Tag Archives: cold

Cold Weather Cruise on Carnival Imagination

Good Bye Cold, Chicago Winter … Hello Warm, Sunny Mexico

I have the privilege of going on a Baja Mexico Cruise (and escaping the brutal cold) in the middle of January. It was a very generous birthday gift from my husband and kids. I’ll be cruising with my aunt, I can’t wait ! Soon, I’ll be lounging poolside with a Pina Colada (sp?) in my hand 🙂

However, before I go, there is lots of work to be done:
Shopping – travel sized items and new sandals 🙂 plus grocery shopping for the fam while I’m gone … after all, we don’t want them starving to death in my absence.
Laundry – to bring my favorite outfit on my trip, plus I’m sure the hubby will appreciate clean clothes to wear.
Packing – I need to bring clothes for hot, mexico type weather but also some things for cooler weather in the 60’s predicted for Catalina Island (our first port of call). I had to go with the big suitcase … I always think I can fit everything in the carry-on, but I never can. I usually bring too much, but I like to have choices 🙂
Mani/Pedi –  I have to … scary winter feet and horrible cuticles, plus I feel pretty when I get pampered 🙂

I was starting to feel overwhelmed when I had a past client call asking for a last minute pet sitting (due to a death in her family). I was pretty booked already, but didn’t want to let her down. Lucky for me, my daughter volunteered to take down all our Christmas decorations for me. That took a load of stress off me.

It’s the first time I’m traveling alone in a long time, but I think I’m going to really enjoy getting away for a while. I hope I don’t miss my hubby and kids too much 🙂 


thankful for cold medicine

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/24/14

November 24, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful for cold medicine. I’ve been fighting off a cold for more than a week and yesterday it finally won. I realize there is no cure for the common cold, but I am very thankful that there are over the counter cold medicines that help alleviate symptoms.

Usually, when I catch a cold, it’s a head cold that settles in my sinuses. I spent the whole day lounging around in my jammies either reading or watching TV. I’m hoping that by resting all day yesterday, I’ll feel better today and be able to accomplish everything on my schedule.

I’d also like to mention that I am thankful for kleenex … I can’t even think about the old days when people used handkerchiefs … eeww !! I’m doubly thankful today, since I missed yesterday.

♥ Today I am thankful for cold medicine and kleenex ♥

Pinterest Crockpot Soup Recipe

Monday’s Menu ~ Pinterest Recipe for Crockpot Pasta e Fagioli Soup

One of my goals for 2014 was to learn how to make homemade soups. I chose a few I’d like to learn in an previous post. Yesterday I made a recipe (that wasn’t even on my list) that I found on Pinterest.

My husband and I enjoy going out to eat. We like simple, casual food ~ homey, comfort food, nothing too fancy or gourmet. Olive Garden is one of our favorite places to go.

I was looking for crockpot recipes on Pinterest when I found this one. I made a couple of changes, but only because I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients on hand. I used Italian Seasoning in place of the basil and thyme, and I skipped the apple juice entirely. I also chose to slice the carrots instead of shred them. Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe step by step. You can find the original recipe here.

My recipes calls for fresh chopped veggies

Chopping fresh veggies for my homemade soup recipe from Pinterest

Recipe call for healthy beans

Healthy beans are one of the ingredients in my homemade soup recipe.









We had this for dinner last night … I served it with warm from the oven pumpernickel dinner rolls. YUM !

Pasta E Fagioli with warm pumpernickel dinner rolls

My first time making Pasta E Fagioli soup using a copycat recipe from Olive Garden

This recipe makes a big pot of homemade soup … both my husband and I give it a big thumbs up – you should give it a try 🙂

Cold Snowy Chicago January Weather

This Long Snowy Chicago January is Giving Me Cabin Fever

It’s the last day of January, and I already have cabin fever. Normally the winter weather doesn’t really get to me until early March, and I then I start to dream and plan my summer garden. This year my cabin fever started way too early. I don’t usually let the weather stop me from keeping to my normal schedule and doing my normal activities. I am blaming it on the extreme weather that Chicago has experienced for the entire month of January 2014.  

After all, I come from sturdy stock … I used to work outside on the ramp at O’Hare for over 15 years, for goodness sakes. While we have experienced extreme low temperatures a few times this past month, we haven’t broken the record. I vividly remember experiencing that record low temp of -24 (without the windchill) on January 20, 1985 … it was my first day working at O’Hare! I remember thinking to myself, “what in the world was I thinking?? I had a nice, warm, comfy desk job at a travel agency on Michigan Avenue”. Of course, I survived and have great stories to tell from that day. It was a great job, with great travel benefits. I have many wonderful memories of this time … it was the perfect job for me during my single days 🙂

According to the Chicago Weather Center Blog, we haven’t broken the record for snowfall this month either, but our 33.5 inches takes 3rd place in the record book. The blizzard in January of 1979 gave that month a total of 40.4 inches to take 2nd place. I remember making a lot of $$$ shoveling people out that winter 🙂 The 1st place Chicago snowfall record is from 1918 with 42.5 inches … wow!

