Musings of a Museum Fanatic: October 2018

10.31.2018

11 Things That Have Happened Lately

We've made it to the end of October! Did we even have a September or October? I'm still not even sure at this point but I know I did something since I've got the photos to prove it. It's been a busy couple of months and there is never enough time in the day to share everything. Thought I would catch you up since so many big things have happened lately. How has your fall been so far? As busy as mine?

Labor Day Weekend

I got to spend another great Labor Day weekend hanging out with my mom and the rest of the family. We ended the weekend with out annual watching of the Naperville parade. It was a little different this year since Mom wasn't actually walking in the parade. She actually got to sit and enjoy it with us. 


Gamma Phi Hike

I discovered in late August that I had more than enough vacation days to take off some extra time around the holidays that I had been wanting to take. So that left me with a few to burn. One of the Gamma Phi Beta Alumnae groups I'm active in had been taking hikes and getting lunch together on a regular basis during the work week. I couldn't have thought of a better way to use one of my vacation days! Besides the onslaught of mosquitoes part way through the hike it was fantastic. Perfect way to use a vacation day! I was even able to visit a museum after. 


Visiting the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

I was finally able to get a chance to enjoy the exhibits at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. You can read all about it in my post from last month.


Inflatable 5k

Bethany, Kevin and I had signed up for what I was hoping was a fun 5k waaaaay back in February. Well by the time the date rolled around early September our group was down a member with Bethany being almost 8 months pregnant at the time. Kevin and I had a blast with this one! While it called itself a run us and most of the people participated treated it more like a 5k walk. It was a blast! We completed the course in what I'd like to think is a pretty good time of about 30 minutes. I am definitely going to vote to do this one again next year. 


Lane's 4th Birthday

I'm amazed to say that Lane turned four at the end of September! There was a bit of a hiccup since he decided not to participate in swim class and if he didn't wouldn't have a birthday party. Well he was ok with that. So about a week and half later we did get together for casual dinner and ice cream cake. 



Becky spent the weekend in September 

The past couple of years Becky has come in for Labor Day weekend but this year because of our lack of getting our acts together she wasn't able to because of work. She was able to come in two weeks later though! We had a blast. There was our awesome troll hunt at the Morton Arboretum and I took her for a massage for a belated birthday gift. Needless to say I slayed it in the gift department. We even headed to Lane's school for an Oktoberfest fundraiser. It was a blast. As usual it's never quite enough time.





Open House Chicago 

When the middle of October rolls around in Chicago you know it's time for Open House Chicago! Last year unfortunately we got rained out but this year the weather was really good if a bit chilly early on in the day. We were all over the downtown area from the West Loop all the way up to the Gold Coast. One of my must visits was the Big Monster Toy building. It did not disappoint! Then we headed to several houses of worship, including hiking almost 200 steps to the highest chapel in Chicago. 


Juliette Elyse

This is probably the biggest happening that happened recently. You might have seen it on my Instagram, earlier this week I became an aunt for the third time. We welcomed Juliette Elyse into the family. She is so cute and already giving plenty of attitude. There is definitely a time of adjustment I think going from two to three. There will definitely be more photos of her coming in the future! The yawning photo is my favorite of her so far. 



Cooking up a storm

I have been rocking out the 50 new Pampered Chef recipes lately. Averaging about 2 a week since the beginning of the summer I'll conquer this 101 List item in no time. We've been really enjoying trying out different recipes that combine ingredients we enjoy but new and different ways of cooking. There are plenty that are going to become staples in our house I think. 


Cousin's Wedding

This past weekend Kevin, Mom and I headed up to the Fond du Lac area of Wisconsin for my cousin Kristy's wedding. It was so much fun. There was a good turn out from the Schmidt family. We stayed up way later than usual and I'm definitely super tired as I write this paragraph the day after. Well worth it though! The ceremony was lovely and the church was beautiful. In fine Schmidt fashion we spent the couple of hours between the ceremony and reception enjoying a lot of adult beverages in the hotel lobby. Certain uncles might have been very happy when we got to the reception. There was lots of dancing, some good and some not as good. Kevin and I need to take lessons again I think ha.  


History Happy Hour

This monthly event at the Chicago History Museum has become a very popular event not only with history lovers in the city but also with my friends. I finally was able to join them for one. We enjoyed looking at creepy artifacts and documents from the collection. I enjoyed sharing some of the creepy Chicago stories I know with them as well. They didn't believe me at first about the devil baby at Hull House. Fun evening! 

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!













10.26.2018

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic


Earlier this spring the Chicago area was all a buzz with the newest exhibit that was being created before our very eyes at the Morton Arboretum. What you ask was being created? Trolls! Yup that's right trolls. A Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, was creating these upcycled pieces of artwork throughout the Arboretum grounds. While Mom with her membership were able to get a chance to see them in progress I wanted to wait until they were completed and be able to go on the completed troll hunt. It was a blast!

