Tag Archives: Century Mall

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; A Day in Chicago!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more time with my favorite gal! One of the best things about high school is meeting new people and developing lifelong friendships. While Amanda’s met a gaggle of darling girls at St. Feels Right for Her, she is particularly close to two girls that are twin sisters (who hasn’t dreamt about how fun it would be to be a twin?). These three are practically inseparable. When the girls hatched a plan to have a mother/daughter day in the city, their mom and I jumped at the chance!

I am a hunter, gatherer and self-confessed hoarder. Shopping has always been my obsession! When I was a teenager about town, I was always headed to Marshall Field’s on State Street, the Century Mall and Water Tower Place. Amanda and her pals are far more curious, noble and serious.

All bundled up, we jumped on the Metra, destination; Ogilvie Transportation Center. While I love the quaint charm of living in the suburbs (we live in a bubble, within a bubble and it is awesome), I’m addicted to Chicago’s energy. It’s always buzzing! No sooner were we off the train then flying down to the concourse to buy our daily bus passes at the CVS/Pharmacy. Such a deal!

On State Street we hopped on the 146 which took us directly to the Museum Campus. The girls had a hankering to see the fish at the Shedd Aquarium.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish (Dr. Suess rocks!); we got up close and personal with beautiful (and not so beautiful) fish species from oceans, local waters, islands, lakes and rivers. My favorites were the seahorses. We decided, however, that our visit wouldn’t be complete without the 4-D experience and taking in a show at the Amphitheater.

For the 4-D experience, we joined every toddler in the Chicago-land area for a viewing of Happy Feet. While we thoroughly enjoyed the sensory experiences; water mists, wind, air blasts, snow, bubbles, steam, leg ticklers, seat vibration and enhanced lighting, many of our little friends were terrified to tears. On the other hand, everyone enjoyed the soaring dolphins, dancing belugas and the adorable sea lion at the Aquatic Show.

With all of this learning, we sure worked up an appetite. Amanda couldn’t wait to introduce her friends to our favorite place for lunch; Food Life at Water Tower. Back on the bus, we were there in no time. Public transportation is a beautiful thing.

My Amanda is frequently not her mother’s daughter. Rather than wander around the mall, these girls only had eyes for the Skydeck at the Sear Tower (okay….Willis Tower. Old habits die hard). They were dying to step out onto….The Ledge!

With absolutely no one in line, our visit was meant to be. We took the elevator up 1,353 feet (and the Merry Go Round gives me the willies). The closer we got to the window, the more I felt faint. When we made it to The Ledge (a glass box that extends 4.3 feet from the actual ground of the Skydeck), I had heart palpitations. Above, below and from side to side you are surrounded by glass. My advice; don’t look down.

After much giggling and nudging, all three girls made their way out onto the ledge. They pressed their faces up against the glass, lounged on the glass bottom floor and jumped up and down (tempting fate). While they loved it, I had never been so happy to step foot back onto Jackson Blvd in my life!

Friends, fish, food and fear; I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in Chicago!

More palling around, more time with Amanda, more days in the city, more memory making…….

To schedule an Interior Design appointment or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Book Club and Breakfast!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more book club breakfast’s! When I was a kid I thought reading books for pleasure was absolute torture. Pleasure time was for things like hanging around with your friends, shopping at the Century Mall, bike riding and roller skating (with 4 big wheels and a fat stopper on the toe, none of that dangerous in-line nonsense). Eventually, by the time I went to college, I actually did evolve into a thinking person that loves to read.

There is, in fact, no reason to ever stop learning and reading. Beyond book clubs, there are a lot of online classes for every interest. If you have a chance, check out;


While reading is fun-damental, it’s even more fun when you belong to a book club comprised of women you absolutely adore. I’m forever exposed to new authors that I might not have picked up on otherwise (like Stieg Larsson’s series about Lisabeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Totally cannot wait for that movie to make its way to the Cineplex).

This month it was my turn to select a book and host our meeting. As much as we love to get together for cocktails and appetizers, when you have a family, evenings can be complicated during the school year. I chose for us to read Shanghai Girls by Lisa See with a discussion over a light breakfast in my home. My menu included;

Yogurt Parfaits

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

Pumpkin Bread


Yogurt Parfaits;

As a gal with a penchant for chocolate, I’m a pretty tough customer when it comes to granola. So many taste like cardboard and saw dust. However, I recently discovered a particularly delicious and flavorful Maple Pecan by Nature’s Hand Granola. Yum!

The parfaits are easy;

Variety of chopped fruit (such as peaches, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi)

Vanilla flavored yogurt


In pretty, clear dessert cups (mine are so cute covered in hobnail trim) or footed glassware, layer;

Fruit, yogurt, then granola

Repeat layers and finish with gorgeous fruit on top

I chose to display mine in a two-tiered galvanized tray

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

Yields 16 huge muffins bursting with blueberries


3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp salt

4 tsp baking powder

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup mil

2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed


Crumble topping;

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

½ cup butter, cubed

3 tsp ground cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Line muffin tins with liners


In a large bowl, combine;




Baking powder

In a small bowl, mix together;




Pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring well

Fold in the blueberries

Fill each muffin liner to the top


In a medium size bowl, mix together;




Cut in cubed butter (I literally use two knives, one in each hand, and cut until a nice powdery texture forms)


Top muffins with crumble

Cook for 20 minutes, or so, until cooked through

Pumpkin Bread;



My buffet included a heaping bowl of autumnal M n M’s and Cheezit’s (because they are orange) for nibbling. By and large I am opposed to paper products, which is why I collect dishes. I have a collection of large green leaf shaped plates. They are an absolute staple and go with everything all year long.


