Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Although Theseus stayed at home while we traveled this past weekend, we did bring a little friend with us. Meet Ribbit.
This little guy was my nephew’s birthday gift. I can’t decide whether my favorite part is his bubbly little toes or that his body is filled with a tennis ball so that he bounces.
He and I had a fun time exploring the garden. 
I haven't been knitting much lately so it felt wonderful to spend the majority of Friday with my feet up, accompanied by a cup of tea and a soft kitty, and of course, Ribbit. 

Speaking of knitting, I've been forgetting to put up a photo of the winter set I made for Hubby! He got mittens last winter, and a matching hat and scarf this winter. Upgrading from boyfriend to Hubby seems to have its perks :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Most Blessed Easter

I hope you all had a most blessed Easter celebration! The last few days of Holy Week are an incredible emotional rollercoaster. Friday’s reflections bring such deep guilt and sorrow for Christ’s unimaginable suffering and overwhelming anger at Satan and what he has done to this world. Sunday, however, brings the purest and sincerest joy! The promised Messiah conquered the wretched evil of this world and invites us all to join Him in what is now our heavenly home through Him. God is SO great and SO merciful!

We were blessed to have spent the weekend with my family, both to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, and our nephew’s (and my Godson’s) second birthday!
Seeing our rapidly growing nieces and nephew is such a treat. I love them so much. What is it about children that stirs up such unconditional love? It will be so exciting if/when the Lord blesses us with children, but until then these little ones fill my heart with more joy and love than I ever knew was possible.

My parents were sure to fill our bags with mason jars filled with homemade applesauce, strawberry jam and all sorts of other yummy garden goodies. I also stole some chives from Dad’s backyard. I took photos of the whole process partially because everything was so beautiful, and partially because I wanted to document what I did so that I can know what I did when mistakes or successes occur. 
Step One: Fill jar with a bit of gravel for water drainage (I have no idea if this will help or not)
Reusing a lovely old candle jar
Step Two: Dig up some yummy compost. I sure wish we could compost in Chicago! 
Step Three: Fill the jar nearly full of compost, leaving enough room for the root system of the plant
Step Four: Steal some chives, being careful not to rip or dig through too many roots 
Step Five: Shake off excess dirt
Step Six: Place stolen chives in the jar, letting the roots fall naturally downward
Step Seven: Fill the jar with more of that yummy compost, 1/4-1/2 inch from the rim 
Isn't it lovely?! I love being able to see the layers of dirt and little bits of root through the glass. They will be especially beautiful once their purple flowers bloom. I can't wait to enjoy the chives on potatoes, in salads, and everywhere else I can sprinkle them! Thanks Dad and Diane!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Friends and Adventures

Hello there friends! We have been having such a great spring here in the Windy City. Hubby and I are really starting to make friends and find our place in this metropolis. He’s been playing tennis a few days a week with friends and with a league that he joined. I’ve been exploring the city now that the weather has warmed up so nicely.
One of my new friends is Margerita. She is a lovely woman who moved here from Kosovo a few years ago with her husband. Her history is incredibly interesting and quite tragic, given her forced involvement in the Bosnian war just over a decade ago. To give just a brief explanation of some of her experiences, she remembers being dragged out of her home with her family, stuffed into the overhead luggage compartment of a train, and then taken out to the mountains of Macedonia where she and hundreds others were dropped off with nothing more than each other and the clothes on their back, all in the middle of winter. I don’t know how she survived. Not only did she survive, but she is now thriving, happy, and she has moved on. Most incredibly, she has forgiven. We work with a few women who are of the ethnicity that caused her and her family such harm, and she holds nothing against them. She understands that, while their ancestors and relatives may have been involved, they had nothing to do with it and are now only a part of her new, peaceful American life. What a beautiful heart she has!

Margerita and I went for a stroll the other day. I had to go north to pick out some yarn for my Nephew’s birthday present and so I invited her along to explore that area. After picking up some beautiful yarn, we walked along the Ravenswood gardens. These gardens are planted along the side of the Metro track for nearly a mile. They are such a beautiful use of otherwise unusable urban space. There is a group of volunteers that tends to the gardens every Saturday morning, and Margerita and I are planning to help out at least a few times this spring and summer.
I'm growing my hair out and I pulled it back for the day!! A new look for this girl!
Across the street from the gardens was a sweet little family-owned distillery called Koval, so we popped in to see what it was all about. We were unable to tour at that time, but we enjoyed the smells and seeing all of the interesting whiskeys, liquors, and vodkas they had.  
Our next stop was a Middle Eastern grocery store and bakery that we stumbled upon. Much of the food she grew up with was heavily influenced by Middle Eastern traditions, and so she recognized so many things in the grocery store that I had never seen before. There were a few teas and snacks there that she had never seen before, but that I was able to explain to her a bit. I am by no means an expert on teas, but I am most certainly a lover and consumer of teas! I found some lovely hibiscus tea and my very favorite tea, Moroccan Mint! I also found some whole honey comb for Hubby!

After our fun in the grocery store, we stopped in at a café called Icosium for some coffee and to snack on the bakery that we had just bought. It was a very unique Algerian café with gorgeous antique textiles all over the walls and even the seats! Talk about living the good life! We felt like queens. After coffee and girl talk, it was nearly time that our husbands would be coming home, so we parted ways, looking forward to our next day at work together.

Just a few days after my outing with Margerita, I had another wonderful day with another wonderful friend. Well, several wonderful friends I suppose! Hubby and I were planning on going to a Roller Derby with a group of friends from church. After a morning of playing tennis, he had far too much homework to do to consider spending the entire afternoon and evening out with friends. So I called on my friend Sarah to join me instead!

Sarah is another friend from work, but it almost feels like we grew up together! She also grew up in rural Eastern Wisconsin. Her family owns a large herd of sheep and she loves to knit. We even have some family friends in common! After working with Sarah for a couple months, I invited her out for coffee and knitting. We ended up spending nearly a whole day, from 10am to 5pm, knitting together at the coffee shop! We had such a great time and our friendship quickly grew from there.

When I asked her to accompany me to the Roller Derby, she graciously and enthusiastically accepted the invitation, and even came out for dinner and drinks beforehand! Our friends from church warmly welcomed her and we had such a great time.
Neither of us had ever seen a roller derby before, so it was quite a learning experience for both of us. Although there is plenty of strategy, strength, and training involved, our basic idea of the sport is that two teams of roller-skating women chase one another around a rink, while boxing out and otherwise taking out the other team. There are different positions and different purposes for each position, but I would say that’s about the gist of it to a first-timer.
Our Windy City Rollers (WCR Second Wind) kicked butt!

Other highlights of the derby included a kilt-donning official (referee),
 a cute half-time performance, and the puppet show we saw on our way to the game. Or rather, the bout as they say.
This city isn’t turning out to be too bad. Here are a few more photos from my outings.
The spring breezes in this windy city carry the scent of flowering trees all over the city!

XOXO Natalie