31 May 2010

Memorial Day Weekend -- The Food

I'm not sure what it was, but I kind of couldn't wait to eat (and drink) my weekend away. It felt so good to be home, and fresh produce is just everywhere right now. Here's some of the highlights. Saturday, lunch was a tuna, shrimp, tomatillo and avocado ceviche (with sangria).

Saturday night, we had dinner with friends, and I brought over a caprese salad (which I could really eat every day in the summer) with micro green purple basil which we got from the farmer's market from the Tiny Greens stand. I'm in heaven.

The next day, I whipped up a big batch of Bircher Muesli so we could have it for breakfast this week. Here's the recipe I used -- it's really good. Even H enjoyed it.

Sunday we were invited to a BBQ, so I made some Strawberry Hand Pies to bring along. We have been going through a huge container of strawberries every few days. Cannot get enough of them.

Memorial Day was the indoor BBQ. It was comfortable and casual. My friend had mentioned she made this recipe last week, and I couldn't wait to try it -- Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp and Arugula Salad with Pickled Onions, and Balsamic Reduction. Yum. It turned out to be a perfect addition to the meal. (The Pimm's Cups were pretty good too, I might add.)

And finally, we finished our weekend, with a very yummy Chocolate Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream. Can't think of a better ending to a fantastic (and tasty) weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend

I can't even tell you how much the four of us have all been looking forward to this long weekend. For both Brian and I, it's the first official work holiday off since New Year's Day. It's been a very busy few months, and we just couldn't wait to spend some time together at home. The weather, for the most part, was amazing. We started our weekend by visiting the Farmer's Market, which opened last weekend. We even visited the pool (I can't remember ever going this early), and spent the evening enjoying a last minute dinner with some friends.

The next day, we went to The Cote Boys house for an awesome BBQ. The kid's were all so good, we got to hang out with great friends and meet new ones. It was a perfect kind of day.

Today -- Memorial Day -- we noticed storm clouds in the sky, but decided to risk it and go to the River Forest Memorial Day parade. It is always one of my favorite ways to kick off the summer, so we were pretty bummed out when it decided to rain like crazy on us. We had a perfect spot, and ran into some friends who joined us -- it would have been a good time -- but once the lightning came, we were out of there.

Also because of the rain, our BBQ with The Elsmo Four that was planned later in the day, turned into an indoor picnic. H fell asleep on their sofa (he never stops, usually) -- it was a really relaxing day.

Now, on to the final week of school. Just a couple more days!

28 May 2010

Last Day of Preschool

Well, this was it for C -- his last day of school for the year. His last day of preschool. It's been a great ride. I have to admit, it didn't hit me until I was getting off the train. And when I said good-bye to his teacher, Mrs. B., I got a little teary-eyed. She's been just such an amazing part of kid's lives over the past years. At the same time, I'm also very excited for what's ahead. I really think it's going to be great. We spent the afternoon (an absolutely perfect afternoon, I might add) at the park. And when we got home, C crashed. Hard. He's made it to dinner only one day this week. He's so tired. We can't wait for a relaxing weekend.

More Scenes from Galena

Yesterday, my friend and I were arranging our t-ball car pool schedule, and she mentioned she was going to get their passports renewed before the game. We are hoping to travel overseas at some point this year ourselves, and it made me think to myself that I better check to make sure the kid's passports were still in order. They are, but guess who's isn't? Mine! I haven't not had a passport since I was 14 years old, or something like that. What if you decide to just pick up and go to Paris for a weekend? Or need a little beach vacation in Costa Rica? Ok, I've never just picked up and done any of those things on a whim. I've never even been to Costa Rica. But I'd like to. You just never know when you might need it. So I filled out the paperwork, got my photo, and showed Brian. And he made fun it of. I admit, it wasn't the best, but it really wasn't bad. Still, I knew for 10 years I'd be looking at that crazy photo, remembering how Brian made fun of it. So this morning I got a new one taken. It's much better. I had to take a picture of it before submitting it to the government so Brian could see I can actually take a decent passport photo. Anyhow, all of this is a long story, to get to the point that when I was on my phone looking for the new passport photo to show Brian, I found some more images I took when we were in Galena last weekend. Here they are. The End.

27 May 2010


Well, this is just great. Look what Storm uncovered today! A nest of (very new) baby bunnies in our back yard. Come on, didn't the rabbit smell that this beast lives here? His entire nose was shoved in the hole. He did manage to pulled one up, but dropped it right away leaving the bunny unharmed. I think I freaked him out with my crazy lady screaming. You see, I just don't fare well with these types of situations. I know they are wild animals and all, but I can't help but feel slightly responsible for their survival. And all I want to do is gaze out the window and watch the nest. Tonight I spent a good part of the evening staring out as the mom rabbit returned to the nest and to feed them. I'm not sure how long this whole process is going to take, but I'm assuming it's at least a couple weeks. This means good news and bad news for Storm. The bad news is, there will be no unattended lounging in the backyard for the big guy. The good news is, he'll sure be getting a lot of walks.

