Saturday, September 29, 2012


*Please note: this is a sponsored post, but as usual are opinions are my own

Happy Saturday everyone!

Earlier this month I told you about 2Toots Train Whistle Grill.
I mentioned they were the only restaurant that had "O" scale trains deliver everyone's food. I also said I had no idea what "O" scale was and I'd ask my husband who would surely know. And he did not disappoint me! "O" scale is twice the size of "HO" {which is the most popular size of model railroad in America} and is one of the larger indoor model railroad. "G" scale is the size that most garden railroads are made from (so if you've ever been to a botanical garden or the like and seen a model railroad). Kind of neat! We've been to train shows before but I've never asked him about scale, so it was fun to get to pick his brain a bit!

But, back to 2Toots. I also told you that they have awesome 100%grass fed, prairie-raised meat and you can even buy some to take home. {Again, I will mention I loved my burger a lot. I keep telling the kids we'll run over to get some hotdogs to have for lunch one day but have yet to actually make the trip}.

In addition to all of that, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful event they are hosting on Thursday, October 4. It's Safety Day at 2Toots. They will have the Bartlett Police and Fire Department there along with Operation Lifesaver (which is all about being safe around trains and tracks). I have a very excited 6 year old at my house who has already asked if we can go {along with a 12 year old who thinks if we go, we should definitely get some shakes again!}

So add it to your calendar and come out and have some fun if you are in the Chicago area!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Fun

I've done this before occasionally, but decided it was time to do it again!

Here are some things I've seen around the internet that make me smile =)

Rustic Burlap Wreath from Too Much Time On My Hands

I'd love to try to make this for my house. It's just gorgeous!

Harvest Time Apron from Primitive Quilt Shop. I'd love to have this to wear while making applesauce or pumpkin pie. Well, okay, assuming I was actually going to make those things!

Capture Life Necklace from The Rusted Chain. Sigh. It's just fun and nice! Also, I've met Beki before and she is simply lovely.

Double Rope Braid Bun from The Beauty Department. My oldest has started dance classes and she must have a bun for ballet. We actually did this to her hair and it turned out great.

And two outfits from Title Nine that I'm dreaming of owning. Especially the red boots that match the red outfit. Sigh. A girl can dream can't she?

Have a great weekend everyone! =)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Punch in the gut

Through our local library, my 10 year old {sidenote: she turned 10 this month and that's the first time I've typed it! I can't believe how fast they grow up} signed up to be a pen pal with someone at a local retirement home. It's kind of fun because not only do they write letters to each other, but they read the same book and talk about it in their letters too!

She is very exited about this. She has a penpal that is her age and loves it, so I knew it would be a good fit to sign up for this. A few weeks ago she found out there was a match for her - she is writing a letter to Sister L. She was asked to write her first letter to introduce herself and yesterday she read it to me before we sent it in.

She started pretty much how I imagined she would ... Hello, I'm 10 years old. I have a brother and a sister ... but then she said in 2011 my mom was diagnosed with cancer. But she's in remission now and I'm happy about that. We went to Colorado for vacation in August.

Whoa. It felt like a punch in the gut. I don't know why. I mean, it's not a secret I had cancer. I don't care that she shared it. And it makes sense that she would because frankly, for some time there our whole lives revolved around my cancer. But still. To hear her say it. I couldn't help it. I started to cry. And then I felt like an idiot for crying about it. I don't know why other than I'm just so darn emotional these days. Or maybe I've just been so emotional forever but am just feeling it more these days?


On a non-depressing note, I think this is a very cool program for my daughter to be participating in. I'm not sure who is more excited to read her first letter from Sister L =)

Monday, September 24, 2012


On Friday I posted the following quote on my facebook page
In one of it's earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart" ... we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. ~Brené Brown
I read this in a book I'm reading (yes, I'm reading again, or at least trying too) and it really stuck with me. 

At the same time, in a group I participate in a person opened up and shared something deeply personal and hard to share. Basically Jane (not the real name) told us all about a problem she was having that was hard to share. Seemingly, Jane had it all together. I mean, sure we've all shared before, all of us at different levels, but for Jane, this was deeper than what she has shared before. You could feel the vulnerability in her words. I imagine, though I haven't asked, that when Jane shared she felt some relief in being able to get those words out and an immediate desire to take it all back. But she didn't delete her words, she kept them. And a beautiful thing happened. Others started sharing. Others started to talk about similar problems they were having or had had. It was beautiful (with just the right amount of humor sprinkled in). 

Sometime late last night it hit me, Jane had shown courage in opening up and sharing with us. And by her being courageous, it pathed the way for more people to courageous with what they needed to share too. 

This is what I wish I could do more of. To be more open and vulnerable. To have courage to share even the hard stuff. I think this is what I was trying to say on Friday, and I just didn't know it yet. 

