Wednesday, May 28, 2008

pool party success

The pool party was a success. The kids loved being in the water, even though they had huge goosebumps and trembling lips. The temperature reached about 63. Not so bad for a pool party in Chicago in May. It could have easily been 98; it could have been 48.

I brought a dessert that was a huge hit with both the small and big people. Originally given to me as a recipe with the title "crunch bar", I see that it is also listed as "pine bark" if you are thumbing through a Paula Deen dessert cookbook. People love this one, and it travels sooo easy. I highly recommend it for the next event in which you need to bring a sweet but you just don't have time to bake cookies.

Crunch Bar/Pine Bark

35 saltine crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 6.5 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400. Line a 15x 10x 1-inch jelly roll pan with tin foil. Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place saltine crackers, salty side up, in prepared pan. In a saucepan, boil butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in almond. Pour over crackers and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven; top with chocolate chips. Spread chocolate evenly over crackers as it begins to melt. Cool in fridge.

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Soooo rich and delicious. I break the mold into bite-sized pieces and transport in a tupperware tub. Travels great. Tastes almost like a chocolate will love it and people will be amazed by your talent! Enjoy!! xox
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ready to swim

Tomorrow is the last day of my son's kindergarten year. It's not so hard to believe, though the year has gone fast. We've had our ups and downs this year. Mostly ups, but a good share of downs. And you know our plans for next year. Truth be told, I've been looking forward to the end of the year for awhile now.

I haven't been writing much lately but I am still here, and I read your blogs every day. We are getting ready to jump into a major cyclone that will spin us out of our life here and (hopefully) safely deposit us on the other side. However that will be, whenever that will be - I can't say. But over the next couple of months, our plans will crystallize somewhat.

So I might not be writing all that often...then again, maybe I will. Whichever way it goes, I'll check in with you and let you know how we are doing.

In the meantime, after school tomorrow there is a swim party at a fellow kindergartner's house. But did you know that it's currently 48 degrees in Chicago? Let's hope a warm-up is headed our way. You know kids, though...they will tell us it's not cold at all!
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Sunday, May 25, 2008

aren't we all?

From my inbox tonight - a message from a friend in the neighborhood to all of us living nearby:

Hi All!

Okay, so the the dirty little secret you may not know about me is that I am a totally obsessive Sex and the City fan who is anxiously awaiting the movie. I know most of you probably have to work, but are there any there any other SATC groupies who would like to join me for the Fri premiere at 10:15 AM? (I'll buy you a cosmo at lunch afterwards.)


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Seriously! This girl is not alone. Aren't we all obsessed SATC fans (is there any other kind?) Bummer I can't join her Friday. Hope she buys her ticket soon...before the show sells out!
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

dinner club

Saturday night was our turn to host our neighborhood dinner club. Dinner club is a big group around here, with 12 couples participating. We rotate who hosts as well as who goes each month, so that in reality the most people you could have during any given month is just half the group, 6 couples. This is our second year doing it and it's been a lot of fun. The women around here get together for bunco and also book club, but we don't see the guys on a regular basis. Dinner club has been a great way for them to meet each other.

My husband and I love to entertain, though we don't do it all that often. Our last turn hosting dinner club was last fall, when we had our tailgating party. We ended up inviting a lot of 'extra' people that night who we knew from our area but not necessarily our neighborhood, and ended up with a huge group. It was a lot of fun - a lot of work, but really worth it.

Given that we had such fun last time, it was kind of funny what happened this year when we saw that our month to host was coming up. My husband and I were so ho-hum about it! We dutifully chose a Saturday that would work and talked about what we should cook, but we didn't feel nearly as excited about it as we did last time, even though we love the group. I think there's just been so much going on with us over the last couple of months - talking about setting up our new life elsewhere, planning a move, dealing with the uncertainties of both the near and far future - the last thing we could focus on was on was having a party.

