This weekend we made the 3 hour trek to Iowa to see some of my family for Christmas.
We had sweet chili. And I don’t know why I’m making this a major thing, because it’s actually a very minor part of my weekend, but here we are.
I’m a chili feen. I could live off of it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday throughout the entire winter. But I am very particular about my chili. I like mine with a little spicy kick, but NOT too much!!! I cook with a small bit of onion, tomatoes, various spices, and some jalapeño pieces. My aunt makes hers with wayyy too much onion and something sweet so that it almost tasted like a BBQ sauce.
(If you cook spaghetti sauce with sugar in it, just know that I disagree with you.)
Now my aunt’s chili was DECENT — just not my style. I ate a couple bowls throughout the night, but I definitely wanted to whip some of my own chili up.
But I’m a picky eater and I also believe that fruit and desserts should very rarely be combined.
Apple pie? No. Do not bake fruits and most definitely don’t bake them into cakes or muffins!!
Who am I to say what’s right? I just like things the way I like them LOL
Tonight’s Reflection Quotes:
Hi, friends! Today’s prompt for my June Blogging Challenge is:
THREE WAYS TO WIN YOUR HEART
Oh boy. I am supposed to narrow down things that make me fall in love down to THREE?! I guess this is easier for me if I think about the things I love best about my current relationship. The things that Dylan possesses or does that makes my heart swoon. These are in no particular order.
I would have to say HUMOR is one way to capture my heart. There is just something about people that have a good sense of humor. I love someone that doesn’t take everything so seriously and can dish back sarcasm after I hand it out (I’m a very sarcastic person). Dylan is one of the funniest people I have ever met. He knows how to make certain facial expressions that turn an ordinary conversation into a joke. He always knows how to make me laugh.
This morning I wrote a blog about the five love languages. One of my top love languages was Acts of Service. This means that I feel the most loved when someone lends a helping hand to me. I think this is so accurate in describing me because a way to win my heart would be helping me clean the house. Haha!! I am such a clean freak and I hate when the house gets messy! However, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to keep the house as clean as I would like it to be. So I guess what I’m saying is…. If you want to win my heart, DO THE DISHES!!!
And lastly, another way to win my heart is….. FOOD! Feed me some dinner and I will be yours for life! Some of my favorites right now are the Hollywood Roll (sushi), nachos, grilled chicken on ANYTHING (wraps, pasta, sandwiches), wings, pizza… Now I’m hungry!
So there ya have it. The three ways to win my heart are being funny, helping me with chores, and feeding me!!
I am not writing this blog as a guru. Matter-of-fact, I’m about to become a mom for the first time myself. WHICH is why I thought it would be beneficial to look up some information about breastfeeding. I’m writing in hopes that while informing myself, I can also inform someone else.
During this pregnancy one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked is whether I’m going to breastfeed or not. To be honest, I am SICK AND TIRED of that question!
I haven’t decided if breastfeeding is what I want to do or not, but I want to be clear:
As long as your baby is being fed, WHO CARES?!
I’ve never understood why some feel the need to put down a woman because she decides against breastfeeding. Some women, like myself, just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I’ve struggled with this a lot because even people I’ve consulted with in the medical field had a way of talking about breastfeeding as if I didn’t do it, I’d be doing what wasn’t the best for my baby. But let’s be real… as long as your baby is being fed, it doesn’t reaaallllyy matter. Sure, breastfeeding has some really awesome benefits for your baby, but c’mon. A baby fed with formula is still a fed baby! And that’s all that matters.
I’m a pretty conservative and modest person when it comes to my body, so I just can’t see myself being comfortable with having someone try to teach me how to breastfeed or the idea that a child will be sucking on me. At this point, I think I’d like to try, but if it’s not for me, it’s not for me. There is always the option to pump breast milk for your baby, and evade the whole “sucking” experience. (Don’t get wrong, I totally support all breastfeeding mothers and respect the experience it brings to some mother-baby relationships, I just don’t know if it will be for me)
Here are some really great benefits from breastfeeding:
- Breast milk helps defend against infections, prevents allergies, and can help protect against some chronic conditions
- Germ-fighting antibodies pass from the mother’s milk into the baby to enhance their immune system
- Less ear infections and diarrhea
- Lower chance of meningitis, asthma, diabetes, and obesity
- Breast milk is more easily digested than formula
- Breast milk’s flavor changes depending on what the mother eats, so the baby will get to experience many different tastes
- It’s convenient!
- Breastfeeding burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, helping the mother return to her pre-pregnancy size
I want to open this blog up to some chatter from other moms out there! Did you breastfeed? What was your reasoning behind your decision? Any tips?
Okay. So I swore I would do this a long time ago, (considering that I took the trip back in March) but I got a little busy… What can I say?
