My favorite quote: cleaning the house while children are around is like shoveling during a snowstorm! SO true! Really how important is having a clean house? And how much time are you going to waste thinking you can keep up?
I used to think I could do it all. I even put together a cleaning schedule. Tuesday was bathroom day, Wednesday was mopping floors day. BUT, Tuesday quickly turned into clean up after my sick son and Wednesday got spent cleaning chocolate milk that spilled into every crevice of my car. Let’s be realistic having a clean house just isn’t in the cards when you have young kids.
As much as you plan, prepare, and keep things punctual the day never goes as planned. Floors stay dirty, high chairs stay sticky, cars stay trashed. You have to move heaven and earth to find time to deep clean. And when you do…you discover that your loving husband reheated spaghetti in the microwave for 4 minutes uncovered. Guess who gets to clean that up?! So this week treat yourself to a guilt free dirty house and if the budget allows for God sakes higher a cleaning service.
Parenting is no small task. There are many times when the days seems insurmountable. Like it might be better to just fall down and let the kids run all over you. Trust me there are many times I’ve let that happen. But I take small steps and try to remember that no matter how big the challenge I want to show my boys that having faith and believing in yourself will always lead them to grandeur things in life.
NAME OF THE BOOK: The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton
AGE RANGE: 8-14
THIS BOOK WAS ABOUT: Three very different kids that have to compete against each other and solve various clues that take them all over they city of Chicago. The prize is a $10,000 scholarship or so they think. Melissa, Wilf, and Brondi, are not who you would expect to be competing in this contest. At first they work separately but soon realize that things might not be as they seem and they start to uncover a mystery.
I LOVED: How the book had so many twists and turns. Everything would be going good but then there would be a giant twist that changed everything. I also loved how the clues brought you to different places in Chicago.
READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER: What if I competed in a scholarship contest like this!?! Who would I choose to help me solve the clues?
OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS: This book was fantastic and perfect for middle school kids.
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 stars
This book report was written by a very sweet eleven year old boy 🙂
NAME OF THE BOOK: Framed by James Ponti
AGE RANGE: 8-12 years
THE BOOK WAS ABOUT: Framed is about a twelve year old boy named Florian Bates who ends up helping the FBI solve an art theft. He uses a technique called TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. This helps him solve mysteries and when he teaches his friend Maragret how to use it they discover that Art, crime and thieves are all intertwined.
I LOVED: I loved the fact that Florian is an FBI Special Asset and can solve mysteries with a theory, TOAST. I now use this in my real life.
READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER: Has the FBI ever used a kid to solve a case? Has there ever been a kid who has helped with an art theft? Can I use the theory of TOAST?
OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS: One of my favorite books.
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 1/2 Stars!
All books have been purchased or are Advanced Readers Copies from The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn. Jack, a 12 year old Glen Ellyn resident reviews books for the Glen Ellyn Living Magazine.
If your kids have a love for LEGOS then make sure to watch for the date announcement for BRICKWORLD Chicago 2019!
Here are some highlights from this year.
Also check out Snapology to learn more about their fun programs.
A trip into the city was just what we needed to kick start the beginning of lazy days and care free summer schedules. I sometimes forget just how easy it is to hop on the train and spend a few hours exploring the parks and taking advantage of the great people watching. Our plan was simple and the main goal was to walk Madison street all the way to Millennium Park.
Like any well planned trip we had to make multiple pit stops before the real fun could be found. 3 blocks into our arrival someone was hungry = a stop at Pret A Manger. Someone had sore feet = a stop at CVS for Advil. Someone was cold = stopping at 4, yes 4, different stores until we could find sweatpants that fit.
My kids love the sights and sounds of the city. We always play happy tourist and take pictures and capture the moments of the day.
The Lyric Opera House has always been a favorite. It amazes me that it was built just 22 months after it was planned! Start to finish! And I love that every seat has been refurbished to its original 1929 elegance.
