How did we end up here? We've lived in Northern Illinois for 20 years. Way too long for this vegetarian! Thankfully, we're only a Metra ride away from Chicago.

Monday, November 09, 2015

This one time

on spring break(this past March), we loaded up the car and drove straight south until we met the Gulf of Mexico. As we get older, the winters in Chicagoland seem to get colder and last longer. Our first food stop on the way south was for bbq for the meat eaters at a spot outside of Memphis.

We spent a couple of days along the Gulf beach at a cute town called Bay St Louis,MS.

We rented a nice apartment through HomeAway to enjoy the sand and the sun. It was only a block from the beach!

After a nice day on the beach it was time to head an hour west to New Orleans. What a change from the sleepy beach town!
We rented another apartment through HomeAway but this time it was a studio right on Bourbon Street. 

I doubt other people would take their kids sight seeing down Bourbon Street at night but since we were staying right there we thought we might as well. Here they are standing outside of Lafitte's bar.

We visited cemeteries,

walked around Jackson square,
wandered through the French Market,
toured the Jazz Museum,
rode the street car to the Garden District,
and spent some time listening to various bands along Frenchman Street. We were there on St. Patrick's Day and experienced catching beads from the parade moving through the French Quarter.

Finding gluten free food was extremely challenging in New Orleans. It's the only city we've been to where menus are not clearly labeled and finding food for the two celiacs in my family was very difficult.

There was more bbq,

Bananas foster prepared tableside(for breakfast!).
Really good coffee!!
Beignets at Cafe Du Monde for the ones who can eat wheat. And coffee au lait for those who can't.
And lots of Zapps Potato Chips. Terribly unhealthy but at least they were clearly labeled gluten free! Trust me no one wants to be around a "hangry" Dad.

The two days in New Orleans flew by and it was time to hop back in the car and head back home. We made a stop in downtown Memphis this time so I could listen to live blues and walk on Beale Street.
It was a marathon driving trip of 2000 miles and only lasted 5 days but it was one of those family road trips you "wish you would take but just haven't gotten around to yet". Well, we finally did it! And once we arrived back home I wanted to go back and do it all over again. A week or so later I scheduled our next adventure. Heading back to NOLA for New Years Eve!! I can't wait for more fun times together. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Over the past two weeks we floated on the Sun Princess cruise ship for almost 6,000 miles. With only 4 ports it was the perfect itinerary for a knitter. We left Los Angeles with nice weather and a beautiful sunset as we were leaving the harbor.

A couple of days later, our boat encountered 19 foot waves and very high wind gusts so the captain changed our course and headed straight for Hilo on the big island instead of Maui.

We hit the farmer's market downtown before walking over to Finn's favorite shop of this vacation. He picked out a Hawaiian made uke to add to his collection.

Next we headed over to see Akaka Falls State Park. This was the only day without rain so the trail/area looked beautiful.

Next up was the black sand beach of Punalu'u where a few green sea turtles were sunning themselves.

The following day we stopped in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. It was cold, rainy, and windy but that didn't stop us from touring around the island. Our first stop was for pineapple at Dole. Did you know it takes 3 years for a pineapple to form and it will never become any riper than it was when harvested. It was so sweet and juicy.

Next stop was Sunset Beach at the Bonzai Pipeline on the North Shore to watch the surfers. They cancelled the Volcom Pipe Pro the day we were there due to no waves and horrible weather.

We stopped at the famous shaved ice place-Matsumoto's Grocery Store.

We made another food stop at  Giovanni's Shrimp Truck.

All the bad weather didn't stop us from another stop at Kailua beach on the other side of the island.

Before heading back to the ship we drank Mai Tais at a hotel on Waikiki Beach.

Kauai was our third island stop. Yes, another day of rain and clouds! But we ventured around the island with our first stop at the Waimea Canyon State Park, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Next up was driving to the South part of the island to see the Spouting Horn Park.

And another beach to view some grey whales from the shore.

The next day we sailed on to Maui to try to tender in. No luck as we had 70 mph winds. This is all we saw of Maui.

