All About Me

The twins had another rite of passage this week.

The “All About Me” poster that I’ve done for every kindergarten class, was due this week.

Being twins, their posters were set up similarly.

But as you can see, they are still very different…DSC_0405 DSC_0404

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Museum of Science and Industry Renewal

After two days of non-stop rain we were getting cabin fever.

There was lots of board games.DSC_0400

And coloring. And iPad usage. The twins opened up lots and lots of cabinets and pulled out toy after toy after toy.

It seemed like the right time to renew our Museum of Science and Industry membership.

I was a bit worried about how Ben would react to the crowds but we decided to take a leap of faith and go for it.

Surprisingly, the museum was unusually empty.

It was awesome!

First we spent time in the Ideas Factory.

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Jack creating waves.

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Jack trying to find a rainbow while Ben lines up lasers.

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

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Magnetic Maze.

See all the educational learning we are doing?

See all the educational learning we are doing?

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Ben’s creation.

DSC_0375Then we headed over to the Lego Exhibit. DSC_0379

Aaron surprised up by getting on stage!

Aaron surprised up by getting on stage!

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Building cars to race.

We collaborated with this monstrosity.

We collaborated with this monstrosity. See the Parthenon?

We also checked out the coal mine, something we haven’t done for a long time. DSC_0390

We talked to Ben for a long time about how safe it was. We were trying to shield him from future upset.

But he did fine. I think it helped that besides a family of 3, we were the only ones in the exhibit.DSC_0392

I know the kids enjoyed be able to answer all the question that the tour guide asked.

I was particularly impressed when she said, “There are three states of matter: liquid, solid and what else?”

Jack answered with confidence, “Gas”.

Jolly Ball

Jolly Ball

More 'educational' learning

More ‘educational’ learning

We left after a few hours with a long list of ideas about what to do the next time we go. The museum is so big we barely covered any of it!

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Apples Aplenty!

We’ve had a couple of weeks of creative apple cooking here.

Here are a few things I’ve been stuffing, mixing, sautéing and baking my apples into…

Apple Tatin

Apple Tatin

Apple Tarts. I made 8 but by the time I got around to taking a picture there were only 2 left!

Apple Tarts. I made 8 but by the time I got around to taking a picture there were only 2 left!

Slow cooker apple sauce and apple muffins

Slow cooker apple sauce and apple muffins

I also sliced them and put them into the lunch boxes quite a few days.

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I experimented with cheese and apple pairing.

Apple and Cheddar Bread with Minestrone Soup

Apple and Cheddar Bread with Minestrone Soup

Apple slices with Cheddar and Turkey rolled in Crescent rolls.

Apple slices with Cheddar and Turkey rolled in Crescent rolls.

And finally, getting rid of a grand total of EIGHT apples…DSC_0354

Now I’m down to about 10 less than crisp apples in the bin.

How bout them apples?

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Soccer Mom

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking all the boys who play soccer in our house to their soccer games.

This is usually Adam job, but he was out of town for a conference.

Sam and Aaron’s team is notoriously bad. I don’t think they have won a game yet.Version 2

It doesn’t help that most games Aaron becomes so frustrated that he decides to start crying and screaming about it, leave the field and head to a nearby tree to kick or pull leaves off of violently.DSC_0141 DSC_0142

The twins team only has 6 members, so when one of the six is this erratic, it’s quite a load for the other players.

This week however, he was perfect. He managed to keep his frustrations in check. I was very proud of him, as I saw how hard that was for him. I noticed that when he actually plays he is great. He has the right level of aggression to get in there and actually steal the ball. Sam, who has the best attitude, is a real team player, is too consciousness to steal balls. What makes him the perfect student, son and friend is actually a downfall for soccer.DSC_0146

The entire time I kept thinking, maybe if we practice enough, having 2 boys on the same team could be a real weapon.

On the sidelines with their older brothers.

On the sidelines with their older brothers.

Perhaps in time my evil plan will come to fruition.

After a romp on the nearby playground, we all went to Jack’s game.

Jack and his fan club.

Jack and his fan club.

Jack has been playing long enough that it’s a real game. Some of the kids have really fancy moves.DSC_0192 DSC_0212

Jack is at his best on defense. He is a really disruptive player.

