Musings of a Museum Fanatic: September 2015


I ate a Tomato & other 101 things

I ate a tomato.

Yes I actually did it. There wasn't physical proof but as Kevin, my mom, brother, sister in law and Lane, they'll all tell you I actually did it. Mom thought it would be life changing. Nope, still don't like them but I can cross it off my 101 list!! This was definitely the task I thought I would be saving until the end of the list to accomplish but when your sister in law has a bumper crop of tomatoes this year you figure if you're going to have one it might as well be a nice home grown one.

For the longest time I've been telling Kevin about this awesomely simple bread you can make with the Deep Covered Baker. Every time I tell him that he asks why we haven't had the bread yet. Well I didn't really have a good answer so I added it to my new list and made the first of the three loaves! It was awesome. There was no kneading, barely any steps to it and it came out wonderful. My favorite way of using it was to make toasted cheesy garlic bread from it. I'll be making my second loaf soon but using the new Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix this time.  Been slacking a bit on the cooking area of my new list but the Crab Stuffed Chicken, of my things off Pinterest I was scared of, turned out well.

One area I have definitely NOT been slacking on has been watching Ken Burn's documentaries. Before it seemed I was going to have to request them thru Netflix on DVD but between Netflix Instant, Prime and my brother's Xfinity online I've seen The WestThe Roosevelts: An Intimate History and am working my way through The National Parks: America's Best Idea. I am huge fan of his style of documentary so I've very much enjoyed the in depth looks at these topics. Kevin wants to see Prohibition with me so that will have to wait until after Disney.

After Disney I'll hopefully be able let you know that I've crossed off all the 101 tasks relating to that. Although it wouldn't be all bad if not crossing one off means we have to go back right ....

I was also able to cross of the gallery wall, Kevin was a big help with this one. The layout of photos and other items was so not symmetrical but he put them all up and made them look great. Much to Mom's utter happiness I also finally made it through the Harry Potter series and boy was she right. As soon as I started reading I couldn't put them down. Since I had seen the first few movies I was enjoying how much alike the two were, then when I got to the other books I had to know what was going on! I think I'll probably go back and watch all the movies now. 

Whew!!! What a crazy first two months the new 101 list has been! It's going great though and I can't wait to cross off more tasks : )


Chicago Museum Free Days 2015 part 2

Earlier in 2015 I pulled together the freebie dates and information from Chicago area museums. Since many of the freebie dates already passed I thought I'd pull together the free dates for the rest of the year. The fall and winter time are great for museum going. There is always tons to do in conjuncture with your visit.

There are also usually discounts for certain groups, such as military personnel and teachers. Be sure to check websites or call and check to see if you can get that discount before you go.

If you're from the Chicago area I would also highly recommend you become a member of your favorite museums you visit often. This not only gets you into the museum for a discounted rate and in most cases special member perks but it supports the museum and the work that they do.

The Big 6 Chicago Museums
Adler Planetarium
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605
These are Illinois resident discount days
  • October 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
  • Free admission every Thursday 5-8PM

700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Target Free Family Night - Free admission every Thursday 5PM-8PM
  • First Free Sunday - Free admission for visitors 15 and under on the first Sunday of each month

Field Museum of Natural History
1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
Illinois residents can enjoy free Basic admission on Field Museum Discount Days. On these Discount Days, Illinois residents may upgrade to a Discovery Pass for $11 or upgrade to an All-Access Pass for $18.
  • October 4 and 30  
  • November 1 and 22  
  • December 5, 6, and 13

Museum of Science and Industry 
5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
These are Illinois resident discount days
  • October 5, 6

Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
  • October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 
  • November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24

Elmhurst Art Museum
150 Cottage Hill Ave. Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
  • Free admission every Friday

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
220 South Cottage Hill Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126
  • Free admission every Friday

Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery
100 West Randolph Street Chicago, IL 60601
  • Free daily admission

Loyola University Museum of Art
820 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Free admission every Tuesday

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Free admission every Tuesday

National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60641
  • Free daily admission

Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
  • Free daily admission

Ethnic Museums
DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
  • Free admission every Sunday

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
3001 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
  • Free admission every first Friday

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Free daily admission

Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago
1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
  • Free daily admission (suggested donation)

Swedish American Museum
5211 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60601
  • Free admission every second Tuesday of the month

