Category Archives: homemaking

Cookie exchange

Update: Pictures from the real cookie exchange have arrived!

DSC_0129-001DSC_0127-001I guess I didn’t get a picture of the actual cookies.  They were very good!  I did get a picture of some of the kids though!

A week ago, I was thinking it would be fun to host a get-together at our house with some of our new friends. The girls and I decided to host a cookie exchange.  For new, the motivation was more a social event than to get cookies, but hey! The cookies were an added delicious benefit!  Every kind was so yummy!  We had 7 ladies come and lot of kids.  I made beef/veggie/barley soup for lunch, another lady brought rolls and another, delicious Cajun red beans and rice.  Everyone came around 9:45 and the last people left close to 2!  We all had a great time!

Per my sister Therese’s advice, we made this recipe of toffee It was delicious!!!!


My pictures of the cookie exchange are on my camera. These are from a different cookie baking day at our neighbors’ house.   We see Becky and the boys almost every day and are so thankful for their friendship and proximity to us!  It’s nice to know that there’s someone around if I need anything.  I think Becky has become my adopted sister 🙂


A first for us!

IMG_6480 IMG_6479 IMG_6478This is a first for us!  We’ve never had a driveway and thus have never been able to wash our own cars.  Clara was a big helper!  So were the other girls…I just didn’t get pictures of them.

We are officially moved!


This is back-dated just for reference sake, but it has currently been just over a week since we arrived at our new home.  The week of our move was a busy one!  Monday the 6th, a dear friend stopped by and picked the girls and I up for a picnic at a wonderful Chicago park.  We enjoyed our time with Marcia and I was so happy we were able to say good bye.  Marcia, along with another lady, headed the Side by Side chapter in Chicago and has been an immense blessing and encouragement to me and ultimately George and our children.  I am so thankful our paths crossed back when George was going through med school!

IMG_5895 IMG_5880

Tuesday, another thoughtful and generous friend picked up Grace, Ellie and Clara for the entire day! They went to Blackberry Farm in Aurora, spent most of the day there, then had a pizza picnic in their neighborhood garden.  She brought them back excited, worn out and fed 🙂  George’s brother-in-law had been staying with us up until Tuesday.  While the kiddos were gone, I did A LOT of laundry and a lot of organizing!  I had to wash a lot of bedding since the girls had been sleeping on pallets and Eddie was in their room.  Thankfully, our landlords moved about a month ago and the downstairs apartment was vacant.  That gave me an extra washer and dryer in the basement and I kept both running all day.  When Amanda brought the girls back, I don’t know that it looked like I had accomplished much, but I had things cleaned and organized and ready to be boxed up.


The girls’ fun day with Miss Amanda and Emma!  We miss these ladies!!!

Wednesday morning, we all drove out to Forest Park so George could say goodbye to his parents, who have been in the U.S. since the end of May.  We left him at a coffee shop to study while I brought the girls and my in-laws to my grandparents’ house in Naperville.  (I know…complicated 🙂  My mom was visiting her parents and was going to bring our oldest 3 and George’s parents back to their house with her.  I was thankful that I was able to see my grandparents again before we moved!   They have been such a blessing to us during our years in Chicago.  Granted, they didn’t live super close and we didn’t get to see them all the time, but we would drive out about once a month or so and spend the day with them, driving back into the city after supper/rush hour.  We are already missing them!  My grandma always made delicious meals when we visited, Grandpa always made sure the kids got a sweet treat and was so happy and willing to help us with anything…washing the car, taking it in for repairs, loading and unloading things we were storing in their basements….etc, etc.  We even stayed out there a couple times when we didn’t have the greatest a/c situation and it was scorching hot in our apartment.  By the time I got back home after saying goodbyes, picking up George and running some necessary errands, it was almost 5pm.  I still had a lot of packing left to do and was up until 2am putting things in boxes.


Ready to pull our of Chicago

Thursday was the day of George’s board exam.  It was an all day test, but seems to have gone well. He won’t find out his results until October.  My aunt and cousins came to say goodbye in the evening before George got home.  Lydia and I were packing things all day.  Now that the other girls were not around I could put everything in boxes and it went a lot faster.  Hopefully this will be the last time that we move ourselves, but I’m actually glad that I could box everything up so that unpacking was somewhat more organized and so I could get rid of things we didn’t need or use.  In the future, even if we hire movers, I think I want to do the packing.