All the sea days this year were perfect for playing ukulele,

watching a sunset from the back of the ship,

watching movies and knitting,

and eating fancy five course dinners.

Superbowl Sunday we watched the game on the big screen with Mexico as our backdrop and dodged raindrops yet again.

Despite all the bad weather we had a great time. I'll take bad weather days in Hawaii over winter in Chicagoland anyday!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Camping and Biking Adventure

We had a very cold and rainy Memorial Day weekend but that didn't stop us from heading to Wisconsin.  The biggest challenge was fitting everything into a sedan. Next time=less stuff!
We didn't really plan on heading to the Dells but the threat of rain kept us from the bike trails on Saturday.We played a few hours of mini golf instead.

With temps in the low 40's our campfire was very cozy.

The main reason we ventured up to this location is the bike trail. There are 3 tunnels on this converted train rail.

I loved the rolling hills and small dairy farms dotting the landscape in this neck of the woods. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In the News

Over the past couple of months members of my family have been spotted in the local news.
Chance won a talent scholarship at NIU Community School of the Arts.

Finn is participating in the CSA Children's Choir for the second year. He was spotted sporting his Minecraft Periodic Table t-shirt in an article in the NIU Today.

This past weekend I went over to help out at the Dekalb County Community Garden plot behind city hall. And a picture of me and my purple hand knits appeared in the local paper.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Day at the Museum

We decided to spend the day at one of our favorite Chicago museums, the Museum of Science and Industry.  They just opened a new traveling exhibit called Animal Inside Out. We have a membership this year but this exhibit requires an additional fee. It's a good thing we purchased them ahead of time as it sold out for the day. It was a fantastic exhibit.

We've been to this museum so many times it's nice to check out the new exhibits. The guys also liked an exhibit called Things come apart. Here they are in front of the piano parts picture.

Since we were so close to my favorite "fast food" vegan restaurant we stopped on over to the Native Foods Cafe. The family was less than thrilled but I had a great meal that was meat free and also gluten free.

Friday, March 22, 2013

19 Years Ago today

I was in Las Vegas getting hitched.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Taking a vacation

Prendre des vacances, Urlaub machen, tomar unas vacaciones. In any language it means the same-relaxation and a break from the same old routine.
We made our way to Ft.Lauderdale and we were ready to board the Holland America ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam.

We had had a full day at sea before reaching our first stop.
Island #1-Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
The ships have use of a private pool which was really nice but we took a cab to a nearby beach to get away from the ship crowd.

Island #2-San Juan, Puerto Rico
Finn caught the flu and we took turns nursing him back to health for the next few days. We took a quick stroll around town and around the forts of old San Juan before heading back on board.

Island #3-Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
This island is half Dutch,Sint Maarten and half French,Saint Martin.With so many beaches listed on the map for this island we decided to rent a Jeep for the day. This was not the best weather day for exploring beaches.

Island #4-Half Moon Cay,Bahamas
After a day at sea we arrived at Holland America's private island. Another day of clouds and rain but we braved the tender's to make it to the beach.

We headed back to Ft. Lauderdale to let 2/3 of the ship off and pick up a new batch of cruisers. The next day we were back at Half Moon for another round of clouds. At least Finn was finally feeling well enough to leave the boat and come ashore with us for this stop.

Island #5-Georgetown, Grand Cayman
More tenders to get to shore, seven cruise ships in town at the same time, and more clouds. We still managed to hop a taxi to the beach. This turned out to be the best stop for fish viewing.

Island #6-Mahogany Bay,Roatan
Finally a day with sunshine! We hopped on a chair lift to the beach,

 ordered cervezas, and camped out beneath a palm tree.

Last stop before heading back to Ft. Lauderdale-Costa Maya, Mexico.
Guess what? Yep, it was cloudy and 65 degrees for most of our time here. But we took advantage of a break in the clouds for a little bit of sun and camped out reading in a lounge chair for a couple of hours.

It was nice to get away for 2 weeks. Let's do it again next year!