Related: When things come together like this, it always blows my mind. Have you ever had a moment like this where things just click. Is it a sign from God, the universe, something? Or is it just coincidence. I think it's a sign. Something bigger than me is trying to open my eyes and tell me something. I'm just really bad at listening, so it has to come in more than once from several different directions before I finally "get it".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I know, I know. I don't post often enough. I don't mean to not post too often. I don't mean to just disappear. Truly, I'm a flaky blogger - and I know this. And I'm sorry about that.

The crazy thing is that I even have a list of things I want to write about and tell you about. But somehow, too often, sitting down to write just doesn't happen. Sometimes I want to write, but I can't find the right words. Other times I'm afraid I'll share something so mundane that you'll wonder why I shared something so boring with you. Not often, but sometimes, I am too scared to write what is actually on my mind - sometimes I am not brave enough to share things with you. Other days I don't write because I feel like I spend too much time whining and who really wants to come back to read whiny posts? Then there are the times where I worry that I'm over-sharing. {Sometimes people joke about it with me, at least I think they are joking. But then I wonder if it's really a joke, or do I actually annoy people with it.} And of course sometimes I struggle with talking about my children - aren't some stories really theirs to tell? And not mine? Then there are just days where I have no motivation to sit and share. And one day turns into two, turns into 5 turns into too many.

I've always struggled with this. Lately, I feel like I struggle with it even more. Some days I wonder if I shouldn't just shut this blog down completely, take some time off, and maybe start over - or maybe not. Then again, those are often the days I also wonder if I shouldn't just get rid of everything in our house and start all over. But, like with all the stuff in my house, I really wouldn't do that. It means too much to me, even on the days it overwhelms me.

I know I don't write often enough. I know I don't write well. I'll never be a big deal on the internet. I'll never get a book contract from the blog. I won't be asked to be in a commercial or make money off of ads. And I'm okay with that - none of that is my goal. I'm here blogging for the same reason I sing loudly around my house (even though I suck at singing). I do it for me. Because I enjoy it. And I love it, even if I do it poorly. When I do it, it makes me smile. It feels right in my core, like it's always been a part of me.

So I will continue to blog - not as often as I should, but I will do the best I can. I hope you'll continue reading.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Listen To Your Mother

In May, I was lucky enough to be a part of Chicago's performance of Listen To Your Mother. I still feel today how I felt about it the next day: the show was amazing. Being a part of it was incredible.

This week, the videos from the show went live. I was very nervous about this. I know how I felt inside while I was doing it, but I wasn't sure how I looked to the rest of the world. Frankly I was nervous to see. In fact, the videos went live a few days ago but I didn't watch it at first. But, I finally made myself watch it. And I didn't even hate it. In fact, I actually like it.

So for you, if you want to watch it, here it is

I also encourage you to go and watch all the videos from the Chicago show. We had an awesome show and you won't regret carving out time to watch them here.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2 Toots!

*Note: This is a sponsored post. But, as usual, all opinions and thoughts are my own!

My family loves trains. I've written about trains before. We just traveled on vacation on a train. So, to sum up, we love trains LOL!

A while ago, close by a new restaurant opened up called 2Toots Train Whistle Grill. When it was new, my husband took the kids over for dinner and they had a good time {I was probably at a doctor's appointment or sick or something} and I was bummed I couldn't go with. But earlier this month, I was able to fix this.

I took my oldest, my youngest and myself and headed over to Bartlett, IL location of 2Toots and we were in for a treat for sure! All the seats at the restaurant are near the track so your food is delivered to you on a train. My 6 year old was geeking out about this. He would like a similar system in place at home now. The trains are all an "O" scale train (okay, okay, I can't lie. I have no idea what this means. But I will ask my husband who is a train buff and wishes he had his own model railway at home and report back). Even the 12 year old admitted it "wasn't bad" which is like one of the best compliments she can give at this point! LOL!

Mister Man enjoyed a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. The girl (who is not so much a girl but a young women) and I enjoyed a hamburger. And let me tell you about this burger, it was delish.

But wait! (she says in her best infomercial voice) there's more! The meat is 100% grass fed and 100% prairie raised. The hotdogs are the same way. Seriously I'm very impressed by this fact. I do try to buy my meats like this when I can (which isn't always) so it's nice to have a restaurant close to home that is serving it!

To finish up our meal, and because I am just that awesome of a mom, I let both kids get a shake. Naturally, I had to sample them to ensure they were okay and this may have been my favorite part of the meal. We've talked about going back just to get shakes as a nice snack one time. 

 Overall, I was really impressed with 2Toots. The food was great, the atmosphere is wonderful, and we all had a good time eating there. We will definitely be going back again - everyone loves the trains and I love that the meats are grass-fed.