They are predicting more snow for tomorrow, so it appears February will be more of the same, yippee! Oh well … I’ll have to figure out someway to keep myself amused in my nice, warm cozy “cabin” for a while longer. Don’t be surprised if I have a really big garden this spring 🙂

Tell me some of the things you do while spending these cold and snowy days at home …

Homemade Chicken Soup

Homemade Soup Keeps You Warm on a Cold Winter Day

There’s nothing like a big bowl of steamy, hot, homemade soup. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. One of my goals is to learn how to make some of my favorite soups. I’m a beginner when it comes to making homemade soup. I have a list of my favorites that I want to learn how to make.

  • Chicken Soup
  • Vegetable Beef
  • Broccoli Cheddar
  • Split Pea
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Navy Bean
  • Taco Soup
  • Creamy Pumpkin
  • Chicken Enchilada

I am pleased with my Chicken soup skills … I’ve made it successfully several times. I can’t decide which to try next … it’s between Broccoli Cheddar and Loaded Baked Potato… I’ve been checking out Pinterest for some healthy recipes 🙂

I recently read an article in Midwest Living magazine that intrigued me. It was about throwing a casual Soup Exchange party. Most of us have been to Cookie Exchange parties, usually around the Christmas holidays. This is the same type concept, except it promotes healthy recipes. I thought it might be a fun idea to have one in the midst of this record breaking Chicagoland winter.

So basically, you make your pot of soup at home, and then bring it to the party in quart size containers … one for each guest. So if 6 people are coming, they each bring 6 quarts of their soup with 6 copies of their recipe. One quart of each recipe is warmed up and shared at the party, and each guest goes home with 5 different quarts of soup to put in their freezer. I would suggest noting on the recipe if it freezes well or not. I’ve heard that cream based soups aren’t really freezer friendly. The hostess can provide a bread & cracker assortment and beverages, or make that potluck and assign each guest with something to bring. Enjoy a warm & cozy winter evening with good friends and good food … sounds wonderful to me 🙂

Have you ever been to this kind of party? Do you think you’d enjoy it? What kind of soup would you bring? Leave a comment & share your favorite recipe …

Burr ... Below Zero Temps

Visiting Minnesota During A Deep Freeze

My husband and I like to take weekend getaways whenever we can.  We believe its good for our relationship to get away from the regular routine of everyday life once in a while to reconnect with each other.

Granite Falls, Minnesota

Enjoying our visit to Granite Falls.

Last weekend we went to visit some friends in Granite Falls, Minnesota. It was a very long road trip … just over 9 hours each way. The weather was quite frigid, well below zero, but we managed to stay warm … think – layers, layers, layers 🙂

It was fun to spend time with old friends. They moved to Minnesota last July, and this was our first time seeing their new home. They are truly gracious hosts and great tour guides! We planned on having a relaxing, low-key visit and it really was. We enjoyed wonderful meals and long talks. We went to church and then shopped the stores in their small town . We played games and watched a movie, we saw Coach Ditka’s number be retired and saw the Bears win {gasp} on Monday Night Football. We even went bowling 🙂

Our plan is to go back next summer to visit and go to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove. The cast from Little House on the Prairie will be there in July … sounds like fun 🙂

All in all, it was a wonderful getaway and we look forward to visiting again.


A Reliable Vehicle

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11-13-13

November 13 ~ Today I am thankful to own a reliable vehicle. It’s not fancy or new, but it gets me where I need to go. I just take it for granted that I can just get in and go.

That thought really hit home for me this morning while I was out running some errands. I was sort of dreading going grocery shopping this morning because it was an awfully cold morning in the Chicago suburbs. As I was driving, I noticed 2 people riding bicycles and couldn’t imagine how cold they must be. On the way home from the store, I noticed a mom holding a little boys hand while waiting at the bus stop. She had quite a few grocery bags to carry while keeping her child safe. That sight made me feel guilty that I complain about wanting a newer car.

I am so blessed to have a reliable car … I don’t have to rely on riding a bike or depending on the different bus routes and schedules to get where I’m going. Grocery shopping was easy for me, my kids were safe in the shopping cart while I loaded my groceries in my car … no standing on corners waiting in all different kinds of weather … no carrying the heavy bags long distances … no transferring to other buses … my kids safely buckled into car seats for the short ride home. Yes, I am truly blessed to have reliable transportation and will try very hard not to take it for granted any longer.

♥ Today I am so very thankful to have a reliable vehicle ♥