Friday, December 5, 2014

Extremely Thankful...

for all of these people.

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend with my parents and brother here in Chicago. My parents arrived on Wednesday in time to walk with us (in the cold!) to pick up our pies from Bang Bang Pie Shop. (And to have a biscuit while we were there.)

We ate lots of yummy things while they were here, many of them from Smitten Kitchen, my favorite food blog and cookbook.

For instance, cranberry orange breakfast buns. We ate this on Thursday morning while we waited for David to arrive.

Martin consulted Mark Bittman to spatchcock our turkey. This was our first time doing it this way, and it was really easy and just as quick as promised (45 minutes!), but I will say that some of the ceremony of roasting a big bird and having to wait 4 hours while it bakes was sort of lost. As Otto pointed out, it sort of just felt like a regular dinner, not like the usual more celebratory meal. That was also due in part to the fact that we didn't even have to start dinner until so late in the day that it all felt a bit off. We also got involved in a board game instead of all hanging out together in the kitchen all day (and then we had to break up the board game halfway through in order to have dinner).

But anyway, here's Martin and the turkey.

Butternut squash and caramelized onion tart. Delicious! This was probably our favorite part of the whole meal, and it was just the appetizer. We ate it around 3, which left us not all that hungry for the usual feast.

And a beautiful sweet potato roast, which is actually the only Smitten Kitchen recipe I have EVER made that I did not LOVE. It was good, but it wasn't Thanksgiving.

Cranberry sauce, also using a Smitten Kitchen recipe.


A toast to family.


On Friday, we took the train downtown to see the David Bowie at the MCA. It was an excellent show, just as everybody says. It took us almost 3 hours to go through it (not the 90 minutes that the museum said it might take), so everyone was exhausted at the end, but it is not to be missed. So good that we might even go back.

In line, almost ready to enter.

We had a pretty low-key Saturday, mostly just hanging around the neighborhood. We took a walk to Palmer Square and then to Logan Square to City Lit Bookstore.

Martin made all sorts of amazing cocktails all weekend long. We had a Sazerac on Thanksgiving Day, since it is the oldest American cocktail. We had Stanley Cocktails, in recognition of my dear and departed Uncle Stanley, and we had Negronis. Martin picked up some fancy cherries (Bada Bing), which we tried to put in as many drinks as possible.

On Sunday, we took David to Logan Hardware to peruse the music selection and so he could show us how amazing he is at old school games.

Yep. That's his high score on PacMan.

It was a nice and quite weekend and we are extremely thankful to have family we not only choose to hang out with, but actually really like being with. We are really lucky.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

RU Fun

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful bunch of people who gathered to have a fun weekend together on Salt Spring Island in BC (and even luckier that our friends Gillian, Craig, Fergus and Effie organized and masterminded it all and included us in the festivities). Most of the families are more local, so the only lament about it at all that we had was that we made even more friends from the Pacific Northwest and Canada who we will hardly have an opportunity to see. But we soaked up all the time with them that we could and had such a lovely long weekend.

Ferry to Salt Spring Island.

At the lake.

Paddle boat.

Dock wave.

Game boys.

Jam session.

Hanging out with some of my favorite people.

The game maker, ring leader, master of ceremonies, mastermind.

We gathered on the beach one afternoon, just as the sun broke out.

Some people took the polar plunge. Some people stood on the shore and cheered them on.

Warming up in the hot tub, post plunge.

Trick or treating.

 Final night fire, complete with s'mores, sparklers and Jiffy Pop.

Some of our crew, just before final goodbyes.

Back on the ferry, heading home (or at least to Fergus and Effie's).

Max's Birthday Weekend (Belated Post)

My parents and my brother and his twin boys Noah and Owen came to visit for Max's birthday weekend. Noah and Owen have only been to Chicago once before (it was Max's birthday 4 years ago, which had a similar guest list), but they mostly only saw our apartment and the neighborhood. We made sure to take them out a bit more this time.

Shortly after their arrival, we hustled out the door to catch the water taxi to Chinatown.

Still like rolling down hills.

Noah and David.



Kids in a candy shop.

David and boys with candy and old Chinatown.

Grandparents and boys.

Max made his own birthday breakfast of French Toast and enlisted the rest of the boys for assistance.

Grandma shows off the finished platter.

Birthday breakfast.

The dogs seem unimpressed.

Their friend Ruben joined us for the afternoon/evening. We built marshmallow shooters.

To the park for battle.

Home for presents.

Up to the bedroom where Max's new banjo was stashed under the bed...

An immediate concert was given.

Hmmm...not pictured: cake. Must check to see if Martin has any photos of that, because apparently somehow I was too busy making or eating it to take a photo.

We went to Slurping Turtle for dinner. They have been voted one of the country's best ramen noodle restaurants and have been on the boys' list for visiting since they first started their food reviews.

The brussels sprouts appetizer was AMAZING.

So was the duck fat fried chicken.

Selection of bao.

Couldn't say no to Otto's Constant Dream.

Mom and miso.

 More miso.

Special birthday dessert.

The next day was kind of rainy, but we headed downtown. We had not realized there was a parade going on (for Columbus Day). We stopped at Do-Rite Donuts to warm up and revitalize before we headed out in the rain again.

Made it to the Bean.

And the faces fountain.

And the Lego store.

The twins had to head back on Tuesday, but the boys went to their cooking class. Grandma and Grandpa got to peek in and watch the boys at work (and got to eat some of the finished product).

It was kind of a rainy night, but we stayed in and played Rummy.

I have lots of fond memories of playing cards with my family growing up. It's fun to continue it with my kids. We don't generally play card games, or at least not standard deck card games, so it's cool to be reminded how much you can do with just a standard deck. 

I think Max had a very good birthday. Still can't believe we've got a teen in the house.

Almost Always Hungry