Oh my goodness gracious, I’m glad I don’t live in different times. I’ve been reading this tidy little volume on the correct way to manage a household while going about my very (VERY) different life as a modern American homemaker, and I can’t help thinking that if I’m this tired without having to live under the dozens of rules and politenesses that Mrs. Beeton puts forth, the women of her time must have simply passed out at the end of every single day.  Mrs. Isabella Beeton was the eldest of twenty siblings in a Victorian family, and once she married a publisher began to write articles on cooking and home management for his publications, becoming a “Mrs. Manners” and more for her time.  In 2011, Penguin published a collection of her writings in this adorable little edition for their “Great Food” series, which is how it wound up in my modern hands.  Everything from what colors a lady should wear based on the color of her hair to how early she should rise to successfully run her household is covered, and it’s all making me quite grateful for my jeans and morning coffee.  In addition, there are several recipes which give a real insight into the food of Victorian times – soup and broths, mutton, and the like.  This is an incredibly engrossing little book, and I’d suggest it as a gift to, perhaps, a new bride. :)

Show of Hands Chicago


“60 Independent Artists, Designers & Craftspeople selling their work directly to you at this amazing 2-day show” – and free admission! I’m there. ;)  This would be a keen time to get some great holiday gifts from local artists.





After two crazy and emotional weeks, things are good. My husband whisked the kiddo off on a dude adventure, and I – after an hour of aimlessly wandering around the apartment floored by the silence – put on my walking shoes and went outside into the unseasonally gorgeous weather. So far, my decompression has consisted of organizing my closet and tweet-watching the rest of Season Five of “Parenthood” but today I needed air, and sun, and a nice reminder of how great my city is.  I walked three miles, got a coffee, and even found a little homeschooling inspiration when I saw a little girl and her Mom reading contentedly outside in the sun. What a beautiful illustration of the freedom we homeschoolers seek, right?

There’s a wonder in the everyday.   It’s nice to remember that.



[The past two weeks have been unruly around here as we've been dealing with some family stuff.  My apologies for not updating more frequently, but you know - it was family stuff, so I'm not really sorry.  Also, this is going to be quick, as my house is still a buzz and things are happening like mad right now.]

THAT SAID – We went to a pumpkin patch, a rite of passage each fall for 99% of Chicago families.  In previous years, we’ve had great experiences at Dollinger Farms, Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, and Kuiper’s Family Farm, but this year we decided we’d give Didier Farms a chance.



This place is silly.  Seriously.  It’s loaded with pumpkins and baked goods and amusement park rides and pony and camel rides and it’s a blast.  Unlike some pumpkin patches in the area, you don’t pay anything for admission, but instead purchase tickets to go on the rides/attractions you want to do.  We bought a wad of tickets and let Kiddo go on several rides, which he loved.  Grandma also bought him a pony ride, which he also loved.

But good lord, the pumpkins.  All shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of pumpkins were on display at Didier.  It was one of the most impressive displays of pumpkins I’ve seen around town – Want a giant bumpy pumpkin? They have it.




We bought a few little pumpkins, some apple cider and pumpkin doughnuts, and spent about an hour wandering around and riding various crazy rides.

Everyone had a great time!


Hooray for Fall!  (Will write more soon!)


It’s fully Fall now in Chicago, and we’re right in the middle of our Halloween & Weather unit.  In addition to projects and reading, we listen to a lot of music throughout the day, and I’ve made a playlist for the month that encompasses a wide variety of music — from classical to children’s favorites.

  • October 2014 Playlist –
  • “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • “I got the sun in the mornin’ (and the moon at night)” – from Annie Get your Gun
  • The Autumn section from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
  • “Soon it’s gonna rain” from The Fantasticks
  • “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” – We’re listening to the Laura Doherty version, but there are several
  • “Singin’ in the Rain” – We’re listening to the Jamie Cullum jazzy version
  • “The Rainbow Connection” – We’re listening to the Jane Monheit and Sarah McLachlan versions (which are pretty darn similar)
  • “Bend Down the Branches” by Tom Waits
  • “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas
  • “Three Little Pumpkins” by Little Miss Ann
  • “Leaves Fall in the Fall” by Laurie Berkner
  • “The Colors of Paradise” from The Spitfire Grill
  • “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” and “Here Comes the Bogeyman” by Henry Hall

Also, we’ve watched Gene Kelly’s legendary “Singin’ in the Rain” routine – because if there’s a better 5-ish minutes in cinematic history, I don’t know of it.

Just thought I’d share!




We’re going through a rainy week in Chicago, which actually works out for us since this month’s learning is weather-centric.  On Monday morning, my kiddo ran into our bedroom, jumped on me, and asked if we could go to “the park with the red truck” meaning Margate Park, which we used to go to frequently at our old apartment but haven’t been to since we moved.  I obliged, and we got into our rain gear and headed out, getting a good lesson in rain and fog along the way.

We hopped a bus to the very north end of Lincoln Park on Foster Avenue, and walked through the park to the requested playground.  Along the way, we blew dandelions, talked to some very friendly squirrels, and marveled at the thick fog that make the skyline barely visible.




Of course, we played at Margate Park’s playground for a while.  It’s one of the cutest little parks I’ve been to, with cool features like a red wooden truck for climbing and sprinklers in a lagoon in the summer months.

IMG_20141013_133425084We played until kiddo was exhausted then headed for home, and he took a 3 hour nap – once again proving my theory that outdoor play is the BEST. :)

This week has been a whirlwind of fun and rainy weather. We’ve listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,  watched a Nova special about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and have introduced Sid the Science Kid.  The kid is very into weather, and has been pretending his trucks are getting carried away by a tornado. ;)

In which my kid turns 3.

IMG_20141005_095215858_HDRMy kiddo turned 3 last week.  As anyone with kids will tell you, a kid’s birthday is a big deal.  We had a pirate party and Grandparents in town and a gaggle of toddlers, babies, and big kids over for an afternoon of playing, snacks, and a special storytime from our good friend Amanda who also happens to have an amazing gift (and extensive background) in children’s theater and education.  It was a blast – and exhausting.  So we’ve been laying low these past few days and dealing with stuff – but we’re back!


For the first two birthdays this kid celebrated, I went big with the party planning. This year, though my stress level was still high – I have anxiety, I’ll always deal with stress – things were smaller, and better, and my kid had just as much fun.  Rather than trying to squeeze in the baking and decorating of 2 dozen cupcakes into our hectic days, I went simple – and let the good bakery people at Mariano’s do it for me.  We bought 2 dozen chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and they were delicious.  So delicious that my Mom returned to the store and got another half-dozen to take back to Michigan.  Kiddo was delighted, I saved some time and mess, and everything was good. On his actual birthday, we returned to the bakery at Mariano’s and let him pick out whatever he wanted – and it was this crazy Elmo cupcake.


Ridiculous, right? He loved it.

Lesson learned: Your 3 year old does not care if you bake his cupcakes/cake.  If baking is your most favorite thing in the world, do it and do it with love and have fun.  I love to bake, but was totally fine with handing this off to professionals.

Having the party was great, and kiddo loved seeing his friends and opening his presents – everything from LEGO to Duplo to My Little Pony and Transformers and books and games.  He also had a blast having his grandparents around for adventuring.




Happy Birthday, Little Goop.  You’re the coolest! <3



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