I also set up a beverage station with coffee, sugar, cream and pretty cups and saucers.

For those that prefer something cold, I filled a brass urn with ice, water and soda next to stemmed glassware and a pitcher of orange juice.

With a light breakfast, we had a lively discussion. Nibbles and knowledge; everything a book club should be!

More homemade treats, more hanging with your girlfriends, more learning something new……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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It Must Be St. Nick!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more St. Nick! Christmas is such a magical time of year, full of faith and folklore. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of decorating Christmas cookies and checking off my list of Christmas shopping. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I am a lifer…..shopper that is. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was the babysitter extraordinaire, earning lots of cash. Beaming with pride, I would take my Le Sport Sac purse, stuffed with five’s, ten’s and the occasional twenty, to do a little Christmas shopping for my family. By plane, train, or automobile (actually, via the bus or the El) I would hit my favorite haunts; Water Tower, the Century Mall or Six Corners (Irving-Milwaukee-Cicero), with my little brother, Ray, in tow.

Growing up, of course, we always anxiously awaited the arrival of Christmas. Over and over, we poured through the Sears Wish Book. It was like the Christmas gift list bible. Pages dog ear-ed, coveted toys, clothes and accessories (okay, my brother really only wanted the toys) circled and starred with exclamation points. Christmas morning was always so exciting! We would take turns opening our presents, saving the best for last; our Christmas stockings!

When Nick was a Kindergartener at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations, we learned of a tradition that was new to us; celebrating the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, December 6th. What’s not to like? The evening of December 5th, rather than neatly putting away their shoes like they normally do (not Ho, Ho, Ho, but Ha, Ha, Ha), the children leave out their shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with treats and trinkets. As a devoted special maker and shopper, this was a celebration that I could totally get behind!

At our house, St. Nicholas stuffs Nick’s and Amanda’s shoes with little treasures. First thing in the morning, they would race down the stairs, delighted by the magic and wonder of it all. There would be chocolate, gold foil coins, Christmas ornaments, wind up toys, Christmas movies, stuffed animals, action figures and the like. As they’ve gotten older, St. Nick brings CD’s, DVD’s, I-Tunes gift cards, Amanda gets girly accessories like headbands and earrings, and of course chocolates.


St. Nick comes for a visit.....

Last night, after we took Wrigley for a hot lap around the neighborhood and as we were heading up to bed, I wondered if we should call the kids back down to leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas? Chuck said, “Give me a break. Nick is 18. I think St. Nick can just leave their presents on the Kitchen counter.” He had barely uttered the words “Kitchen counter” when the kids came flying down the stairs, Amanda leading the charge. She exclaiming, “We almost forgot to leave out our shoes for St. Nick!” Apparently you’re never too old or too cool to be a kid at heart!  

More excitement, more treasures, more traditions, more magic of the season…….

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Duct Tape, MacGyver and a Visit From OSHA….

By no means is my Amanda a high maintenance kind of a gal (sooooo unlike her mother!). I mean, really, what kind of self respecting teenager routinely turns down offers to stop in and check out the newest and greatest merchandise from American Eagle? When I was a teenager, I would have walked on hot coals and shards of glass to get to Chicago’s famed Century Mall (I would take the 22 Clark Street bus and spend all of my babysitting money). However, there is one thing that Amanda loves more of and that’s …….DUCT TAPE!

Amanda has quite an impressive Duct Tape collection.

At her friend Rosebud’s birthday party, they decorated shirts.

In honor of our mother/daughter outing to a Taylor Swift concert, Amanda made a picture frame.

She makes all sorts of accessories, such as; headbands, belts, cell phone cases and the trendy and popular wristlet.

Amanda makes birthday cards and stationary. To best differentiate her notebooks for school, Amanda decorates them with unique and customized Duct Tape designs and color schemes.

This weekend, Chuck was busy mowing the lawn, edging the grass and trimming the bushes. He decided that one of our trees needed a little trim off the top….right now! While he might not be a professional landscaper, Chuck can handle any job, anywhere, anytime because he is kind of like MacGyver. My job was to hold the ladder and find him some….DUCT TAPE. Well, that was easy. I called to Amanda and she came racing down the stairs with a beautiful, teal roll, of Duct Tape.

MacGyver, I mean Chuck, grabbed the electric hedge clippers and attached the clippers to a light bulb changing extender pole. He secured his invention by wrapping the ends together with Duct Tape, and turning the clippers to the “on” position (clearly, safety standards have been considered. Ha, Ha, Ha. Perhaps this sort of maverick behavior is the source of how Chuck wound up severing his thumb from his body….and fortunately having a successful replant!).

We’re just lucky to not have been paid a visit by OSHA….


Well, necessity is the mother of invention; more needs lead to more solutions. I suppose we are a More is More kind of family…..

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