Friday, June 26, 2009

Just act like a local...

We rode the train ALL OVER Chicago. That's what the locals do and it really is the best way to get around the city. J and I felt pretty confident in our subway navigation abilities after going to D.C. last year and now I think Mom and Dad are pretty much train experts too. However, I didn't really notice any locals taking pictures of each other riding the train, but that didn't stop Mom!!

or of the train coming into the station...
or trying to toss each other onto the tracks (notice how concerned Dad is in this pic)...

or posing for a pic waiting for a train outside....

or posing for a pic waiting for a train underground. As you can see, if Mom has a camera with her pictures will be taken, even if it's underground at a somewhat neglected subway stop!

If I had a million dollars.....

On our trip to Chicago we went by the Federal Reserve. You had to be screened just like you were at the airport before you could go in and look around. There were several good photo ops and it was pretty interesting to see all of the different money exhibits. They showed you how money is destroyed once it's deemed too old or too damaged for circulation, how bills have changed over the years, you got a chance to try and test your counterfeit bill knowledge, and that's just the stuff I can currently remember. It's was also free!

Here is J with $1 million worth of $1 bills.
Here I am with $1 million worth of $20 bills.

Here we are together with $1 million worth of $100 bills. (I'm working on my Deal or No Deal pose.)
Now to the important part. Please feel free to leave a comment about who makes the best $100 bill. Dad, Jay, Me, and Mom all took a turn. I think my vote has to go to Mom, but don't let me sway you!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Carter's Birthday

Today is Carter's second birthday. He had a little party last night with balloons, and cake and presents! Happy Birthday little guy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!

Happy 35th Anniversary to Peanut and Delilah!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chicago Food Tour

Stephanie and Jay waiting for our Walking/Tasting Tour

Since everyone else that accompanied us is on another adventure in San Francisco, Peanut and I will try to remember enough about our food tasting in Chicago to give you a tour! Our first stop was Ashkenaz Deli. A Jewish deli where we made ourselves a pastrami sandwich with Russian dressing. It was quite tasty.

Our second stop was Tea Gschwendner. They had a glass of tea waiting for us. We learned about different types of teas and how to prepare it properly, but I did not make any pictures there. Maybe it was because Peanut nor I have ever met a tea we could like. They smelled good, but tea tastes bitter to me no matter what you do with it!
On the way to our third tasting we stopped to look at the original playboy mansion. Before it moved to the west coast, Hugh and all the bunnies lived in Chicago. The bunnies had to pay 50 dollars a month for rent!

The original Playboy mansion
The Spice House was our next stop. On the way there we walked through the neighborhoods were Carl Sandburg and e e cummings lived. At the Spice house we were allowed to open and taste any of the spices. You pour a little out in your hand, taste it and brush the rest off your hands into the floor. We met Tom, the owner of the Spice House. He is sometimes on the Food Network, but I never watch that channel! On the patio in the back of the Spice House he gave us a history lesson about spices. He used a cinnamon stick for a pointer. We learned that pepper kept in its original form will last a long time, as a matter of fact Tom said you can leave it to your grandkids and it will be okay. I actually have a can of black pepper I bought in 1974, because it is ground it is not an heirloom!

Tom the Spice Guy and his cinnamon stick pointer

Stephanie and Jay soaking up the spice lesson

Our next stop was Old Town Oil, a specialty store with olive oils and vinegars. We expected to be tasting these with bread, but we were given small cups and shown how to just taste it and how to mix it together. My favorite was a strawberry vinegar and Peanut agreed. He also liked the peach and lemon and saw possibilities of using these vinegars in his grilling sauce. We thought this would be our least favorite stop, but it was one of the best.
Old Town Oil, the vinegars and oils were kept in these kegs some of the vinegars had been aged for 28 years. Vinegar gets better with age!

Next, was The Fudge Pot where we were allowed to go into the kitchen and Paul, the owner, showed us how to mold chocolate. We were allowed to eat all the chocolate toffee bars we could hold!

Very yummy chocolate
Paul, the chocolate guy, he was very pleasant despite the frown in this picture. He told us not to get our chocolate too hot when we were melting it!

Catering and Chocolate a gourmet food store was next. This store specializes in catering so what they have to sell on any day depends on what they were making for their catering job. You can also make special orders. We had hummus and cheese on this stop.
If you look closely you can see all four of us in this picture!

Hummus and gouda cheese

On our way to the last stop we walked in a residential area called eclectic row, where one street had all types of architecture side by side. There was a Victorian, next to a modern and a recessed house which sat back from the street with a recessed doorway. Our guide Jessie told us that all Chicago residents aspire to have a roof top garden like some of the houses on this street. The people who live in townhouses here, had the garage on the bottom and the second stories were the living spaces.

Jessie, our guide, who talked with her hands!

Our last stop was Bacino's Pizza. Here we had a slice of spinach cheese pizza. The sauce was on the top. It was very delicious.

Spinach/Cheese Pizza--a healthy slice of pizza
Stephanie enjoying her pizza

Hope you enjoyed our summary, the tour actually took about 3 hours and we learned all sorts of interesting stuff about Chicago. More Chicago places later!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wish you were here!

We're having fun in San Fran! Here's a couple of pics from Fisherman's Wharf. You can see Alcatraz in the background of the pic with Jay and I. We went there last night.

More pics to come, but now we're off to the A's game!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We're Back!

The fearless four have returned from the Windy City, but we had to get up this morning at 4:00 A.M. and catch the train to the airport because we had a 6:30 A.M. flight. We have sore feet because we walked 900 miles in the last few days and groggy brains because getting up that early makes a body tired, so we will publish some pictures in the next few days to show you our adventures! In the meantime enjoy this spectacular view from the Sears Tower. (99 stories above Chicago)

Wedding Anniversaries

Happy Anniversary to Wayne and Aimee and Joey and Tracie! Both couples celebrate today, June 3rd.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hello from Chicago

Me, J, Mom, and Dad have been in Chicago since Sunday morning. We'll be back home tomorrow so look for lots of posts about baseball, museums, pirates, dinosaurs, food, parks, trains, and lots of other fun stuff!