The Boots Are Made….

Since I’ve pestered y’all with enough “I’m getting new boots!” and “Do you have any boots recommendations?” and “I’m going to also get new snow boots!” I thought I’d fill you in on the progress. No affiliate links, it all goes back to Zappos.

First, these bad boys are currently “out for delivery”. Bless Zappos and their speedy service.



They are by Reiker a European company. I like the shape/color and that the sole isn’t particularly high/tall but looks like it has nice traction to keep me upright on slippery sidewalks. I plan on treating the leather,  so if anyone has a leather waterproofing product they love, let me know. If not….Target it is.

In the near future I plan on ordering these bad boys by Sorel. I really thought I was going to go for L.L. Bean duck boots, but these just kept getting rave reviews everywhere I turned from both the internet and a surprising amount of real life friends. I had no idea they were *the* winter boot for city snow commuting, sledding, dog walking, playground playing and more…but not one person hasn’t liked them. These are the “Joan of Arctic” and while they have a slightly cuter Tofino Cate style (better color combos) they don’t have as strong a warmth rating. Joan of Arctic it is. Oh, and I’ve heard that they sell out by mid to late October so I’ll be ordering them soon.

JofArcticLast weekend I realized that Gracie’s only closed toed shoes that fit are a pair of Toms and a pair of Sperry boat shoes, and neither have a lot of life left in them thanks to her quickly growing foot. So when I ordered my boots I tossed these in, sizing down per the review’s recommendations:

GBootsI’m hoping they are a good shoe for everyday wear and they are roomy enough to add a pair of socks. Fingers crossed!

Speaking of winter wear for Gracie I’ve done a lot of back and forth on what to buy her. Last year she wasn’t really walking in the winter and she was still in her infant bucket seat, so we got by with a fleece jacket, hats and mittens and blankets in her car seat when we were outside. This year I have a warmer fleece jacket (with a hood) since I feel strongly about the safety recommendation that kids not wear thick coats in cars. I might put a blanket in the backseats of our cars if I think Gracie would benefit from one on the drive to and from daycare. I also have a set of Helly Hanson snow bibs and jacket, unlined and made to be worn over warm clothing. I have hats, I need to order mittens on a string and I’m debating snow boots. She still rides in her stroller a good bit, but perhaps they would be useful? Currently unsure.



Moms, Pops, and Tots

Last night we had our first ever Moms, Pops, and Tots gymnastics class. It is a class put on by the Chicago Park District so for a very, very, very low price we have a Wednesday night activity between now and December. I thought this would be a good way for Gracie to get to stretch her legs, particularly as the cooler weather settles in. I was right: leg stretching abounds. However, as I noted on social media last night: toddler gymnastics is akin to teaching rabid cats to swim. In sycnhronized fashion. At least one toddler is running away from the class at all time (and at least 90 percent of the time, it is my toddler) because a huge expansive gym is sort of mind blowing.

The class started off on the wrong foot. I pulled into the field house parking lot only to discover you don’t have to pay for parking until 6 pm….but class starts at 5:45, ends at 6:15 and no, you can’t buy your paid parking slip early. Poor planning park district! (In my view…don’t schedule parent involved classes that start before and run over the 6:00 hour, or give all the people in that class a parking plackard so they don’t get ticketed). Sigh. But after figuring that out (apparently all the parents just slip out a side door to buy 15 minutes of parking….) we settled in for some stretches. Gracie was not impressed with stretching, it was boring and the teacher told them to reach up high “like they were picking apples” so she thought it was snack time. Sorry to disappoint my little bebe, back to the calisthenics! No apples for you.

After stretching the kids went around to different stations to work on different skills. Given their age the skills involve bear crawling, crab walkings, log rolling and frog hopping. Do you know what this means in parent involved classes? I was busy bear crawling, crab walking, log rolling and frog hopping. Gracie humored me and played along (not the crab walk she stared at me like I was crazy) and was quite adorable at the log roll. Particularly because her log roll looked a lot like bacon frying ala Dazed and Confused, but adorable nonetheless. The second half of class was dedicated to teaching the young ‘uns how to do a somersault.

Haaaaa. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

It was cute and Gracie had a blast but to recap: two kids refused to try, one was clearly terrified but going along with it, Gracie was gung ho but only wanted to bend at the knees not her waist, and a few kids nailed it pretty good.

Also, Gracie learned her voice echoes in a gymnasium and wanted to really spend some time testing that scientific theory out. Does it echo here? HERE? WHAT ABOUT OVER HERE?