One last picture in front of 3614 N Hoyne- our home for the five years of residency.  We moved in with one child and left with four!

After George’s test was over, he had dinner with his co-residents.  When he got home, we walked up to Scooter’s custard one last time to celebrate having this test behind us.  My sister, Therese, came up on the train late Thursday night.  The three of us were up until 2am again packing, taking down light fixtures, taking beds apart, etc.  Finally everything was set to go for moving day.


Unpacking at the new house

Friday morning I dropped George off to get the truck and when I came back our moving help was at our house.  All together there were 10 of us.  It took a lot longer to pack everything into the truck than either of us thought.  We started around 8am and were pulling out of town after noon.  We couldn’t have done it without our awesome, hard working friends!  George drove the truck out here with Eddie riding shotgun.  Therese, Lydia and I drove the car.  We stopped at my aunt and uncle’s house in Cleveland, which was about halfway.  We were kind of in a time crunch because we had lined up friends out here to help us unload Saturday afternoon and we had to hit the road pretty early Saturday to make it on time.


Our new home for this year

The plan was for the girls to not wait on the guys (who had to drive slower in the truck).  We were all set with our cleaning supplies to get things spit-spot before the truck arrived and all our stuff was brought in.  Our previous two places were not clean at all when we moved in.  The floors and cabinets were pretty dirty and needed scouring before we unpacked our stuff.  Much to our surprise and delight, the land lady had this place sparkling!  She was working in the lawn when we arrived and was able to show us around.  The guys were about an hour and a half behind us so we got a little time to chill.  It took about 2.5 hours to unload everything and move it into the house.  We had three extra guys helping us.  After they left, we had some Chick fil a, returned the truck and began unpacking boxes.  We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning Sunday and Monday.  Therese and I put the last things away around 4am Monday morning…a mere 33 hours- give or take a bit.  We couldn’t have gotten it finished so quickly without Therese and Eddie’s help!


Enjoying our front porch.  I love porches (and window boxes)!


Taking our helpers out for Maryland seafood!

Monday we drove around downtown Baltimore and ran to a few stores.  Tuesday morning we got up nice and early to drop Eddie off at the airport.  Therese didn’t leave until Tuesday evening.  We ended up spending the day in Annapolis, taking a nap, touring the Naval Academy, eating some seafood…in that order 🙂


In One Month

tuckerlaneOne month from today, George will be done with boards, we will have made our cross-country trek, will hopefully be somewhat unpacked and will be going to sleep in our HOUSE!  We’ve been in the same apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood for the past five years.  It’s a lovely place with lots of sunshine, a big kitchen, three small bedrooms and a tiny front and back yard.  We’ve loved this apartment but are super excited to be able to rent a house with a beautiful big yard and will no longer have to worry about the kids being too loud for our neighbors downstairs. (it’s a lot harder than you think…and I don’t know that we did such a great job being quiet…but we tried!)


Top: Our new rental house front yard; Bottom: Our new backyard, complete with a “zee-bo and a ham-hock” as Clara says.

Kitchen helpers


Grace and Ellie are both puny today.  Amazingly enough, they both are taking naps so look with I get to do with Clara and Lydia…mix up some cookies!  Our favorites to make are oatmeal chocolate chip.  I use the recipe from the Quaker Oats box, but here’s my variation:

Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 c brown sugar (or even less.  I like to scamp on the sugar and add more chocolate chips to make up for it!)
Then add:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt and mix well.
Stir in:
1 1/2 c. flour
3 c. quick oats
1-2 c. dark chocolate chips
slivered almonds, rice krispies, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax seed ground or whole, whatever else sounds yummy!

Bake 350* for 8-10 minutes.  I like to take mine out when the bottom is barely golden brown and the top is still a little glossy (i.e. probably not fully baked).  You then have a nice moist and semi-gooey cookie after it’s cooled.  Enjoy and if you try them, let me know what you think!