The Big Freeze

photo 4-17 degrees Fahrenheit is no fun! For only the second time in the almost 15 years that I’ve lived in Chicago, the city has shut down and people are barricading themselves at home. Chicago’s a tough city, but this is ridiculous. Yet somehow, I look out my window and there are still folks walking nonchalantly down the street and waiting at bus stops for buses that surely are not coming as the street is no longer visible. There are children happily holding hands with their daddies as they get dropped off at the daycare across the street, while Asher meanwhile kicks and screams as we wrap him in a blanket like a burrito and strong daddy has to carry him the one block distance which feels like a mile and he screams at the top of his lungs that he doesn’t want mommy’s scarf. People are posting videos all over Facebook of what it looks like to toss a cup of boiling water into the air as it turns to hot mist. I get it people, you’re not deterred by this weather. But you know what? I prefer to stay indoors. Tent forts have been our preoccupation this weekend for Everett, and Asher’s exploratory nature has taken him throughout the house pulling out old toys and making collections of like objects. Our heaters have been bumped up high enough that Asher came into our room last night at 1:00am asking for a cup of water because his room was hot. I don’t care!

photo 2photo 3Gearing up for the Big Freeze of 2014 naturally took us Costco. Last Saturday, Asher adamantly pushed the over sized shopping cart through the television aisle dazing at the large screens proclaiming that this is where the eggs are kept, and then happily declared “They have couches here too!!!” We busied ourselves in the cafe with pizza and churros, and then spent nearly $200 on nothing. Yes, I have enough toilet paper, paper towels, and coffee creamer to get us through this Apocalypse. But somehow we got home and I felt like I didn’t buy anything of substance or nutrition. Well, I did get a pineapple.

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A White Flag Thanksgiving

turtleWell Thanksgiving was a bust this year. Asher started morning preschool two weeks ago, and by the end of his first week he had a raging fever which quickly spread throughout the house and resurged in some new capacity every few days until we were all forced to raise the white flag and give up on seeing the outside world for six days. Both boys developed inner ear infections and were miserable, and Robby and I stayed up every night comforting, cradling, medicine dosing, and crying ourselves into sleep-deprived naps on the floor next to the crib. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted on white bread and whiskey with baby monitors and Advil on hand, and we were feeling mighty sorry for ourselves.

berriesWhile being home with sick little ones especially on a long holiday weekend really blows, it was also kind of the best and I have a lot to be grateful for this year. In just this one week, our soon-to-be-one-year-old Everett is now crawling, eating, and blubbering like a real toddler. He hates the sight of baby food, and he only wants to play with legos, crawl through tunnels, and haphazardly shovel an entire banana into his mouth. What happened?! Are we just too busy to notice the small changes that happen every day? Or did he really just wake up and decide to literally develop overnight? As a family, we were able to heal and grow together this past week, and my husband and I were reminded that we can pull through the worst of days relying only on each other. What a concept and test of marriage!

kale chickpea Last night was the first night all four of us slept well and happy, and in celebration I finally cooked a meal! This kale chickpea red pepper stew is so delicious and nutritious, and is best served on top of a bed of quinoa. The entire cost to serve 4 people is around $5.

KALE CHICKPEA RED PEPPERS

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch kale, roughly torn from stems
1 red pepper, julienned

In large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Stir in kale and cook for 5-6 minutes. This fry will give the kale a little bit of a roasted taste. Then add vegetable broth, red peppers and chickpeas and cook another 7 – 8 minutes. Serve over quinoa, pasta, or cous cous for a delicious side dish or main entree. You can also top with red pepper flakes or parmesan for a bit of Italian flavor.