Saturday, November 21, 2015

Winterizing Your Home

So Chicago just had its first snow fall, and there are many things you must do to get ready for winter. The mind boggling thing is that many people just don't do any of it?!


1. Disconnect your garden hose outside and store it for the winter.  Leaving hoses connected to spigots may cause interior water lines to freeze and burst.

2. Store your patio furniture.  Why leave it out to get damaged?  Some folks are just lazy, others just have too much crap in their garage.  But why leave your nice items outside to get damaged by old man winter?  Don't even get me started on those folks with too much crap in their garage...

3. Maintain your furnace.  We have our heating/cooling company come by each year to maintain our furnace and a/c.  Is it a waste?  No. Preventative maintenance can identify issues before you have a furnace go kaput in the middle of winter.  This past time he found out a piece of our humidifier wasn't working properly and was recalled.  He replaced it for free.  Also, change your furnace filters!

4. Install storm windows/doors/weatherproofing plastic over windows.  We also have energy efficient drapes in two rooms of the house.  They are black out curtains that can also keep heat out/in.  Love them.

5. Call your local energy company (gas/electric/etc) and get an energy assessment.  We did this over the summer and had COMED (Chicago company) come and see where we could cut down costs.  We installed all new LED light fixtures, especially outside.  You don't have to change lightbulbs with an LED fixture.  Why is this cool?  In the winter, the temperature fluctuating can affect the life expectancy of these bulbs.  So why not just get a new fixture?  We did, spent about $20 per fixture, and they should last 10-15 years.  NO LIGHTBULB CHANGING!!!  

What are some of your tips and tricks for getting your home ready for winter?

Monday, November 16, 2015


Have you ever just been in such a rut that you just can't get out of it?  I am trying to stay motivated today catching up on life.  Sending out much needed mail.  Cleaning out the inbox.  Breathing.
I almost want to just fast forward through the holidays at this point.  Baby girl makes me more and more uncomfortable every day making it very tough to get anything accomplished.  I am used to moving a mile a minute and she just says "slow down momma!"  We'll be meeting her soon enough. Just breathe.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Recipe: Best Ever Apple Pie

So yes.  I said it.  I made the best ever apple pie.  I have made a few recipes over the years, but this one will stick.  It is going in the cookbook.  Into the annals of history.  Ok.  You get the point.

There is a nifty little video on this link that will show you how to make the crust.  It is simple.  Seriously minutes simple.  

Makes dough for one single crust pie. The recipe is easily doubled for a two crust pie.  I use regular butter here instead of unsalted, so I don't need to add any salt.  If all you have is unsalted butter on hand, be sure to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1¾ cup flour  (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ sticks cold butter (12 tablespoons), cut into slices
  • ¼ cup ice water (approximately)
Place flour and sugar in a food processor.  Pulse.  Add about half of the butter. Pulse.  Add the rest of the butter. Pulse until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Through the feed tube, slowly add most of the ice water and pulse until the dough gathers up into a ball.  If it doesn't after a few seconds, add a few more drops of ice water until it does.  Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and place it on a sheet of floured plastic wrap and wrap it up. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Pie Recipe is here
Finished Product!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Halloween this year in Chicago was so rainy!  I hate it when it is crappy out, which is 90% of the time.  I honestly can't remember a nice day for Halloween here.

Mike and I handed out candy to the kids after the rain stopped, and just enjoyed each other's company at home.  Had to get ready for Sunday Funday.  Too bad the Bears screwed up the last quarter of the game. :(

I didn't make anything spectacular for Halloween.  Just pizza and made some cider to just stay warm when I kept opening the door.

Here are some pics!

My costume!  Baby Bartz is almost 30 weeks along!!

Bella wore this a few years ago.  Had to break it out again.  She was a great landshark greeting trick or treaters!
How was your Halloween?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash

So I of course found this on Facebook, as I see many recipes.  There or Pinterest.  The devils.

I wanted to make something more fall like, and something that was healthy.  Trust me, more fall recipes are to come.  Patience.

The recipe is here, and my photo of the final product is below.  I had so much of the stuffing I baked it in a casserole dish on the side of the acorn squash.  I loved this so much, that I am definitely making it for the in laws when I have them over next.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Falling for Chicago!

Well for one, I am just like 90% of the other girls in the world that just love fall.  I love the colors, and smell..everything.

Sights: Every City Park.  Omg.  I just drive down Devon Ave between Milwaukee and Caldwell and feel like I am in the country.  The Forest Preserve provides some amazing color!

Smells: Leaves burning.  Illegally, but burning.  Pumpkin everything, or just whatever I am making in my kitchen.  Usually involving apples.  Lots and Lots of apples.  I get more motivated to bake in the fall.  I bake 1 time a week, at least, and have DH bring in stuff to work.  We keep one of each for us.  The rest goes to the guys and gals!

Eats: Trying out new recipes/restaurants.  I have made stuffed acorn squash, chili, and about to make some great barley soup.  It is an excuse to cook more of the "comfort foods".  I try to slim em down with some skinny taste recipes.  I also grab 1 good coffee a week.  Just 1.  I can't afford that Starbucks PSL habit.  But I can have 1 carmel apple spice, PSL, or Toasted Graham Cracker latte. Yesss.
Some of the new restaurants are Smoque, Smak Tak, and XOCO.  BBQ, Polish, and of course, Rick Bayless' own restaurant.

Churros and Chocolate at XOCO

Things to do: Apple Picking!  We just did this, and I thought my husband was going to hate it.  He loved it.  Maybe because we went to a nearby brewery afterwards?  Eh, either way, it was fun!
Pumpkin patch/hayride (usually with apple picking)
College football!  We traveled to Champaign, IL to see my beloved ILLINI play!
Oktoberfests.  Many at local parishes.  St. Alphonsus throws a big festival.

What do you love about fall in your city?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baby Moon?

I have heard baby moons are all the rage, but I refuse to travel this far into my pregnancy.  My last trip I had a TON of braxton hicks contractions, and it freaked me out.  A lot.

The hubs is on vacay for a while, so we are taking care of baby business as well as just enjoying time together.

We tried out XOCO on Clark Street, which was awesome, but we had to wait 35 minutes for food.  Kind of a long time.  Love the churros.  OMG.  So good.

We went and bought nursery furniture for our girly, because I was freaked out at hearing that our friends had to wait weeks to get theirs.  Yikes.

We went apple picking, and tried out a brewery while we were out there.  So nice!

Picking some gala and suncrisp apples!
We went to my college's homecoming game and tailgated with classmates of mine.  Incredible to catch up with a great group of folks.  I went back in 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2010.  I love this tradition. Oh the 3 in 1.

Foam fingah and the baby belly

Love these gals!

Mike and I.  He loved Grange Grove!

We had brunch at the house for a few of my girl friends that haven't seen the remodel yet.  Yay!

So now onto more house prep and adventures.  Let's hope my body holds up for it all.  #swollenfeetsuck