History Museums
Robert McCormick Museum and
First Division Museum (at Cantigny)
1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
  • Free daily admission, $5 parking fee per car

Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
Illinois resident discount days
  • No more for 2015

Clarke House Museum
1827 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Free on Wednesdays

102 E. Wesley Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187
  • Free daily admission

120 E. Park Ave.  Elmhurst, IL 60126
  • Free daily admission

Glessner House Museum
1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Free on Wednesdays

Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077
Free days for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch ATM, credit or debit cardholders ONLY.
  • October 3-4
  • November 7-8
  • December 5-6

Jane Addams Hull House at UIC
800 S. Halsted Chicago, IL 60607-7017
  • Suggested donation of $5

International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60610
  • Free on Tuesdays

McDonalds #1 Store Museum
400 N. Lee Street Des Plaines, IL 60016
  • Free daily admission

Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster St. Naperville, IL 60540
  • Free general admission for Naperville residents. Discounted rate during the winter season (November-March)

Local Historical Societies
These local historical institutions usually have free admission, suggested donation or an extremely low fee which will usually include a tour. Since a majority these institutions are run by volunteers be sure to check what their hours are since sometimes they will only be open certain days of the week to the public.

Nature Museums, Farms & Zoos
Brookfield Zoo
8400 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513
  • General admission is free from October 1 – December 31, 2015, on Tuesdays, Thursdays.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022
  • Free daily admission, parking fees apply

1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
  • Free daily admission, $5 parking

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624
  • Free daily admission, street parking available

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Free daily admission, parking fees apply

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents

The Grove
1421 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL
  • Free daily admission

Wagner Farm
1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL 60026
  • Free daily admission

***While this list is pretty comprehensive there are a number of museum's that don't advertise free/discounted days but you should definitely be sure to check them out as well because there are some amazing museums in the Chicago area***


Cover V. Original

One part of music that I've always enjoyed is when people cover songs. I mean come on I am kinda obsessed with cover bands! Most of the time people say that the original is way better but here are 10 of my favorites where the cover totally dominates the original. 

Dancing In the Streets
Original - Martha & the Vandellas
Cover - David Bowie & Mick Jagger

While I enjoy both versions I really enjoy the sound of the cover a little bit better. Plus this video just pushes it way over the top. I mean seriously if you've never seen the amazing that is Bowie & Jagger dancing together you need to take 2 minutes and 56 seconds to just enjoy it. God I love the 80's it's so wonderful. 

With a Little Help From My Friends
Original - The Beatles
Cover - Joe Cocker

While the Beatles version is amazing and I love it so much I think I might just love Joe's version a little bit more. It's got a rough edge to it that I think works well with the meaning of the song.

Smooth Criminal
Original - Michael Jackson
Cover - Alien Ant Farm

My apologies to the king of pop but his version just doesn't cut it compared to this hard rocking Alien Ant Farm version.

Whiskey in the Jar
Original - Dulbiners/Thin Lizzy
Cover - Metallica

Again with the loving the hard rock versions I know, I know. I just can't help it. Although my husband likes to remind me that this song is after the sold out, etc ... my reply is I don't care I just enjoy it for the awesome song it is. If you've never heard the Dubliners version of this song seriously check it out, it is definitely totally different!

Killing Me Softly
Original - Roberta Flack
Cover - Fugees

Who knew?! Lauryn Hill, you and your 90's teenage angst. I love it.

I will Always Love You
Original - Dolly Parton
Cover - Whitney Houston

Another one that I had no idea was a cover! No gonna lie but sorry Dolly, Whitney totally dominates in this cover. The "I will Always Love You" part at the end still gives me goosebumps.

Proud Mary
Original - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Cover - Ike & Tina Turner

For me this match up might actually be a tie. Some times you need the smoother trip down the river with CCR and sometimes you need the crazy Tina Turner hair flip version.

Twist and Shout
Original - The Isley Brothers
Cover - The Beatles

The Beatles just barely beat out The Isley Brothers with their 1963 cover. Both versions hold up really well but The Beatles version is the one most of us know and love.

I Love Rock 'n' Roll 
Original - Arrows
Cover - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Who even knew that this was a cover? I definitely did not know that. Obviously since I didn't even know there was an original Joan's cover wins hands down.  

