Sunday, January 27, 2013


After weekends of planning for fun and having planned fun, this was a weekend of living-in-the-moment fun. It's exactly what we needed - a Saturday of part-exploring/part-errands and a Sunday where the weather is predicted to be icy rain so we are staying tucked indoors.

Saturday was a brightly sunny and chilly day. Our morning started at the children's photography studio jookie. The owner Jill is a Northwestern alum as well. In 2008, she photographed a one-year-old Jack.

We were thrilled to give back through her Valentine's Day fundraiser. We are excited to see the images she captured, which we'll share. Jack, per usual, did not want to go, and as soon as we got there, while I was still fussing with Jossie's hair, Jack was already in front of the camera, giving Jill adorable smiles. 

jookie is located in my BFF's old neighborhood, Chicago's Lincoln Square. We never go there anymore, so a trip up there warranted some time walking around the neighborhood and poking around the many locally owned shops. Timeless Toys has all of the requisite Melissa & Doug and Playmobil gear, but they also have a great selection of lesser-known board games and dress-up clothes. Gene's Sausage Shop is just as amazing as it sounds (besides smoked meats they have a nice selection of specialty ingredients, like fine sea salt). And Merz Apothecary has a variety of natural health and beauty products, including my new favorite, friend-recommended hand cream, Lotil

Our outing also included brunch at Cafe Selmarie, where we ran into college friends and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of multi-grain pancakes, scrambled eggs and chicken sausage. We rarely brunch anymore, with having the two littles, so this was a treat. I may have ordered myself a mimosa. It's very Middle America there - patrons dressed in oversized sweaters, jeans or leggings and snow boots. Little ones are rapping silverware against the tables, their hair sticking up from their mamas pull wool caps off of their heads. Local watercolors adorn the walls and are sale for purchase. The servers are all twenty-somethings, wearing their funky eyeglasses while serving up creative dishes like cinnamon roll griddlecakes. 

I like to record these outings - this moment in time while the kids are little, and we're city dwellers enjoying Chicago's treasures.  I sometimes think the story of my blog is this story - Chicago living with young children, making a home in 1,300-square feet of condo with the city as our backyard.

And today is Sunday. Everyone was in bed until 8 a.m., which is unheard of. I made waffles. They were not overly sweet but do have a hint of cinnamon warmth. To make them appealling to kids, add some maple syrup, fruit and/or a dollop of whipped cream.

Buttermilk waffles

2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt (did you notice the foreshadowing above?)

Preheat a waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk, beat the eggs until evenly mixed. Add buttermilk, oil, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk together until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until just the large lumps disappear. The waffle batter should be a little thicker than heavy cream. Transfer the batter to a large glass measuring pitcher (I used a four-cup measuring glass).

While the waffle iron is hot, pour some batter evenly over the center of the grid, easing it toward but not into the corners and edges with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.  Close the iron and cook for 3-4 minutes. Enjoy!

And that's it - just a bunch of relaxing and some cooking for the rest of the day. Happy relaxing Sunday to you.

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