surprises when you least expect them

I grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago. I didn’t really have any idea what farm life was like until I met Nate. Literally, I went to a farm in kindergarten and remember liking the chicks. Little did I know one day I would call a farm home!

I didn’t really think about where my food came from either. Farmers markets weren’t as popular as they are now. I loved going to the grocery store with my mom, and we ate on the healthier side, but I just didn’t think about it.

As a teenager, when my parents would go to buy flowers and plants and bushes in the late spring, I would ask to pick out one flower plant and would try to keep it alive. I always failed, and deemed myself the opposite of a green thumb.

Fast forward to meeting Nate. I remember one of the first times I went to Walnut Grove Farm, I posed for a photo with a cow; I was just so in awe. The spring and summers would come and go, and we would eat fresh veggies and fruits from the garden, something that was really foreign to me in the best way possible. 


As the years passed (we’ve been together for almost 15!), I’ve grown to appreciate respect the farm, and love the production gardens. We were married there almost six years ago, featuring mostly local vendors and the majority of the flowers were from the farm.

Fast forward even more to last weekend, when I pulled up probably 30 radishes and some green onions, picked fresh greens, and planted watermelons and squash to enjoy later this year.


There is something so gratifying about harvesting from a garden. It’s difficult for me to describe. I find such peace in it. And excitement. It just feels right.

Radishes, in particular, are super fun (I realize what a nerd I sound like right now, and I’m completely okay with it) because it’s like a surprise with each radish. Is it mature enough? What color is it? Long and thin or short and plump? Will it be really sharp or mild in flavor? Not to mention they are beautiful.


Radishes now signify the beginning of the growing season (other than another new favorite–rhubarb!). It means a summer filled with fresh foods that my mother-in-law planted and hopefully I can harvest. Gardening is something I’m not sure I’ll be good at on my own, but I really hope one day Nate and I will have the land to have our own garden.


Teaching Eloise about the farm, the gardens, and about the foods she eats; getting her to eat a lot of fruits and veggies; and trying new foods are very important to us. 

Today, Ellie wanted blueberries instead of a bakery cookie. That to me was a small, simple parenting win. And I’ll take them however they come!

I’m so grateful she has the farm as her home away from home, and that’s all that she knows. It gives her balance from the hustle and bustle of the city, the ability to run and be free, and spend quality time with her family with home-cooked, home-grown meals. What could be better than that?

grateful

It’s the unofficial start of summer and to that I say, “Amen!”

My little Eloise has been sick for about 2.5 weeks (cough, cold, pink eye?!?, ear infection…), so, needless to say, it was wonderful to get outside this weekend to soak up the sun. 

We dined al fresco for brunch with great friends at G & O. (My classic breakfast and mimosa hit the spot without leaving me too full or too tipsy, the staff was friendly, and we can’t wait to go back!) 


We walked around the neighborhood, trying new routes each time. Ellie loved watching the tour boats on the river.


We had a pizza party with family friends from growing up. We’ve been trying to get everyone together for a year so it was fantastic! Ten children, 10 adults, and a pup! Always a great time when we get together, and so fun to watch our kiddos make new friendships together, too.


We had a family graduation party for two of my cousins, Brittany and Kyle. I’m so proud of them and excited for their next big adventures (the real world for B and college for K!). 


And all the while, the sun was shining. Weekends like this remind you that life may not be perfect, but we are free and shouldn’t take that for granted.

My thanks to all who serve to protect us and our freedom. I don’t say it out loud enough, but I am forever grateful.

What I’m Grateful For

It’s never too late to be grateful.

As I sit here with a sleeping Frenchie on my lap, I can’t help but feel truly grateful.

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Grateful for my family, my friends, my husband, my pup–without them, my heart wouldn’t be as full as it is today. Life isn’t easy, but they make it a whole lot better.

Having this blog is also a blessing in my life. First, its a fun, creative outlet for me. But it’s always fun to hear from readers, see what they like, and I love when people want to participate on my adventures around town. I know I need to post more; I can promise you that I will try!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it would be fun to include some of my favorite Chicago places and foods I’m thankful for, too. They include:

-Fresh Straw & Hay Pasta at Piccolo Sogno
-Pizza from Lou Malnati’s (thick or thin ), Giordano’s (thin), D’Agostino’s (thin), Home Run Inn (classic), Eataly (Neapolitan)
-Going to the Walnut Room at Macy’s during the holidays
-Tacos al Pastor at Big Star
-Vegetable udon soup for lunch at Tokyo Lunchbox
-Chopped Salad or Prime Rib (or both) at Wildfire
-Searching for milk glass at the Randolph Street Market
-Ramen at BellyQ
-Getting lost at The Art Institute
-Ribs at Gale Street Inn
-Hot dogs at Portillo’s and Superdawg
-Finding the best stationary at the Renegade Craft Fair
-Pork belly and broccoli slaw at Green Street Smoked Meats
-Sushi at Butterfly Sushi

Well, now that I’m starving, I leave you with sincere gratitude and appreciation. Remember what you’re thankful for often, not just one day in November. And celebrate the people you love and the activities you enjoy throughout the holiday season and always!

XO