I shouldn’t be allowed in church at all (an allergic Advent story)

Despite recent events, I generally consider myself a responsible human being and pretty good at things like functioning in society. When it comes to my kids, that is. As for me? Apparently I have all of the self-preservation of a blindfolded lemming. The other morning, we took the kids to church. At 7:45am. (It was the only early English-speaking mass and it’s literally less than a block north of our home, so it’s more doable than it seems on paper.) {Read More}

4 very specific ways Netflix saved my holiday season (so far)

As a member of Netflix’s Stream Team, I love sharing the best of the streaming best each month- and this month, it may even restore a little of your fa la la. Although I’m compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and travel chargers are entirely my own. The craziness of the holidays is upon us, friends. (Heck, it’s always upon us, but now it’s wearing a little jingle bell.) Even if you’re staying in town- even if you’ve finished your shopping by {Read More}

“You’ll Want to Play With These, Too” Holiday Gift Guide & Book Giveaway!

Usually I let my kids do the fun stuff; the reviewing, the taste-testing, and the experiencing. Not today. I’ve gotta tell you- as soon as these gems arrived on my front porch, I knew that not only were these the kind of toys I wanted to play with, but that this season seemed to be ushering in a renewed love of free play with never-ending options. How awesome is that? (Disclosure: Although I’ve been compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and toys {Read More}

Here’s what’s making me cry this week.

I’ll admit it, I’m a happy crier. I’ll admit even more: I’m a happy crier who used to mock my own mother’s “isn’t this beautiful” welling-up at ads, movies, D.A.R.E. graduations, and so on. But in light of the fact that there’s been so much sad crying lately (and angry crying and incredulous crying and and and…), I’ll cheerfully put my reformed ways out in the open. Most recently, I happy-cried at the Goodman’s beautiful ‘A Christmas Carol,’ during the {Read More}

Win 4 tickets to the House Theatre’s (ballet-free!) ‘Nutcracker’

If The Nutcracker makes you think of slippered children and the type of dances that Sugarplum Fairies like best, then the House Theatre of Chicago’s take on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale is the refreshing palate cleanser your holiday season may just require. Created by Jake Minton, Phillip Klapperich, Kevin O’Donnell and Tommy Rapley, and directed by Chris Mathews, this production has garnered quite a devoted following over the past 8 years. First off, there’s no ballet. Zero Tchaikovsky. And, while there’s definitely {Read More}

Signing off, sending love, sharing ideas

Oh, loves, it has been a YEAR. Since I’m in a share-y kinda mood, here’s this great piece I read the other day. You know how (many, many, many) of you feel like this was an utterly write-off-able year? Here’s the awesome thing: It actually was moderately/pretty close to wonderfully wonderful. Want to keep it that way for 2017 and check off some last-minute gifts at the very same time? Donate here: To help the people of Syria, the Red {Read More}

5 of my favorite holiday gifts & a giveaway!

Disclosure: Sometimes I get things for free! Sometimes I just love to promote people and things and require no more compensation than a hearty (virtual) handshake. Neither scenario impacts my words in the slightest, as all thoughts, opinions, and gingerbread feelings are entirely my own. *** One of my favorite parts of blogging is- and has always been- sharing my favorite companies and products with people whom I’m 99% certain would be hanging out with me and buying the same {Read More}

5 seemingly unrelated December thoughts

The world is way too big right now and the month of December is entirely too short. Life is absolutely careening, my immune system issues are in yuck-ish stasis, and I find myself less and less equipped at dealing with the shebang. So this week- ha ha- I haven’t! Please enjoy my 5 random December thoughts- this week (so far): 5) You know how people are always talking about finding joy, holding joy, and other verb-y ways of keeping joy in {Read More}