26 May 2010

Art by H: Birds on a Wire

I feature a lot of the kid's artwork on my blog, and I do realize this can be quite boring for some people. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for artwork by children. Any children, really. It doesn't have to be just mine. But honestly, it's simply my way to archiving it all. I've been trying to make a blog book every year (ok, so I've only finished one so far), so eventually, all these artwork posts get "published." This piece though? It's definitely one of my favorites. I adore the multi-color robins -- including the one flying sideways. I think the lines of telephone wire are great. Even the ground and road is interesting. This one is a keeper.

25 May 2010

Tribute to Excellence

Today was the Awards Ceremony for second grade. Last year, I completely missed it. Ooops. I almost did the same this year -- except because of my schedule today, I got to fit it in. H was awarded eight different honors. He's had a busy year, working hard, and taking advantage of some extracurricular activities the school offers. It was nice to be there. I'm so proud of everything he's accomplished this year. (Sorry for the poor photos. I was way in the back, getting ready to leave -- as you can tell by H's bummed out face in the bottom photo. Summer cannot come soon enough, that's all I'm saying ....).

23 May 2010

Montessori Graduation

Today was a big day. My little boy graduated from his Montessori school. He's been practicing songs, and gearing up to pass cake for weeks. The weather decided to hit the upper 80s today -- it was downright hot! But it made for a really fun day.
Grandma Joan was in town, and Nina & Papa came down to celebrate. C was in heaven.
This is just H and me watching the celebration.
This is our fifth all-school picnic / graduation. H celebrated this same accomplishment himself a couple years ago. And it's our final one. I always thought I'd be in tears when the time came to leave.
But you know what? Like everything, it comes a time when you are just ready, and I'm so excited for what next year will bring for C. The school is also saying good-bye to the boy's beloved teacher, Mrs. B. (in the white pants above). She is moving back to Canada to be closer to her own kids. Five years! That's how long we've had children in her class. She's been a big, big part of our lives, and we'll miss her.
The kids receive a diploma, and a brand new graduate t-shirt (which they need to grow into).
Here's proud big brother H in his own graduate t-shirt. (Look how absolutely hot these children look! We were melting.)
Part of the tradition is that the graduates pass out cake to their family and guests. (I got the first piece.) He was very serious about making sure his duties were fulfilled, and made sure all of his guests got one.
Then he finally got to enjoy his own. Well deserved C!
And H had a great time playing with some of his old friends too. What a great day.

22 May 2010

Galena - Triathlon

As I mentioned before, in the Galena Triathlon, the swim to bike transition, and bike to run transition are in different locations. As a spectator, what that means, is basically you pick one or the other to watch at. This is the swim area -- taken during set up. We decided to stay at the second transition.
This is transition 1 -- swim to bike -- also during set up.
This is transition 2 -- the bike to run. Where we hung out.
Here comes Brian on the bike.
And the run. A typical sprint distance is a 5K. This run is a 4.3 mile run. Up and down big hills.
My sister (this is her above, coming in from the bike), asked if it was hard for me to watch the race without participating in it. My answer -- no way. I have done a couple tris myself. And, honestly, I'm signed up for a couple more this year too (yikes). But Galena is major. And I need to be a bit more dedicated to actually train in order to participate in something like this.
This is my sister, Christie, coming up to the finish line. She looks much happier than she did taking off on the run. Both she and Brian did an awesome job. I'm so proud. And inspired.
The knuckleheads think they are pretty great too!

Galena - Scenes

Brian, the boys and I all took off Friday so we could spend a little time in Galena. It's about a three hour drive from our house. Fortunately, the scenery is breath-taking. After checking into the house, we headed into town for some lunch at One Eleven Main. We also did a bit of shopping -- but since I'm not really a big fan of stores, and the boys were with, we spent the most amount of time in candy stores. Next Brian and I went to the lake to set up his swim to bike transition, and meet Tim and Christie. It's a pretty complicated transition set up since the bike to run transition is at a different location. (Plus my sister got lost. Plus she forgot her purse earlier in the day and had a turn around.) So it took awhile. We were planning on having dinner at the house, but after driving around farmland forever from one place to the other, and finding out the nearest grocery store was far away, we decided to meet the rest of the gang and have dinner at the hotel. After wards, the boys, my niece and I hit the hot tub while the rest went to bed to prepare for the big day.

Galena - The House

We just got back from a whirlwind trip in Galena. One of these days, we'll get there for a true vacation. It's really a very cool place. This weekend, however, we were there for the Galena Triathlon. Brian competed in this event last year. But this time, we had another person to cheer on as well -- my sister. Both did a great job. Since there was a group of us -- us and the boys, my sister and her family (minus one) and my mother-in-law -- we decided to get a house for the night. The race ends up at the Eagle Ridge Resort, which is were the house was. It all worked out pretty nice. We didn't spend much time at the house, but there was plenty of room for all us, a comfortable kitchen, pool table and even a hot tub. We all wished we could have stayed longer. It was a great time.

20 May 2010

Art by H: Mola

(A mola uses layers to form a design. It's typically part of a costume worn by women in Panama.)

19 May 2010

Art by C: Paper Necklace

(Sorry I had to enter the photo -- wasn't sure of the best way to actually show how awesome it really is without putting it on.)