Anyway, the class was just what I expected in terms of an opportunity to get the wiggles out but 1000% more exhausting than anticipated. Until next week!




Daisy Q & A: Jewelry Cleaning

So one of you kind readers asked the following question: I think you got a jewelry cleaner one year for Christmas? Ever since I got engaged I’ve been thinking I should really look into one. I’d love more information about yours, and maybe some general info about how often, how, and which jewelry you clean.

Short answer: I did get a jewelry cleaner and I like it very much! Highly recommend!

Longer answer: I have an older version of this bad boy (Affiliate link, please purchase a jewelry cleaner however you like, just being trans-pa-rent) and I’ve been very pleased with it. I use it to clean my wedding/engagement ring, earrings, my watch (band) and glasses. If you are not a big jewelry wearer, please consider one of these for cleaning eye glasses and sunglasses.

I clean things whenever I notice they are dirty (more often in the winter when I’m contanstly applying hand cream that inevitably smudges or gunks up my jewelry/watch/eyeglass lenses) and I do it by filling the reservoir halfway to two thirds up with warm water and a squirt or two of Windex. I’ve had a few jewelers recommend glass cleaner (and it gets pretty diluted in there) and I’m cleaning glasses, white gold and stainless steel items – check with your jeweler about other metals. You can also use a splash of liquid jewelry cleaner or just warm water.

I set the timer and typically toss a few things in at once as long as they are not touching. It comes with a little stand for my watch, so my watch band can sit in the water while the face remains propped up and out of the water. Once the machine is done, I remove the items with tweezers and set the items on a clean, dry, washcloth where I polish them up and let them dry. Voila! Or…waalah. However you prefer. (Sarcasm font) When I clean my glasses I typically clean them with an eyeglass cloth before and wipe them with a lint-free cloth after, for maximum cleanliness.

What I wouldn’t clean in there? Pearls, opals or other soft stones. I’d be hesitant with costume jewelry if I didn’t know what kind of metal it was made out of.  I’d be careful and check for loose settings, screws on your glasses, etc. It is an “ultrasonic” cleaner so it cleans by shaking, so obviously you don’t want to knock anything loose! Also, these types of cleaners are not great with/not made for silver tarnish, so if you are dealing with silver tarnish, I recommend a tub of Twinkle & some elbow grease.

Fake Fall

This past weekend we ventured into Fake Fall, i.e. where the temps are decidedly below average and you have to wear sweaters and eat comfort food. This week the temps should pop back up closer to 70, which sounds much more appropriate this time of year. Despite the chill in the air we managed to do a lot, while realizing that Gracie needs some help in her fall/winter wardrobe department. Notably she only has a few pairs of pants and a few long sleeved shirts. Jackets? I have jackets covered.


Saturday morning Gracie slept in and as soon as she woke up we hit up the Lincoln Park Farm Zoo for their member’s only morning. They had a lot of activities set up and Gracie got to feed a cow, pet a goat, paint with vegetables and flowers (veggies cut in half, dipped in paint and used to “stamp”) and visit the garden to take a look at pumpkins and peppers. She had a great time, although she wasn’t interested in the rules of the goat pen so we hustled in and out of there pretty quickly. She spent a long time painting and then playing in a corn bin before we left and wandered over to the nearby farmer’s market. It was a weird morning for the market, the weather had you looking for squash and pumpkins and root veggies while the offerings included lots of berries and stone fruit. We snagged what we could from each season- the last of the summer corn, some apple cider doughnuts, bell peppers and onions, blackberries and plums. The rest of the day we spent at home, watching football, playing, reading stories and generally enjoying the day. This is a photo that captures Gracie that night: too small slippers, jammies, reading a book in her patio chair on the fireplace hearth…..

Sept 2


Sunday morning I got up and out the door (after family pancakes) and went to spinning with my ClassPass. I was glad that I had a small portion of breakfast since the class was intense and then I made it home so we could take a quick trip the playground before B could head out for (arguably, frostbite) sailing practice while Gracie and I had a girls day. her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, I swear she adds a new word every day. Lately she has added tissue, sock, slipper, and horsey. Together we made red beans and rice (she tasted the ham and stirred some empty bowls), we watched football, we read stories. Or, rather, Gracie demanded I come sit next to her on her blanket and read stories. This is her “Why are you taking a picture, just sit down and read Mama!” face:



Although it was another dismal football weekend (seriously, the vast majority of cheered-for teams lost terribly on Saturday and Sunday) we had a family meal of red beans and rice (Gracie ate none of it despite loving all components…..) before calling it a weekend. All in all, not too shabby.




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