Everyone was excited to head (no pun intended) to Crown Fountain and see the faces. I did a little research and found out there are over 1,000 Chicagoans whose faces appear on the video towers. The School of Art Institute Chicago put out a call and asked for people to come have their pictures taken. And Voila! They have become the most famous faces of Millennium Park.
The next stop was The Bean! This is a family favorite and never gets old. We love watching everyone there WATCH themselves. You can’t help but love a 110 ton kidney bean structure that gets polished several times a day. It’s a Chicago must see.
Beyond the Bean was the real destination! Maggie Daley Park was top on our list that day.
It’s the creme de la creme of playgrounds! Plus the views are spectacular. Here is a link to FAQs http://maggiedaleypark.com/about/faqs/
After all the fun was had the kids were starving and we had a train to catch. Dinner at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta on Madison street was the perfect stop.
It was a great day and the kids loved living it up in the city for a few hours! So, the next time your kids say they’re bored pack up some snacks, Advil and sweatpants and hop on the train!
Orzo Pasta with Chicken
Baked Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers
Brownie Fruit Kabobs
Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps
Chicken Taco Cups
Italian Sub Sandwiches
Canapes with garlic herb cream cheese and avocado
Sunny Summer Salad
Who doesn’t love this time of year when the peonies are in full bloom, the temperatures climb and summer is peaking around the corner. Peonies are a staple for backyard gardeners but from what I’ve learned they’re not so easy to get started. Here are a few tips to help get these colorful blooms in your garden.
Peonies are hearty plants that do great in our Chicago climate but they do take patience and a little practice. First, find a full sun area and make sure to plant at the right time, which is fall! They can establish their roots and benefit from being in the ground during the long winter. Plant no more than 2 inches below the soil. If planted to deep they will not bloom, I’m speaking from experience. OOPS! Once planted make sure to mulch the area and water thoroughly.
Space is critical and planting a few feet apart will greatly benefit them. They need room to grow and planting to closely will lead to fungal diseases and limp stems.
Be patient! It can take two years before they start blooming. They require a little more work up front but once in bloom they thrive. Every house we have lived has had well established peonies that come back year after year. These pictures are proof of how magical they are but the key is getting them started!
This fall I will be planting peonies and using this neighbors house as an inspiration. These beauties (not mine) are a Glen Ellyn favorite! Perfectly planted, grown with patience and showing us that peonies are possible! Good luck 🙂
When menu planning stick to the same theme for each night of the week.
Wednesday: Pasta or Salmon
Thursday: Pork or Beef
Saturday: Soup or Salad
Sunday: Crockpot or One Pot
*Most weeks we eat leftovers the following night but it is so helpful to have the ingredients and recipes on hand!
MONDAY: Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken
TUESDAY: Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers
WEDNESDAY: Salmon with Dill Sauce and Roasted Baby Potatoes
THURSDAY: Pork Loin with Cherry Vinaigrette
FRIDAY: Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad
One Pot Pasta
Monday: Chicken in a Hurry
Tuesday: Creamy Mexican Corn Chowder
Wednesday: Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Thursday: Roasted Herbed Beef Tips
Friday: Not cooking tonight!
Saturday: Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad
Sunday: Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Monday: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
Tuesday: Skinny Beef Enchiladas
Wednesday: Lemon and Dill Chicken Pasta
Thursday: Homeade Shake & Bake Pork Chops (mustard sauce optional)
Saturday: Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Barley (more time consuming but DELICIOUS!)
Sunday: Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp
Monday: Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine
Tuesday: Beef Taco Salad Pizza
Wednesday: Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad
Thursday: Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak
Saturday: Corn and Cheese Chowder
Sunday: Slow Cooker Honey Pork Roast
Monday: Oven BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Tuesday: Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday: Panko Crusted Salmon
Thursday: Pork “Saltimbocca” with potatoes
Friday: You choose!
Saturday: Chili Tortellini
Sunday: One Pot Teriyaki Chicken
Monday: Sheet Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken
Tuesday: Layered Mexican Chicken
Wednesday: One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil
Thursday: Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches
Friday: You decide!
Saturday: Cobb Salad with French Bread