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

First here is some information about these mostly gentle giants. They're set to stay up through the summer of 2019 so you definitely have some time to get over and see them. I've heard that they're going to be left up until they start to fall apart, since they're reclaimed wood, so you've got some time but don't wait to go see these guys! The Arboretum has provided all sorts of tips for you to make the most of your hunt. I wish I had read those before we went hunting. My biggest recommendation is definitely wear gym shoes or hiking shoes. While overall every troll is pretty easy to get to you're definitely going through lots of dirt paths and some with some roots in them, you'll see later how my sandals fared. Spoiler alert not good ha. 

I took Becky to see the trolls during her weekend visit. Since she and I are always up for any type of adventure I figured a troll hunt would be the perfect thing to do. We were bound and determined to see all the trolls and discover their hidden hideout. We started off easy hunting the few trolls within walking distance of the visitor center. Although we thought we had it easy we had to avoid some pretty huge boulders being thrown our way by Rocky Bardur! The guy with the yellow car wasn't as lucky though. I'm not sure what his insurance will say about that damage. Maybe he's got State Farm since ya know they've seen a thing or two?

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic
After barely escaping several large boulders being throw our way we almost got ourselves caught in a troll cage! Here we thought Sneaky Socks Alexa was just relaxing and enjoying the sun. He was so nice and left us a treat in this weirdly shaped mini house. It was not a mini house! We're pretty sure he caught an unsuspecting dad as we scampered away though. Sneaky Socks indeed!

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Next we trekked up what I'm pretty sure in Illinois standards is a mountain to do some people watching with this big guy, Joe the Guardian. He had a great view of the Reagan. Although he didn't have any rocks to throw at the cars he did have that pretty big spear so who knows what could happen if he sees a car he doesn't like.

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic
Then we made our way into the woods on the east side of the Arboretum to find Furry Eva. Unfortunately this time Becky was not paying attention, I think after Joe the Guardian she had her guard down, she got caught in Eva's net. Luckily after some break dance distraction moves I was able to help her escape and we were on our way again. 
Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Niels Bragger was definitely the most popular troll but he was the most fierce looking I think. With his long fingers and huge club. Everyone for some cray reason wanted their photo with him. I was just glad that he seemed content to just hang out and not use that club. After visiting Niels we thought we had figured out where the hideout was (and with some help from the visitor services person!) but we realized if we had the last clue it would have made much more sense and we would have gotten there much sooner haha. 

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Little Arturs on the west side of the Arboretum didn't seem to interested in catching anyone or anything other than a few ZZZs. With him being the troll closest to their secret hideout one would think he would be a better watch troll. Hopefully with him out for the count we'll be able to discover the hideout without any troll interference. Although when those kids came around I think he might have been trying to trick them!! Who wouldn't want their lunch to just hop into their mouth?

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

After some searching we ended up finding the hideout! It was so neat. Tucked away in the west side of the Arboretum it was what you would expect a troll hideout to look like. From the over sized troll ax to the massive comb that clearly doesn't work for any of the trolls. Becky and I braved their cooking pot but didn't stay long. Don't want anyone to come home and give them any ideas! There were drums, a throne and other fun details. Well worth the hike. 

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Speaking of hiking. When you visit you'll definitely want to make sure to wear gym shoes or boots. As you can see my feet ended up a tad dirty. Also on our way up the slightly treacherous hill to the hideout my foot slid and I broke my sandal. Even with that issue it was so worth it to complete the hunt and find the hideout. I'm really looking forward to visiting during the winter and seeing what the trolls look like with snow! I feel like they're going to be just a cool. 

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #museum #arboretum #museumfanatic

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!








10.24.2018

Breakfast on the Go with Pampered Chef

Breakfast on the Go with Pampered Chef by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

As much as I try to simplify and get thing in my life more efficient lately there are definitely areas that I still have trouble with and fly by the seat of my pants. Breakfast in the morning tends to be one of those areas. I go through phases with what I like to eat and I never seem to leave myself enough time to make something a little more filling and healthy. I've been working my way through a lot of Pampered Chef recipes lately thanks to the 101 list and have found some great breakfast on the go tricks and recipes. 

Batch cooking

Batch cooking is one of those areas I keep telling myself I'll get better about doing regularly but I never seem to. Maybe I need to make bigger batches? There are a couple of great tools I've been using that when I actually do batch we love the results. I've been making Baked Granola Bars with the Snack Bar Maker Set for Kevin all the time now. He loves these granola bars he'll eat them whenever. We've been getting creative with the mix ins too. 



I've also tried some batch cooking with the Brownie Pan. A couple years ago Steph from Life According to Steph purchased a brownie pan from me and shared this great Egg Muffins recipe. This is a great batch cook and then freeze till you need it recipe. Here is another recipe for some great brownie pan batch cooking, Apple Cheddar Bacon Egg Muffins, it's a good fall recipe with the apples in it.

Use the right tools

Having the right tools to get a quick breakfast accomplished makes a world of difference. My two favorites are the Ceramic Egg Cooker and the Breakfast Sandwich Maker. I actually love to make a quick oatmeal in the Ceramic Egg Cooker, it's a quick way to get a hot breakfast. If you're more of an eggs and meat in the morning person it can be tough to get that on the go. You can make recipes like the English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich with the Breakfast Sandwich Maker.

