Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturday Night Brisket...

Last night we spent a lovely evening at Rick and Rachel's.  Our delight in spending little more time with Claire and a host of other lovely folks was totally enhanced by the dinner itself.  As always the setting was relaxed and beautiful.  Rick smoked a brisket, Texas BBQ style, low and slow for 14 hours; the result was nothing short of spectacular!  I mean, just look at this piece of meat...

We just adore nights like this one.
Relaxing and delicious are two of my all time favorite things in the world!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday Campers...

This evening I am hosting a little meeting to plan our annual Labor Day camp out with friends.  It hard to imagine that these two happy campers have been tent camping with us for more than a decade. Finn, now a hip high schooler, used to wear footed pajamas in the woods and practically ate his weight in s'mores annually.  Emma developed an insane love for spray cheese and  Chicken in a Biscuit crackers while hanging around the campsite and to this day no camp-out is complete in our books without a copious supply of these two essential ingredients. To make matters  even more sentimental, this will be the last year Emma will join us on our annual camping adventure.  If all goes according to plan, she will be tucked away in a college dorm at this time next year.  Needless to say I am looking forward to making the most of our trip this year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Unbelievable!  I blinked and she was heading out the door to begin her final year of high school at OPRF.  Emma will have loads of big and difficult decisions to make in the coming months, but this is sure to be an extraordinary year for her and our entire family!  So proud of my girl!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shamrock Selfie...

It is hard to believe that Finn is a freshman in high school, but today he jumped into the next chapter of his life with both feet this morning!  We are incredibly proud of his choice to attend Saint Patrick's High school and he officially had the "best first day ever!" He expects the good shamrock vibes are here to stay!  
Shamrock Pride!

Chinatown Outing...

 This afternoon we pulled together a group and headed to Chinatown for a little dumpling fix.  Claire picked up some gifts for her family and I found some cute jewelry in a teeny tiny shop.  We wandered around before heading to Ming Hin for some dim sum.

While we appreciated the vivid full color menu at the restaurant and despite being intrigued at the prospect of ordering the head-on chicken we opted instead to keep our orders more in line with traditional dim sum fare. These pan fried green chive cakes were utterly perfect!
 We had such a lovely afternoon!
It was hard to parts after such fun.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Day with Claire...

We stared our day with a lovely brunch.  I cooked an array of dishes for Nancy and a duo of her Wisconsin friends including a lovely poached salmon, yogurt parfaits, deviled eggs and heirloom tomatoes.  Claire whipped up a delectable cake called Far Breton for dessert.  It had a delightful custard quality and we all adored her contribution to our Sunday brunch!
We left all the dirty dishes in the sink and headed into the city to make the most of a beautiful afternoon.  After taking Claire, an architecture student,  on tours of the Peter A. Beachy House and The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio earlier in the week-end, we know we had to round out our tours with a visit to Robie House on the  University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park.

The home is undergoing an extensive interior renovation, but it is truly spectacular.  I am embarrassed to admit this was my first visit to Robie House, but it was totally worth the wait; the property truly is a prairie style masterpiece.

We wandered through Rockefeller Chapel and Leif pointed out some of the highlights to Claire and it turned out that we'd unexpectedly walked into a bell ringing concert.  The Rockefeller Carillon's playing cabin is located at the top of the tower (235 step up a very narrow winding staircase) and the impressive instrument  controls 72 bells.  Installed in 1932, it is the largest musical instrument ever built! 

Carillonneur, Julia Littleton, plays Preludio No. 10.

Walking up an additional 3 dozen steps landed us at the very top of the tower and allowed all of us to take in the sweeping panoramic views.  We had no idea we would end up perched over the city, but it was such a treat to discover this  new view of Chicago with our newest French friend!

Our day ended with a fantastic dinner at A 10 and ice cream treats at Kilwin's!
Tres Bien.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Moules Frites on Repeat...

 Last year our adorable French friend Elise taught me to make moules frites and we fell head over heels in love with her favorite vacation dinner.  Tonight I made moules frites with homemade baguette and salt butter for a very special house guest.  Elise's sister Claire is visiting Chicago  from Nantes, France and spending several days with out family.  
How cool is that?
 I love a good full circle moment and this was one of the best ever.  Considering we live an ocean away I am constantly delighted by how connected our families have become.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mirror Image...

Frenchies famously love their own reflection and Fitz proved he is more than typical for the breed last night.  I stood him up in front of the bathroom mirror and he just couldn't over how good-looking his mirror image was.  I literally had to tear him away he was so riveted by his likeness.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Dog to puppy proportions are all out of whack around here.  
Fitz is just over five months old and his head and ears dwarf our little dog to the point they both are starting to look like cartoon characters to me.  I think they make quite a funny looking pair!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Music Memories...

  I was in high school when I saw the video for "Silent All these Years" on MTV.
After seeing the video I immediately scraped together what little money I had and made a bee-line for the nearest record store to buy a copy of Tori Amos' debut album Little Earthquakes.  My love for her music has endured throughout my life... Under the Pink, From the Choirgirl Hotel, Tales of a Librarian and every album  in between  became part of the sound track of my life. Sure I am pushing 40, Tori Amos is 50, and Little Earthquakes just celebrated its 20th anniversary, but there is just something  timeless about her riveting and vulnerable melodies; I cherish every one.
Last night Leif and I headed out to get a little Tori fix.
While Tori Amos has an brand new album (Unrepentant Geraldines) to promote, she didn't focus on her newest work last night.  Instead, the opulence of the Chicago theater and the quietly appreciative crowd provided the perfect venue for Tori Amos to perform a gripping show filled with some of my favorite songs. Winter and Tear in your Hand stood out from Little Earthquakes 1992) while "Father Lucifer," "Hey Jupiter" and "Blood Roses" from 1996's Boys for Pele were the most enchanting standouts from the two hour concert.  Sharing a date night going down a musical memory lane is memorable to say the least.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Airport Goodbyes...

 Saying good-bye is never easy, but meeting Camille and her French travel companions was a wonderful experience!  I truly hope we will meet again.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Last Supper...

We decided Camille's last supper in Chicago should be a memorable one.  On the heels of attending the White Sox game at The Cell we headed back into the city for dinner at The Publican. We ordered as many dishes as possible and made sure our guest finished her dinner with a chocolate pudding.  We imagine Chicago will hold a sweet spot in her heart and  this dinner was the perfect end to memorable three weeks.
We are going to miss this girl.

The Life of the Party...

Fitz  received more than his fair share of attention at his first Thanksgiving feast, but this party animal is pooped today. I think he is looking forward to a lazy day as much as the rest of us are!

French Thanksgiving in August...

 Having a gaggle of French students invade Oak Park gave our family ample room to celebrate and hosting an all-American Thanksgiving in August seemed like the perfect way to show our gratitude for such a memorable few weeks.  We cooked up a duo of huge birds and got our gobble on!  It was a feast of the first order and we lounged in the yard until the candles glowed and our tryptophan induced comas wore off.

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