It was a fun morning out, so nice to see all the kids out playing together outdoors, sans electronics.

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Fun Day at Sonny Acres

This morning we took the kids out to West Chicago to visit our favorite fall festival spot, Sonny Acres.DSC_0069

Unlike some of the more crowded, commercialized fall festivals, Sonny Acres feels like you have stepped back in time. Hand painted signs with corny slogans, the smell of funnels cakes, brightly lit carnival rides, all surrounded by copious amounts of pumpkins of every shape and size makes you feel like you drove straight out of 2017 Chicago into a small town in the midwest in the 1950s. It’s the feeling of good, old fashioned family fun.

I posed by the "old lady who lived in a shoe" because I feel like I can relate to her...

I posed by the “old lady who lived in a shoe” because I feel like I can relate to her…

DSC_0014We arrived early to avoid the crowds, but not early enough.

Ben was too overwhelmed to settle in, and as a result he spent the first part of the visit behaving erratically. DSC_0022

We had this hayride all to ourselves! The kids were so excited to point out all the different halloween decorations they found hanging from various trees.

Afterwards, Adam took Ben to the car to settle him while I took the other kids to the playground.DSC_0034 DSC_0037

Jack sweetly let the twins chase him and created obstacle courses for them. Next we fell into a game of hide and seek. DSC_0039 DSC_0047

Soon after, Ben returned. Adam spoke to him in the car, he let him complain about the crowds and yell and scream that this place was “stupid and no fun”.

After a while he convinced him to get out of the car and join us. They met us at the playground and Ben happily jumped right into the hide and seek game.DSC_0056

Afterwards we checked out some rides.
DSC_0074 DSC_0079 DSC_0086 DSC_0097DSC_0102I really liked how the kids always found a partner or two. Not all of them wanted to do every ride, but there was enough of them so no one ever had to go alone.

They spent a ton of time in the petting zoo. DSC_0114DSC_0107

The animals were kind of aggressive and most of our city kids were freaked out about it.DSC_0108

Sam found refuge on Adam’s shoulders.DSC_0104

Finally Ben figured out that he could feed the animals through the fence!DSC_0109

There was a lot of brotherly love in the afternoon.DSC_0117 DSC_0119

Which made my heart sing. And my taste buds sung too with these funnel cakes!DSC_0124

On our way out, Ben said it was so much fun, could we come back again?

Adam said, “Oh this stupid place that is no fun?”

Ben grinned sheepishly.

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Aaron’s First Lost tooth

Yesterday Aaron lost his very first tooth. At lunch time at school.IMG_8095

Thanks to his lucky position in the family hierarchy, this was cause for considerable excitement and absolutely no fear. He’d been watching his brother’s collect the spoils from the tooth fairy for years.

Sam realized he will be next and in his usual cautious, thoughtful nature asked Aaron if he still felt the tooth now that it was in the little box.

For Aaron’s induction into tooth fairy hunts, a bunch of big, scary toys that he likes to play with offered him clues.DSC_0993 DSC_0994 DSC_0995 DSC_1002

I was really worried Aaron’s first tooth fairy hunt would be ruined by his older excited, hyper brothers trying to “help” him. (Really what happens is they figure out the clues first then take over the entire hunt.)

Luckily, Jack was distracted, binge watching teeny bop shows on Netflix and Ben was still asleep (he refused to go to bed until 10pm, kept leaving his bed, and almost figured out who the real tooth fairy is!).

At first Aaron got to hunt all by himself.

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Soon Sam joined, but was very amicable about letting Aaron find the next clues for himself.DSC_1010

Aaron was very happy to receive his 10 single bills from this Yeti, which he crumpled and stuffed into his pockets with relish. I’m sure I’ll inadvertently wash them later.

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Super Powers

“Batman’s superpower is that he can fly.” Said Sam one morning on the way to school.

“Really? I thought he couldn’t fly. That everything was man made. I’m pretty sure the only super power Batman has is that he’s super rich.” I replied.

Then we went onto discuss which super heros have which powers.

Finally I asked, “If you could have any super power, what would it be Sam?”

“Super strong.” He answered without much deliberation.

