface this indulgent post by saying that we really had super healthy grilled salmon and steamed asparagus for dinner this evening.  Of course, we ate our nutritious supper while a stunning chocolate cake was baking in the oven.  Elise brought the recipe with her from France and I won't even tell you how much butter went into the darn thing!  By the time the girls mixed, baked and cooled the cake it was pretty close to midnight.  I honestly can't  remember having a better late night snack in a very long time!





Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Kane County Fair...

Today we spent the afternoon at the Kane County Fair.  Something about looking at all those farm animals, taking a twirl on the tilt-a-whirl and chomping on a corn dog makes for an absolutely perfect day in my book!  Elise tasted her first root beer float, Finn learned he gets a little queasy on rides, and Emma fell in love with sheep all over again!  We loved every minute we spent in the country today.















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