worth it

This weekend was just absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect. On Sunday we decided to go apple picking. Based on what some people in the neighborhood had recommended, we decided to try Homestead Orchard (11802 Charles Rd., Woodstock, IL 60098  815-338-7443) in Woodstock, Illinois. It was a nice little place, not at all commercial. The apples were fairly picked over (next year we probably need to go earlier), but we managed to fill two peck bags full. Max definitely LOVES his apples. I’ve already made one batch of applesauce out of the new apples (I keep a bunch of this on hand since he loves it). I just need to buy one of those crank apple peelers or else my thumb is going to fall off.

Mmmm, apples!

Mmmm, apples!

Beautiful day for apple picking

Beautiful day for apple picking

Max in an apple tree

Max in an apple tree

We also stopped off in downtown Woodstock to check it out. It’s a cute place with a nice little historic square and park. We found my book (!) at a nice little bookshop called Read Between the Lynes (129 Van Buren St. Woodstock, IL 815-206-5967). They had a nice selection of books and a great dog. I signed my book while I was there (they had just one copy, but she said it had been selling, so that’s awesome!). Under the “it’s a small world” category, she’s a friend of Jackie, who lives here in Prairie Crossing and had owned Under the Sycamore Tree, that lovely bookshop that closed. 😦

We also stopped and had lunch at La Petite Creperie (115 N. Johnson Street Woodstock, IL 60098 815.337.0765), which was also great. We had some of their Sunday Brunch dishes (yummy french toast for me and steak and egg benedict for Tony…and a mushed up banana for Max). They have lots of event dinners with great themes, so we’ll definitely have to go back. Tony’s thinking maybe for his birthday. Too bad it isn’t a little closer! But it’s a nice drive.

La Petite Creperie

La Petite Creperie


821 E. Center Street, Grayslake, IL 60030, 847.223.2500

We tried Divino last night for dinner, as we’d been hearing some buzz about it (and we needed to make a diaper run). It’s located in the strip mall next to Piggly Wiggly, but don’t hold that against it. 😉

We’ll have to try the pizza sometime, as we’ve heard it is really good. What we did try was a calzone (me) and a rigatoni pasta dish (Tony) and some gelato (again, pretty much me, but Tony did have a taste…and hey, I only got the piccolo size.). The gelato was great and perfectly authentic (ahhh, I miss Italy!). I had the zuppa inglese. I’ll actually have to try and make a concentrated effort to not go too often for the gelato.

The dinners were good, though nothing stunning (they didn’t knock our socks off, but they were good). The calzone, however, was huge and stuffed full of stuffings. As we’ve heard the pizza is the thing, we’ll definitely try them again.

Oh, and the people were friendly. That’s always a bonus.

Since the weather has turned nice (it might get up to 80 today! Ack!), Max and I have been taking some walks to the shops at Station Square here in Prairie Crossing. Some new shops have opened up and there have been some changes in some of the old ones, so here’s a quick overview of what’s old & new…

Under the Sycamore Tree, the cool bookshop, is still going strong and is as awesome as ever. I’ll hopefully be doing a book signing with them once my book is out. They do also carry a small selection of books for adults…Max and I recently bought Daddy a copy of In Defense of Food, which he really likes.

Little Skye has re-focused a bit and is now caring more maternity / nursing mom stuff, including some really nice nursing tops; I’ve gotten two…I especially like the “boob wear” (I swear, that’s what it is really called). As always, they’ve got really cool stuff for babies and kids. Once Max gets a bit older, we’ll have to check out their alternative diaper stuff (cloth, the G diapers, etc.)

The Prairie Croissant Cafe has made some changes for the better and just one for the worse. They’ve added new menu items (though, man, they only do the crepes on weekends…I’m bummed…I was so going to get one today), some little artsy stuff for sale, organic creamery products (good yogurt), re-organized so that the kid stuff is one one side, and seem much better organized (like getting the food and drinks out faster). All that’s great. And I’ve lately seen at least one person working on a laptop whenever I’m there, as it has also quieted down a bit (or I’m going at non-mom-group times). The only bad change is that they’ve cut their hours quite a bit and I’ve gone by a bunch of times and they’ve been closed. Hopefully that was just a winter issue and now that Spring has sprung they’ll expand their hours again.

The Affinity Boutique is also just as cool as ever. Every time I go in I want to get a ton of stuff. I need to be somewhat cautious with clothes still though…I’ve lost the baby-weight (so I can’t blame Max anymore), but I’ve still got some pounds to go before I’m happy (like that post-cruise weight). So anything I get now needs to work later when I (hopefully) lose more weight. I did find a really cool dress today that I’ll have to give Tony a hint about for Mother’s Day…

Ten Thousand Villages is also the same, with a nice selection of crafts from all over the world and friendly staff. They are always getting new things in.

Prairie Arts & Fibers (960 Harris RoadGrayslake, IL 60030, 847-543-5255 ) is brand new and owned by Linda Keating, who lives in the neighborhood. I could easily get into lots of trouble at this shop, since she carries bunches of great yarn, as well as the work of local artists (the photos from the storm chaser lady are really cool) and even some really nice handmade furniture. I’m also going to be making some soap for her to carry. Oh, and they do open knitting sessions and knitting classes too.

Prairie Sunshine Yoga Studio (960 Harris Rd. Grayslake, IL, (847) 223-0601) is also new. I haven’t actually been in there yet, though I hope to make use of their services soon (they just added a masseuse and are having a May special on massages). They also have Mommy & Baby classes that I’d like to try, though I might need to wait until Max is just a wee bit older.

That’s about it, though the annual Earthwild Gardens plant sale will be this coming weekend. They don’t have a permanent store, just a tent that they set up for special events. Nice plants and nice people.

