Monday, May 16, 2016


There were a lot of reasons we chose to brunch at Crio while in Chicago but the biggest of those? Pulled pork loaded fries on their menu. Um, yum! Unfortunately, those fries weren't on the brunch menu but what we did have was amazing. 

First, though, let's talk service. The restaurant wasn't very crowded so the server, who was very nice, was able to give us a lot of attention. She wasn't overbearing or anything but, for the most part, kept our bottomless mimosas ... bottomless. My only complaint is that you could tell there became a point when the staff was ready for us to leave. Yes, we'd been there for a while but it's not like we were loud or unruly. 

Now, foooooood. 

People, this place was delicious. 

I had an omelet ... that was stuffed in a poblano pepper! I texted Mark pretty much immediately and told him this is something we MUST try to recreate. It was so good, just the right amount of heat, and the accompanying breakfast potatoes really complimented the dish. 

D had the chilaquiles (and turned me on them forever!)and Mo had the torta de carne asada. Both were delicious but I still think my dish was the best! ;)

 Bottom line: this was probably the best meal we ate in Chicago. It's away from downtown but that keeps the crowd to a minimum. I'd love to go back on a weeknight and try their more extensive menu!  The price point was perfect, too, and we left feeling full and happy.  I'll definitely be back!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Why

I could begin this post by listing a ton of reasons why being a mom sometimes really sucks (and I honestly thought about starting if that way!) But, instead, I'm going to give you The Why. And also a bunch of favorite mothering pictures.

Prepping to move means I have stuff ever.y.where. Everywhere! The other day before school, K2 found a stack of pictures. Her and her brothers on Halloween, a beach trip before she was born, one of the boys' kindergarten graduation pictures, and another beach trip picture that showed just her brothers. Pictures of her family. 

"Can I take these to school?"
I hemmed and hawed. I didn't want them to get lost or damaged but finally decided it was okay. She was SO excited. 

"Oh, thank you! Thank you, Mommy! This is my family, these are my heart!"

And tears filled my eyes and pride filled my heart and I thought ... This is it! This is why we do this whole motherhood thing!

These are my heart. 


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Disciplining the Pre-Teen

And hence the need for discipline!

I struggle - and struggle mightily! - with discipline more and more as my children get older. I have one child who, like me when I was younger, considers getting admonished the worst punishment on earth. I have another who still responds to grounding. And yet another who is going to make me yank every last hair outta my head! Enter: creative punishments.

Here are a few things I've done that are affective. At least they're affective ... for now. I don't know much about discipline but, over the last 9.5 years, I've learned that it's certainly something that's always evolving. (I also want to add . . . I know most people don't necessarily see 9.5 as a pre-teen but BELIEVE ME, these days?  IT IS.)

1) Research and write essays. 

My preteen HATES this. Hates it! But, honestly, it's the most affective thing right now (because he does hate it!) and he's learning something in the process. I've made my child look up things like the Civil Rights Movement or the solar system or even a certain country and write a one-page essay on it. After the essays are done, I "grade" and make him do corrections.

2) Write Wikipedia, Articles, Etc. 

Also known as the modern day form of writing the encyclopedia! I've been known to pull up articles and make the kiddos copy them. Again, they're being punished and they're learning something. 

3) Watch "Boring" Videos ... And Write a Report on Them 

As you can see, writing reports is the current choice of punishment around here.  I really do appreciate that my children are learning something while being disciplined for whatever they did wrong.  And this one is . . . well, do you remember when you were in school and you'd walk in class and see the TV cart?  "Yessssssss!" you would think.  UNTIL.  Your teacher told you that you had to write a report on the movie you were watching which, inevitably, would be the most boring video ever.  Thank you, elementary and middle school teachers, for inspiring this punishment!
4) Do a Sibling's Chores

Ouch! What'd worse than having to do extra chores? Doing your brother's chores! I usually bust this one out when they've been mean to a sibling. 

5) Write an Apology Letter 

This one is self explanatory and also offers a good dose of humility.  (And, for the record, I've also made one of my children write down all the lyrics to Tim McGraw's Humble and Kind when they needed a pride-check.)

6) Music They Hate

I'm honestly really proud of myself for this one!  Ha!  Unfortunately, kids these days are introduced to raunchy, nasty music at younger and younger ages.  My children know what their music limits are and when they break them, well, I go to the other extreme and they're made to listen to music they hate.  This is especially affective if your boyfriend busts out his "best" dance moves.  Some songs we've used include "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma, "Elvira," "Big John," "All the Gold in California," and "Coca Cola Cowboy."  As you can see, older country isn't a favorite for these kids.

7) Call in Grandma

Same with music, kids are introduced to nasty words and sayings at younger ages.  I'm not talking about repeating "the s-word" because they heard Mom or Dad say it one too many times.  I'm talking about some true filth that they really don't even know what it means.  It does no good to wash their mouth out with soap; they're practically teenagers.  So I have made them call grandma.  Anything you're going to say to any person ever, you should also be able to say to your grandma.  If you can't say it to her, DON'T SAY IT AT ALL.  I warned my mom ahead of time so she knew what was going to happen.  I made the offending child FaceTime her and read the awful things he'd written to another person.  He couldn't believe he was having to say those things to his grandma!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Purple Pig

It was a Friday night in Chicago, I was hanging with these girls:

And we were hooooongry!

We decided to stick close to our hotel for dinner so headed across the street to The Purple Pig for tapas. Share plates? Yasss! One of my favorite things ever!

The restaurant was on the small side but, even though it was a cold night, they had the patio open. It was enclosed and they had heat lamps ablaze so it was perfectly comfortable ... maybe even a little too warm at times!

The place had a young/ hipster-y vibe which always makes me kinda roll my eyes and also be thankful than I lived out my 20's in the early 2000's even though the early 2000's meant super low rise jeans. Still better than men in skinny jeans, amIright? Anyway, total hipster vibe to this place and I felt every bit of my 35 years, every bit of my "lives in the 'burbs" self. 

Our waiter was pretty awesome, though maybe slightly harried. He was friendly and gave good advice on the menu. He gets four and a half stars, as does the beer, the rest of the experience though ...

Here's the deal: 

I love tapas and share plates. I understand that they're smaller portions. However. Smaller portions should be smaller prices. If I'm paying $15 for a pork belly share plate, there needs to be more than three small pieces of pork on that plate! Obviously, I took issue with the quantity of food verses the price. 

Now let's talk quality. We each ordered two plates for a grand total of six dishes to share. Our "side" type dishes (smashed potatoes, cauliflower, and I can't even remember the other one!) were ... they were not good. Everything had a vinegar-y, lemon-y taste to it. When we questioned the waiter, he explained it was because everything was heavy on Mediterranean flavor. Yeah, I don't mind Mediterranean food but that was all too much. 

As far as the "entrees," everything we ordered was very good. We had the octopus, pork belly, and pork shoulder. And all were delicious. However, they were very overpriced. Honestly, the food we got just wasn't worth how much we paid. AND we were all still a touch hungry when we left. 

Chicago is an AMAZING food city. The Purple Pig can't even compete. Skip it when you're in the city.