Musings of a Museum Fanatic: February 2016


3 Tips to Get you Re-motivated for your New Years Resolutions

Now that we're almost into March, New Years and those resolutions you set, in a possibly tipsy state, seem like forever ago. You've sort of been keeping them up but not really and you definitely haven't been keeping them up as much as you had wanted to. Here are some tips to ramp up those New Years resolutions and goals again!

1. Enlist help. 
Did one of your friends make a resolution to get in shape too? Join a gym together and schedule work outs when you can go together. Need to save money? Get help from that friend who always has their finances down to the penny budgeted for or have your significant other review the bills with you each month.

Not only will they keep you accountable but it can just be down right more fun to kick those resolutions in the butt together.

2. Reward Good Behavior
We all know that really changing a behavior and habit should be a reward in itself but who are we kidding that rarely works. Sometimes we need that carrot! Especially if we've been slacking off and need to get re-motivated.

 Can't bring yourself to work out three days a week just to improve your health? Maybe an 80 minute massage at the end of two months of consistent working out will do the trick or a cute new dress. Who knows you could be buying a smaller size by then as well.

3.  Write down WHY you want to achieve the resolution
When you get bogged down and more discouraged that change isn't happening quickly or you're just so tired of trying it makes sense to remind yourself why you picked this resolution. Take loosing weight for example, I'm sure part of it is to feel better, but maybe it's to fit into that dress you absolutely love or to be able to run around with your nephew and not feel like crap.

There is usually a deeper reason for why we want to change things in our life. Explore that and let it re-motivate you to keep making those changes!

I know I've slacked a bit on my resolutions so I'm going to take my own advice and get back to work!!


Silly Early Emails

Awhile ago I decided do a little electronic clutter cleaning ... shocker I know ... I ended up looking through my Kevin folder. Which turned into me reading through the emails we would send when we first met each other. Let me tell you the walk down memory lane was quite hilarious. We talked about Myspace waaaaay too much for 2009 haha. Kevin and his kookieness haven't changed much the past seven years. Thought I would share some of my favorite Kevin quotes from our early emails!

So, in between seeing your family, let's meet up.  No date or anything like that, just two people talking and we will take it from there.  If we agree on friends, yee haw!  If we go for dating, double yee haw! 

Yes, you can stalk me on Myspace.  You are good looking AND I know you, it's all good!

No sexy costume for Halloween?  Oh darn!  I won't be able to stalk your pictures of that costume on myspace...... 

You were right and I was wrong.  There you go!  Happy now?  Ha!

Your mood on myspace is miserable?  Better change that to "Horny" because of that bass player Kevin!  LOL! 

Here is the laugh of the day.....I just had my Mom check my throat and found a bunch of white spots on my swollen lymph node glands.  Great!  I have some sort of an infection.  So don't plan on kissing my lips on Saturday, you really don't want what I have. (this is the precursor to my getting mono ugh!)

(This is two months into dating before he was cleared to kiss me by the doctor)  Betsy, I am going a little crazy not being able to kiss you.  It's driving me wild inside and I can see the same look on your face.  But I think in the end, it will all work out. 

I can't believe some of the things we said to each other when we were first dating, oh my goodness! 


The Greeks at the Field Museum

At the end of January Kevin and I got a chance to head to the Field Museum and see the amazing "The Greeks" exhibit. Ever since seeing that this joint exhibit between the National Hellenic Museum and the Field Museum was opening this winter I was dying to go see it. 

This is one exhibit you don't want to miss. There are artifacts in this exhibit that have never been out of Greece before. The Greeks runs through April 10 so there is still plenty of time for you to plan a Chicago trip because this is a can't miss!


Sauteed Lobster Tail

One of my favorite parts of Pampered Chef are the recipes. There are recipes for everything you can think of, using all different types of ingredients. Not only are the recipes fantastic but you always learn new basic cooking techniques through them. Yesterday I was looking for a new way to cook lobster tails since we'd steamed them the last couple of times. 

Through another recipe I found a delicious new way to cook lobster tails!

Sauteed Lobster Tail

Lobster tails
Butter (unsalted) 

1. Remove lobster meat from shell; cut into 1-inch pieces. To remove lobster meat from the shell, cut down center of top and bottom of lobster shell with Kitchen Shears then pull apart shell. 

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in Executive Nonstick 10" Saute Pan over medium-high heat. For best browning, let the butter to foam up before adding the lobster and cook undisturbed for the first few minutes.

3. Add lobster then cook 5-7 minutes or until edges of lobster begin to brown, stirring occasionally. 

4. Remove lobster from pan.

5. Enjoy!


Out of the Egg Comfort Zone

As well all know I have some weird food issues. One of them is the whole runny yolk thing. Well this past week I sort of overcame that. A while ago I was turned on to Budget Bytes. Beth shares some amazing recipes that fill your stomach and keep your wallet full at the same time. A while ago I got an email with a delicious looking recipe, Curried Potatoes with Poached Eggs.

I'm sure you're probably thinking Betsy you've never mentioned liking Indian food and we all know how you feel about runny eggs. Actually I do enjoy Indian food, most of what I have had in the past are the basics but with one of Kevin's friends, who is Indian, getting married and us having dinner with them early in January I have been able to delve more into it. Needless to say so far I'm enjoying it and now that we've found a really good Indian restaurant really close by I'm sure we'll be enjoying it again soon.

Now back to the whole reason for this post! When I saw this recipe it just looked delicious, egg and all, so I went ahead and pinned it. In the back of my head I was saying this would be the perfect vegetable recipe to cook that scares you!

Overall the recipe was a hit with both Kevin and I. The sauce was delicious with the fresh naan we got at the store. Unfortunately I overcooked the eggs so they weren't runny at all! I was going more by look of the eggs instead of the time, which I think was the issue. We also thought that next time we make it we'll reduce the amount of potatoes so there will be more great sauce. Also I will make sure to pay attention to the egg timing! Curried Potatoes with Poached Eggs will be a new staple on our regular roster for sure.


Chicago Free Museum Days 2016

The winter is a fantastic time to go visit Chicago museums. Many of the big museums offer a ton of free days! What better way to enjoy the mild winter then to trek to your favorite museum or to find a new favorite. Some of the bigger museums only post the free days a few months at a time so be sure to bookmark your favorite and check back often.

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
  • February 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29

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.
  • February 1-29 

Museum of Science and Industry 
5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
These are Illinois resident discount days
  • February 29
  • June 1-3, 6-8
  • September 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
  • October 4-6
  • November 3, 10
  • December 1

Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

  • February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29
  • June 6, 7, 13, 14
  • September 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27
  • October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
  • November 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29

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
  • February Monday -Friday

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.
  • January 2-3
  • February 6-7
  • March 5-6
  • April 2-3
  • May 7-8
  • June 4-5
  • July 2-3
  • August 6-7
  • September 3-4
  • October 1-2
  • November 5-6
  • December 3-3

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 in February Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 

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***