Gather Around the Fire Pit/Camp Fire/Bonfire

In the suburbs of Chicago, the words “bonfire,” “camp fire,” and “fire pit” are used interchangeably to describe a fire built in a back yard. If you are from an area where you allowed to burn leaves on your property, have used a tree trunk for a bonfire, or don’t have any neighbors, you may be scratching your head wondering how on Earth those words could mean the same thing.

fire pit, bonfire, camp fire, community

Continue reading “Gather Around the Fire Pit/Camp Fire/Bonfire”

Pumpkins, gourds and chevron…oh my!

I love Fall. It is the season that reminds me most that I am alive. This is odd, I realize, as it is a season of leaves dying and the earth preparing to go into hibernation. The crisp air encourages my lungs to breathe deep. Color explodes on the branches of trees and swirls around me as the wind blows and the leaves fall. My eyes drink in the beauty of creation and my senses are shocked with the contrast of Fall to the past months of Summer.

Fall Centerpiece

Owing to the fact that I love Fall outside, it is befitting that I would entertain that feeling within the walls of my home as well! My dining room table was my most recent project. A jute table runner with a chevron pattern graces the length of the table. Mini pumpkins (white) from a local farmers market, maple leaf candles bought on clearance years ago from Pier One, and dried hydrangea surrounded by artificial apples make up my centerpiece. I smile every time I see it! Can you picture drinking hot apple cider at a table like that?! Recently, I enjoyed “Fall Sangria” at that table, and was pleased with the entire experience! Continue reading “Pumpkins, gourds and chevron…oh my!”

Jeans, Boots and Plaid

These are a few of my favorite things…

Throughout the year, I have to fight the urge to wear fall outfits.  I like being seasonally appropriate in my attire, but I’m always drawn to my leather cowgirlish boots and brown articles of clothing. Eagerly, I anticipate a time when it is seasonally appropriate to bust out the leather boots, knit socks, jeans and, puffy vests and plaid shirts. Must be the Indiana girl in me. The crispness in the air, the burst of flaming leaves, the lure of apple orchards and pumpkin patches…sign me up for that!

Fall also has a way of transporting me through time to some of my favorite memories. Traditionally, I will reminisce about Ireland when the wind blows a certain way and sidewalks have crisp leaves on them. I lived in a 100yr+ YWCA for a semester that was a block from the Irish Sea. The coastal breeze and seasonal coolness “forced” me (I didn’t protest too much!) into wool sweaters and jeans and I spent many days curled up in the yard with my books and a quilt. I find myself yearning for those scenes to be replicated…so, I pack up a bag and head to my second favorite place…Geneva, IL.

Geneva is a little town, west of Chicago by about an hour, and along the Fox River. My desire to enjoy the weather, soak up the reminder that life is happening through the changes in the season, bring me to my favorite coffee shop for a dirty chai tea latte, and then down by the river. The fall foliage is beautiful and the feeling of being wrapped up in a comfy sweater while enjoying it, well…that’s definitely one of my favorite things.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit in the fall? Fill us in so we can add to our lists of places to go and things to do!


Fall Favorite – Plaid

DIY Bird Feeder: So easy, a Toddler can do it!

It’s that time of year again; time to break out the pumpkin spices and pie pans and decorate your porch with pumpkins. I love fall. I really do. If it was up to me, I would have only fall and summer as seasons. Along with fall, comes many fun crafts that you can do with your kids. My daughter is a couple of months away from turning 2 so I have to get creative when I think about what her skill level is right now. Today, we made some fun little bird feeders!

These are very simple to make and seriously only took us about 10 minutes (TOPS!) to complete. You will need:

  • bird seed (I chose the “wild bird food” since it would be outside and the off brand only cost $5 for a huge bag)
  • peanut butter
  • pine cones
  • yarn or twine

First thing you want to do is cut a length or your yarn or twine and attach it to the pine cone. I intertwined it and tied a knot using the middle of my twine and left the two ends open for when we hang it in a tree. Then spread peanut butter onto the pine cone.

pbpineconeAfter we were done and my daughter had difficulty spreading the peanut butter, my mother-in-law had a great idea: warm up the peanut butter and then have your child dip the cone into it! Or roll it in a pan! Genius! So that’s definitely on my “next time” list for this craft.


Your next step is to cover the pine cone in bird seed. We started with my daughter holding the string and dipping it into the bowl, but she had more fun using the spoon. Whichever method you use, you want bird seed in all the nooks and crannies. And there you have it! Super easy, inexpensive, and fun, bird feeders! And they are so simple, even a toddler can do it! What is you/your child’s favorite fall craft? Tomorrow we are off to the apple orchard to pick some apples! Another amazing thing to do in the fall! Thanks for reading 🙂


Fall Changes

I love fall! The cool crisp weather. The wonderful leaves. FOOTBALL SEASON! The fact that I can again wear my boots. The changing of seasons. Apple picking. Pumpkin carving. Biting into a crisp fresh apple. Bonfires. I love it all 🙂

It was exactly a year ago today that I packed up a U-haul with my parents and a couple of friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan and made the 3 hour trek to my new home, Chicago.  It is hard to believe that it has been a year and yet so much has happened since then.  As I sat in my apartment today, a completely different one than the one I moved into a year ago, with windows open and the fall air flowing in it made me contemplative.

It is amazing how the decisions we make impact our life. Because of so many decisions I made before moving to Chicago, now in Chicago I have an incredible group of friends from almost every place I’ve lived before this.  I also have an incredible job where I can pursue not just one of my degrees, but all 3 of my degrees.  Each one of those degrees challenged me to look at health in a whole different way.  Together, I have a unique perspective on the medical world and for that I am so incredibly thankful.

There is no great nutrition or fitness or nursing advice in this blog post.  It is more of a encouragement for the steps each of you are taking in your life. Fall is a time where a lot happens and schedules are super busy. We all seem to be running all different directions and trying to keep up with life. Fall is a wonderful incredible season where memories are made, changes happen and not just the changes in the leaves, and we are challenged to live healthy lives in the busyness. But you have some incredible opportunities where you can choose to live healthy. My challenge to you this fall season is this.

Take time to look at the changing of the colors of the leaves and embrace the changes happening in your life. Hang onto the moments that will soon be memories…  apple picking, pumpkin carving, dressing up, football games, grilling out, the bonfires, raking of leaves. Take time to acknowledge the changes that are occurring in your life and don’t be afraid to take that leap if you feel like it is the right decision. Embrace the weather changes. And this fall season, love yourself exactly where you are at and exactly who you are this moment. One thing I learn from my cancer patients it is to live every moment and savor each memory.

Happy Fall!

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