“Aaron?” I turned around and asked my plodding son.

“To Fly.” He replied. Then later he said, “No, to Smash, like the Hulk.”

“Well, I think Aaron’s super power is that he’s super tough. He was super tough when he got bit by another student yesterday.” I said.

“And Sam, I think your super power is that your super cute. Irresistible!” I said.

“NOoooooo!” Sam said back.

But then we got to school, and into the morning line up…IMG_8078

“See,” I whispered in Sam’s ear as he was walking into school, “I told you, you are super cute!”

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Apple Picking 2017

Last Sunday we headed out to our favorite orchard, Oriole Springs in Wisconsin, for a morning of apple picking.

This year we planned it a little earlier and as a result of this and the heat wave it felt like summer.DSC_0920 DSC_0927

Still the boys did their part, we picked honey crisp, gala and golden delicious.DSC_0934

Double Fisted

Double Fisted

One of the perks of the weather was that we weren’t swarmed by bees.

Afterwards the boys played in their picnic area.DSC_0959

Eeenie Meenie Miney Mo

Eeenie Meenie Miney Mo

And checked out the animals.DSC_0969

We also sampled the brats, hot dogs, and local donuts.DSC_0960 DSC_0961

Now, what do do with all these apples?DSC_0970

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Food Porn

You have been warned by the title, this blog post contains food porn…

As I mentioned before, I’ve been spending some of my free time enjoying all the diverse food this city has to offer.

Chicago is a culinary wonder. The Washington Post named it in it’s 10 Best Food Cities in America. It places higher than New York!

And with more than 73,000 restaurants in Chicago, I’ve had my choice of just about any cuisine for lunch every day.

Here are some of the places I’ve been this past month…

Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken. (Portugal)

Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

Hakka Bakka’s Lamb Kati Roll. (India)

Hakka Bakka's Lamb Kati Roll

Traditional Vietmanese Beef Soup from Fuh.

Fuh

New York Style thin crust from Cafe Luigi’s.

Thin Crust Pizza from Luigi's

Quiche from Floriole. (French)

Quiche from Floriole

Thai Basil Chicken and Bubble Tea from Joy Yee Noodles. (Thailand)

Thai Basil Chicken and Bubble Tea from Joy Yee Noodles

Reuben from The Corned Beef Factory. (The Midwest?)

Reuben from The Corned Beef Factory

Lentil Soup and an “Ava” Sandwich (spinach, avocado, bacon, swiss, mozzarella, havarti, green tomato relish, kale pesto, multigrain bread) from Blue Door Farm Stand.IMG_8045

Patties from Caribbean American Bakery (Jamaica)IMG_8071

Wonder what next month will bring?

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Shana Tovah 5778

Yesterday we celebrated the Jewish New Year.

Unlike previous years, when just Jack went to temple, this year Adam wanted all the kids to participate.

So we scrounged the closets for all the years of fancy clothes that originated with Jack. Then Adam went one night after work and got Jack another set which he will definitely outgrow before he needs them again!DSC_0833

We took them to the children’s service. It was an hour long service full of song, stories and the blowing of the shofar. At one point they invited kids with their own shofars to go up and blow them. It was really cute.

Most of the kids did surprisingly well.

Jack played the all knowing, Hebrew school going, big brother. He pointed out the intricate architecture of the temple to the twins. “Don’t worry,” he told Ben, “We don’t read this whole book, we just skip through it.”

The twins stood and sat when asked. And they fidgeted quietly in their own seats. Or appropriately whispered.

Ben had a tougher time. He left the room at one point. Then he came back, but when he did he laid in front of us on the ground instead of sitting. The room was filled with people with kids so no one blinked an eye when they had to step over him to bring a smaller bladdered person to the bathroom.

Then, after that it was back home for homework and lunch.

In the afternoon we took advantage of the scorching heat and headed to the beach.

There was a lot of burying and sand play.DSC_0869 (1) DSC_0872 DSC_0878

And ice cream.DSC_0884

And fun in the water, including a few races.DSC_0855 DSC_0909 DSC_0900

Afterwards, we showered up and headed out for a nice dinner.

Shine Restaurant

Shine Restaurant

Wishing all who celebrate a very happy new year!

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