I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized that we’ve got pretty much exactly two weeks to go (or less). Ack! Somehow, it seemed like March 10th was farther away than that when I was talking to the nurse on the phone and scheduling the inducing. And, of course, he may decide to appear sooner than that. There’s no telling. We’re kind of hoping he does, since the whole inducing thing can have complications.

And by all indications, he’s ready to come out. I think he was trying to kick his way out through my belly button last night. Ouch! He’s a strong little bugger and I bet he’s going to be just as stubborn as his dad. All the stuff you read says babies start to run out of room about now and settle down and don’t move as much. Not this peanut. He makes himself known. Repeatedly. No rest for the wicked or the weary.

We’ve got the bag all ready and packed (officially) as of today. I needed to get a nursing bra, so Tony (poor fellow) took me to Betty Schwartz’s Intimate Boutique in Buffalo Grove today. I’d wanted to try it out because they were supposed to carry Bravado nursing bras (though, curiously enough, they didn’t). I gather it has been around for awhile, since they had an old black and white photo with a storefront that said “Betty Schwartz’s Corset Shop” on it. It worked out okay. This friendly older lady helped me out and I got a pretty comfy nursing bra. Crazy things, I tell you.

We also stopped for lunch at the Buffalo Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor (1180 West Lake Cook Rd. Buffalo Grove IL, (847) 808-1120). We definitely have to try it again when I can eat sweets. They had the best looking sundaes I’ve seen in ages. Huge. Towering. Yummy.


This gestational diabetes thing is getting old.

Anyway, the rest of their food was good too. I had a taco salad (easy on the beans and I skipped most of the shell, making it pretty GD friendly) and Tony had soup and a burger with some really good fries (I ate one teeny one). I’d thought it was going to be a greasy spoon kind of place (well, it kind of was), but it was also really good and those Fountain desserts…oh man. Definitely have to go back sometime. Repeatedly. Too many options, too little time.

Le Vichyssois
220 West Route 120, Lakemoor, IL (815) 385-8221

Tony took me out for my birthday last night. We went to a little French place that I’d heard about on the PCHO (i.e. PSYCHO) list. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it is a cute little place. Elegant inside (all cream and white and silver and bronze) with lots of oil paintings (all of which are for sale).

I gather that it has been there for a while. They feature an a la carte menu and a “bistro” 3 course menu. We wound up doing the a la carte since I was trying to keep my sugar/carb intake low. Tony had foie gras with brioche, a house salad, and the venison. I had a warm cabbage and bacon salad (nice, faintly reminiscent of sauerkraut) and veal medallions in a black truffle sauce. We split some dessert. All-in-all, even with the dessert, I didn’t do too bad. My sugar level for the 2 hour post-prandial measurement wasn’t all that off the charts, just a little bit high. 146 when I’m supposed to aim for under 120.

The people were friendly and the service was good. It was a pretty quiet night, but I imagine that’s due in part to the location and a good deal more to the temperature (it was -4). Definitely a place to try again. It wasn’t the best French food I’ve ever had, but it was good (and we’ve been to some really, really nice French places). And for being out here in the suburbs, it’s darn good.

660 Lake-Cook Road, Deerfield, IL, 60015 Phone: 847-940-0777

The other night I met Tony after work before he left for Toronto (mostly just to see him, but also because he’d forgotten his suitcase). We ate at Demetri’s, which is just around the corner from his office in Deerfield.

It’s a Greek restaurant and he’s been there a ton of times (there are only so many close places to his office building), but it was my first time there. We actually arrived very early, so we were able to get the Early Bird specials (pretty good deal; they even include dessert).

The inside is nice and pretty understated. They’ve got some art glass-y type of lights and a big fish tank, as well as some (presumably) Grecian columns decorating the place. The menu seemed pretty authentic to me, with all the standard Greek fare (spanikopita, dolmades, moussaka, etc. [all of which I’m probably spelling wrong, since I don’t feel like looking it up right now]).

We had soup to start off with (it came with the Early Bird) and mine was an interesting lemon, rice and chicken soup. Tony had the Athenian chicken (which he’d had before and liked) and I had pasticchio (which I really should look up how to spell, since I’m positive I mangled it). Both were quite good and the portions were, honestly, too big. I especially liked the potatoes with Tony’s dish. The baklava and the homemade walnut cake for dessert were also really good.

All in all, this is a nice Greek place. It’s not the best Greek food I’ve ever had (that, so far, would be at places down in Tarpon Springs, Florida), but it was all pretty good. And if you’re early, the Early Bird is definitely a good deal.

55 Barron Blvd Grayslake, IL 60030 (847) 223-6176

I stopped in at Rudy’s Mexican Grill today (ok, see, Tony is coming home tonight from Toronto and I didn’t feel like cooking…so I had an early dinner out). It’s in a tiny little strip mall (3 shops) right off of 137 / 83.

Friendly guy who owns it (Rudy, natch) with a pretty authentic menu (i.e. real tacos with cilantro). Homemade chips and salsa were really good. I tried a combination platter with two tacos and a tostada (one of the tacos was supposed to be a sope, but he was out, though very apologetic). All good, nice flavor, served hot and fast.

There were also some Spanish speakers in there, which is always a good sign. One diner was even all complimentary to my outfit, telling me it was “my color” which was kind of nice but weird. Especially since the color I was wearing was charcoal gray. But hey. He was being a little flirty, but I’ll take it since I feel like a cow anyhow with my big ‘ol belly. 😉

So, to sum up, as Inigo might say — small place, good vibe, good food, friendly people. Worth a visit, especially if you want something much more authentic than Taco Bell (and just down the street from them). He even had horchata, which I’ll have to get next time.

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