Anywhooo, I needed a little getaway right around the time that Spring Break came around, (I got lucky, huh?) so I decided to take the Amtrak to Chicago for five days. If I were to drive to Chicago from where I live, it would have taken me five hours and a boatload of money for gas. It ended up the Amtrak was only a three and a half hour ride and it only cost me $22 a ticket. The train is also a cool way to see the country, so I highly recommend trying it sometime!
I left for the Windy City on a Monday. The great thing about my mini vacation to Chicago was that I had a friend up there that offered to let me stay on his pull-out couch. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay for a hotel every night!
By the time I got there, it was too late to do much, so my buddy picked me up and we had dinner at Bar Louie and visited a bar in Naperville before heading for bed.
Tuesday morning we got up and decided to hit the city! The first thing we did was take the Metra Train to Ogilvie Train Station, which is the train station that is literally right in the middle of downtown Chicago. From there we walked to Millennium Park and saw The Bean (just about anyone who visits the city makes sure to get a picture with The Bean!). Millennium Park is surrounded by skyscrapers and incredible buildings, so if you really want a cool “inside view” of the city, Millennium Park is a good place to go.
If you keep walking through the park, you’ll eventually make it to Maggie Daley Park Plaza. It’s really just a big park, dedicated to the first lady of the city Maggie Daley, who died of cancer in 2011. The city had plans to add on to it when they wanted to make a bid on hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Of course, that didn’t happen, but the park is still a pretty neat sight!
All of this isn’t located too far from Michigan Avenue, one of Chicago’s well-known streets for shopping. We were hungry, so we found a cool joint called Burger Bar. The pictures of our food don’t even do it justice, but just take a look and I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say it was the best burger I had ever had!! And the milkshake was probably the most beautiful shake I’d ever seen! I think Burger Bar has a few locations, but if you’re ever on Michigan Ave, I HIGHLY recommend Burger Bar!
This trip involved a lot of firsts for me! Not only was it the first time I ever rode on a train by myself, I also had the pleasure of trying my first Krispy Kreme doughnut. Oh man. I think it’s safe to say that I am glad I live in a small town so that I don’t have access to all of the amazingly delicious (and unhealthy!) food choices the city has.
While in the city, we also visited The Field Museum. I had been to Chicago before this trip with my sisters when I was in the fourth grade. On that trip, my family and I went to The Field Museum, but it’s always a lot more interesting and worthwhile when you experience it as an adult. I’m kind of a nerd, so I genuinely love museums, but I honestly think The Field Museum has a little bit of something for everybody. The architecture of the museum itself is just something to behold! It does cost admission to visit; however, they do offer discounts for seniors and military gets in free.
One of the coolest things to happen to me while I was in Chicago occurred when we went to visit Firehouse 51. Firehouse 51 is the firehouse they use to film the show Chicago Fire; however, it’s an ACTUAL firehouse. We parked along the road in front of the firehouse and were walking up to take pictures when a firefighter walked out and asked us if we wanted to take a look inside. I used to watch Chicago Fire religiously, so of course I probably squealed and said YES!!!
I probably just got really lucky that day when they offered to give us a tour, but if you have even heard of the show Chicago Fire, Firehouse 51 might be something to check out! It’s pretty cool to see a place where a hit TV show is filmed!
Another pretty cool thing I got to do was walk through Guaranteed Rate Field, which is the home of one of Chicago’s baseball teams, the White Sox. I got kinda lucky here as well because the friend I was staying with while in Chicago works security for the stadium. So I had the opportunity to walk down in the tunnel, on the field, and sit in the dugout. Anyway, they’ve put a lot of work into making the stadium look just absolutely beautiful. If you enjoy visiting all of America’s baseball stadiums, make sure you check this one out! I’m a Cardinals fan, but I wouldn’t be shy to say that this stadium is AMAZING! Five stars! Also, they added an area that looks over the city skyline, and it is a cool place to get a good view of the city from afar!
Needless to say, I think Chicago is a beautiful city!
Other note-worthy places to visit:
- Gyros Express, Villa Park: Literally the best gyro I’ve ever had, and probably my favorite meal of the entire trip.
- Portillos: Okay, so I feel like every Chicagoan is obsessed with Portillos, and even though hot dogs aren’t really my thing, they do have AMAZING Italian beef. Make sure you try a chocolate cake shake, too!
- United Center, Home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks
- Middleterranean Mediterranean Kitchen: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE GREEK FRIES with Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Mayo!!
- Brookfield Zoo: I looooove going to zoo. The Brookfield Zoo would be a good thing to do if you just wanted to get outside for a few hours. Also, military gets free admission, you just have to pay to park.
I wanted to make sure I personally thanked Nick Oplawski and his family for the hospitality and for showing me the great city of Chicago! I got to experience the city life like I never thought possible!