But then something wonderful happened. Of the couples we invited, only 3 (including us) could make it Saturday night. One couple was busy with an event for their church. One couple was having a family birthday party for their 4 year-old twins. One couple had a daughter come down with chicken pox. So what was left was just a party of 6. A small, intimate group that could fit perfectly at my dining table:

I guess a smaller group is what we had secretly been wanting. It was easy to plan something small and sweet, we could deal with that. And with cold/cloudy days lingering, I thought Saturday's menu could naturally focus on comfort food v. food that says wow. I even mentioned that to the group, when in an email last week I said the theme for the night would be "comfort food in a comfortable place". My favorite pasta dish, salad, bread, dessert. Add some wine and a tasty appetizer, and voila! Dinner is served.

It was a lovely evening, if I do say so myself. We sat on our porch for drinks & appetizers, then came in for dinner & dessert. We ended the evening back on the porch, listening to the rain on the roof and our favorite itunes selections. Just what my husband and I wanted, apparently. And maybe what we needed, too?

Today I am feeling quiet, as you do the day after. No matter how small the party, there is something to be said for that work you's always more than you think it's going to be. A little nap, a little chocolate, a little diet coke...I'll be good as new again.
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

tooth lessons

Mommy to Son: Are you getting a loose tooth?

Son: Yes.

Mommy: Really?! Can I see it?

Son: Yes.

(Mommy touches lower front tooth. Small, very small wiggle.)

Mommy: WOW! I felt that! Your first loose tooth!

Son: (smiling)

Mommy: Of course you know what this means! The Tooth Fairy will be visiting you.

Son: (eyebrow raise. tentative smile)

Mommy: Do you know what the Tooth Fairy will bring you?

Son: Yes.

Mommy: What?

Son: A new tooth!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

pbs tonight

Have you read this?
Oh my gosh, I first read it about 10 years ago and loved it - I just thought it was such a gripping story. Right after I read it there was an IMAX film about the disaster on Everest, it was showing here at the Museum of Science and Industry. Like the book, I thought it was mesmorizing. And I loved having the visual to support what I had only been able to imagine in my head while reading the book. Perhaps you saw it, too.

Right now our book club is reading this book, so I have a renewed interest in this subject. There isn't an IMAX movie out now, but one of our book clubbers did find this show, starting tonight on pbs. Check your local listings if you're interested. I am looking forward to tuning in!

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my home office

...will maybe look like this one day. Until then, there's inspiration to be found at Chic Shack. Check it out!

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Friday, May 09, 2008

daddy's helper

My son mowed the lawn about 7 times yesterday. And I think if it's dry tomorrow he'll be out there again. And where's his mower, when it's not in use?

As he told me,
"I like parking my mower right next to Daddy's mower, because I LOVE HIM SO MUCH."
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Monday, May 05, 2008

sweet wheels

So what do you know about Felt bikes? I saw this particular one at a store today near my house. Isn't it so would make you want to give up the car keys for good and become a full-time bicyclist. I would need extra space in our garage just to park it. I wouldn't want anything to touch it!
Soooo darn cute. Even better in person. If you have one of these or know anything about them, I would love to hear from you!

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008


Remember this? Well, take a look at what came back yesterday!

Of course this means that my real life and blog friend Mary stopped by. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's always a treat when Mary stops by! And yesterday was no exception. My mirror looks beautiful in the picture, but it is even better in person. I am thrilled and amazed, once again, by Mary's wonderful work.

I hope all of you are doing well and ready for the weekend. Any special plans? Today is a special day for my husband and me. 10 years ago on this day is when he proposed. 10 years, my goodness time goes so fast, doesn't it? He always gets me flowers to mark the occasion. The first time he did this is when we were both working, and he sent flowers to my office. There was a woman I worked with (older, single) and she asked what the flowers were for. I distinctly remember her laughing (hand over mouth, incredulous, looking at me as if to say, what a young, naive girl) when I told her why he had sent me flowers. I think she even said something like, 'well that goes to show that you haven't been married very long' - or something mean like that. So, I don't keep in touch with that woman (no surprise) but I wish I could tell her right now that she was wrong to laugh, and that I still get flowers. Every year!

Happy Friday!

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