Monday, January 30, 2012


post signatureRiding a camel with my kids at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Expo.

The travel bug is biting me again and January in Chicago always makes me anxious to get out and see the world. After riding this friendly camel (and having spent some time in a desert clime already), I would seriously love to do this.

Monday, January 23, 2012

#makesmesmilemondays Papa's Weekly Visits and Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries

Every Thursday, my Dad comes to town to spend some time with my children. Like all awesome Grandpas, he comes bearing gifts: Scamorza from Caputo's Cheese Factory, butter cookies from Veseckys in Berwyn, lollipops for Chiara. One such gift was a giant, 3 pound bag of Wyman's of Maine fresh frozen wild blueberries.

I never really liked/purchased frozen fruits, but these blueberries made me change my mind. They are just sweet enough and still bursting with fresh picked flavor. Having a three pound bag of blueberries in the freezer means that there is always a healthy snack on hand: Blueberries topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Mixed with plain yogurt and a spoonful of honey in the food processor for a delicious, easy and quick homemade "ice cream" (my Dad's invention). They are the perfect add-in to pancakes, waffles and muffins. I've been having a small bowl of plain blueberries, every day as a mid-morning snack, to bring a few vitamins and a sweet taste of summer to my (crummy, January, winter-in-Chicago) day. post signatureAnd wow! - blueberries really are nutrition powerhouses to boot!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Breaking News: Hope

Normally, the daily news just depresses me, but today, I was so very touched by two stories. 

In the first, Killed in Interstate Pileup, Antioch Woman Saves Others, I read of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Collins, who died at age 19, a day after being injured in a car accident.  She donated every organ possible, a decision she shared with her sister. "We had a pact, and deals, and everything," said sister Katie Collins, 25. "That was something that she and I had spoken about." If I close my eyes to imagine this young woman's heart being airlifted to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where it was then carried to the operating room to save the life of a 26-year-old mother of two, I know that I am visualizing hope in action. 

In the second, Homeless NY Teen Up for $100,000 Science Prize Gets County Housing Help, Donations, I learned about Samantha Garvey, a 17-year-old aspiring marine biologist who has made it to the semifinals of the prestigious Intel Science Competition. Samantha's family became homeless after her parents fell behind on rent after a car accident left them both too injured to work. Samantha told Newsday that her family's setbacks are a source of motivation and not just despair: "I want better," she said, "so that's why I do well in school."  Once again, a story of hope, and faith in a better tomorrow, despite all, in action.

In this day of social media whining and articles that reflect hate and hopelessness, it was so refreshing to see some positive stories in the news today! 

P.S. Have you signed up for the new organ/tissue donor registry

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Monday, January 9, 2012

#makesmesmilemondays Ready for Restaurants

Finally, at age two and three months, I can *enjoy* a semi-relaxing restaurant date with my daughter. She sits (and stays!) in a big person chair and doesn't need a purseload of distractions and constant mommy attention to keep her occupied and content. It's a new year's miracle.

I took my kids to lunch on Thursday to Greek Islands in Greektown: Chiara was amazed by the flaming saganaki and Daniel stole my zucchini fritters. We stopped at the fantastic new National Hellenic Museum where Daniel climbed into a Trojan horse and Chiara tried her hand at weaving. For dessert, we headed to the Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop: cookies for the kids and Galaktoboureko for Mommy. 

I see many fun restaurant dates in our 2012 forecast!
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