Original - Nine Inch Nails
Cover - Johnny Cash

The emotion Cash sings this song with is just ridiculous.

So what do you think? Original or cover?


30 Things That Happened in 1995

For my thirtieth birthday in April I shared 30 Things that happened in 1985. A lot of us who are close to or just over 30 felt a little old but enjoyed a look back. So I thought it would be fun to see what was going on 20 years ago as well, let's hop in the time machine and head back to 1995.

- Last "Far Side" by cartoonist Gary Larson (started 1980) on January 1, 1995

- Truck bomb devastates Oklahoma City Federal Building killing 168 people

- Clueless came out summer of 1995, making all of us use terms like "whatever" and "as if" until it drove our parents nuts.

- OJ Simpson is found innocent in the double murder for the deaths of former wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

- Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio is released

- United Nations intervenes in Bosnian Civil War and cease fire after peace agreement War ends

- Toy Story first ever wholly computer generated film

- Windows 95 released by Microsoft

- American dance phenom Ginger Rogers passes away at the age of 84

- In addition to saying good bye to the Far Side we also said goodbye to our good friends "Calvin & Hobbes"

- The Soup Nazi and his catch phrase "No Soup For You!" came into our living rooms and hearts.  

- Heather Whitestone, Miss Alabama, becomes the first deaf Miss America. 

- The Rock and Roll Hall of fame opened in Cleveland, Ohio.

- Pocahontas is released and changes my childhood.

- In southern France a network of caves are discovered that contain paintings and engravings that are 17,000 to 20,000 years old.

- Mississippi votes to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in 1865. Unfortunately because of a paperwork oversight was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register and therefore never made official until 2013.

- On May 27 Superman actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition in Virginia.

- December by Collective Souls

- The internet officially becomes totally open for commercial traffic after the National Science Foundation Network is decommissioned.

- Hello DVDs ... goodbye VHS.

- Happy birthday to Kendall Jenner.

- The last episode of Full House aired on May 23, 1995

- Pop star Selena is murdered by friend and manager, Yolanda Saldívar.

- 90's cartoons are changed forever (at least in my opinion!) with the debut of the ever hilarious, never successful "Pinky & The Brain"

- E-Bay was born.

- Alanis Morisette took home a Grammy for album of the year for her smash hit album Jagged Little Pill.

- Tommy Lee, Mötley Crüe drummer, marries Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson on a beach in Cancún, Mexico.

- The Washington Post and The New York Times publish the Unabomber's manifesto on September 19.

- Sony Playstation is released in North America.

- Weddings are never the same after the hit song and dance "Macarena" by Los del Rio is released.


AC/DC At Wrigley Field

Way back in winter, maybe even 2014, AC/DC one of my two all time favorite bands announced that they would be going on tour again. Needless to say I was insanely excited. I was stalking the websites to see when the tickets would go on sale and was well prepared that day with my multiple browsers ready to score us those tickets!!

It seemed like so long ago when I purchased the tickets, then all of a sudden it's September 15 and I'm heading downtown to Wrigley Field for the concert. I ended up getting us second row on the left side of the stage seats ... they were amazing! The place was jam packed with people ready to rock. 

Earlier in the day I had seen a former neighbor and someone I went to high school with posting about how her and her husband were on their way in for the show. Well not only did we see them, their seats were literally 7 rows behind ours! Definitely awesome to catch up before everything got started. 

The view from our seats.

Funny story. When Kevin and I had been dating for about 6 months AC/DC went on their first tour in a long time. Since I love  them so much we had bought tickets and were all set to go. Kevin who was somewhat sick for months after mono ended up needing his tonsils out and didn't go with me to the concert. I ended up going with his brother, who I had only met a handful of times at that point. Not gonna lie it was a bit awkward but still a killer night. I was so happy to finally get to see one of my favorite bands with my favorite guy.


You know you're not in high school anymore when ...

... You find a shirt from your freshman year and the date isn't even from this century.

... You see a school group and automatically look to see if the teacher is cute.

... Your friend who had a baby in high school now has a high schooler.

... Trends you loved then are now back in style. I'm talking about you tattoo choker necklace what the heck?!

... You see someone in high school and think how remarkably they look like a 6th grader and can't possibly be seniors.

... You meet someone who does the activity you did and you automatically start talking about how it was "in your day".

... People who were born the year you started high school are now in high school.