Breakfast on the Go with Pampered Chef by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Sweeten up the morning

Sometimes in the morning you just need a little sweetness even if you're running out the door at 60 miles per hour. Sometimes you don't want to sacrifice the healthy for the sweetness. Oatmeal is the perfect candidate for both. There are a lot of great overnight oat recipes so you can just grab and good. Chocolate Almond Overnight Oats has both the sweet and healthy.

A few of this seasons new baking pans are not only perfect for wonderful baked gifts but can really provide some delicious sweet grab and go breakfasts. The Donut Pan and Mini Loaf Pans are great for batch cooking or just a large amount prepped for the week. I love the Mini Cinnamon Loaves recipe. It's a great one and I love to add a simple glaze to make it even more special.

Breakfast on the Go with Pampered Chef by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!

10.22.2018

7 Awesome Tips for Becoming a Morning Person


Mornings are a pain in the butt. Let's just put that out there from the beginning. While they're a pain in all our butts some people are just better at them than other people. Although there is no reason why you can't rock our your morning and become a morning person too! I've got 7 awesome tips to help you become that morning person so you can conquer life and all your goals! Are you a morning person? Or does it take you a while to get going?

Go to bed earlier
Now that we're adults and don't have to worry about our curfew I think a lot of us just stay up super late. We definitely pay for it the next day don't we? There might be some of us who are more of night people and can actually get stuff done after a certain time. Let's be serious though for the majority of us after a certain time we're just fooling around online or watching another movie that we've seen tons of times. Get to bed earlier in the evening and you'll be able to wake up and be productive when you need to get up early. 

Prep in advance
Earlier in the year I shared 5 Things to Make Your Morning Better and prepping ahead of time is definitely on that list but I think it's so important it should be on this list. This time I'm talking about different prepping. Laying out your clothing and any other items you need for the day will make the next morning so much easier. Supposedly we spend almost an entire year during our life time standing in front of the closet figuring out what to wear. Keeping that in mind it makes getting going much easier in the morning if you are able to grab and go with your clothes. 

Attitude 
I know all to well how tough it can be to get up in the morning and dread going to work. Maybe the day before was crummy and you're not looking forward to dealing with any more ridiculousness. Putting yourself into a good attitude right away can completely change not just your morning but the rest of your day.  

Stop hitting snooze
Luckily this one has never been an issue for me, once I hear my alarm I'm up, but I know several friends who hit the snooze button so many times that they end up running late. Make a point to not hit the snooze button at all or if you really must only do it once. A friend told me she likes to put her alarm across the room so she has to get up and walk over to turn it off. It's really helped her to get going instead of falling back asleep several times and feeling crummy. 

Turn on music
This one might not be for everyone and if you live with someone else they might not appreciate it. First thing when I wake up I turn on music like some Disney tunes or some classic 1960s rock and roll. Most of the time you'll get upbeat tunes that will help you get going in the morning with some pep in your step. 

Figure out a routine
Most mornings I have a pretty set routine of what I do from wake up to when I walk of the door to go to work. A couple of weeks ago I woke up late and my routine was totally thrown off and I paid for it with how I felt the entire day. Figuring a routine out for your mornings can not only make it easier to get out the door but also will make things much smoother. When you constantly change things up your body and mind are freaking out and trying to adjust. 

Stretch
Kevin swears by stretching in the mornings. He needs to do it because his back is always so stiff when he wakes up but he also finds that it helps him to actually wake up. It's almost like he's stretching the sleep out of his limbs and entire body. 

What 

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!

10.19.2018

43 Free (or cheap) Date Ideas


When you're working on achieving financial goals in life that usually means you've got to save save save.  Just because you're working on saving it doesn't mean you can't have fun date nights. This winter Kevin and I are working on the financial 101 list items so that means cutting back on going out and spending money the next few months. He helped me devise a list of great free or really cheap date ideas. Many of these ideas we like to implement regularly, like visiting a free local museum or enjoying a fancier dish like steak at home. Do you have any free or really cheap date ideas you use regularly? I know we could definitely use more!!

Game night at home

Steak dinner at home

Outdoor picnic

Play strip poker

Indoor picnic

Free local museum

Fancy dessert out, dinner at home

Movie night at home

Use up gift cards for a night out

Find a deal

Build or make something together

Free walking tour

Shoot hoops at your local park

Watch a sunset together

Walk around the mall and chat

Attend a program at your local library

Find a place to stargaze

Volunteer together

Bowling

Go to a free concert in the park

Look through real estate listings and wishful real estate together

Go fishing

Take a walk around your neighborhood

Garage sale together

Play with animals at your local shelter

Build a pillow fort

Read or listen to a book together

Puzzle

Go geocaching

Enjoy a program at your local park district

Bake treats together

Enjoy a local forest preserve together

Make microwave s’mores

Find a local place with free music

Mini golf

Build a snow fort

Give each other a shoulder massage

Attend a local high school or college sports game

Take a bunch of selfies together around your town plus for the silliest

Wake up early and watch the sunrise

Each of you pick out a podcast and listen to them together

Go to a busy area and people watch

Play Wii sports together


Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!