Take A Walk in Her Shoes - A Must Attend!

I wanted to share with everyone a phenomenal opportunity to help woman in need (in McHenry County, Illinois) reach their goals through education.

For awhile now I have been volunteering for the Friends of McHenry County College Foundation. Specifically, I have been involved in helping plan the Take a Walk in Her Shoes Ball. The details are:

Take A Walk in Her Shoes Ball
March 19, 2010
7:30 p.m. to Midnight
Holiday Inn
Crystal Lake, IL

Reservations: $50 per person or $500 for table of 10

The concept of the Take a Walk in Her Shoes Ball highlights the personal journeys women take - shoes are symbolic of the steps we all take in our lives. Half of the proceeds raised at the Ball will be used to establish a scholarship called “Women in Transition.” Our scholarship recipients will receive funding at McHenry County College for:

• Educational costs
• Books
• Childcare
• Transportation, should any be required

Women who apply and receive the scholarship can use it for the College’s occupational career programs, certificate programs, associate’s degree programs or transfer programs. The other half of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of MCC Foundation efforts including the MCC Promise program.

To find out more information about this program or to attend, visit:

Even if you are not located in the area, this would be a great program to donate to. For more information, contact Kathrine Pfister, Development Coordinator, Friends of MCC Foundation, at (815) 479-7529.

New Year’s Resolution: Fall in Love with Your Freezer...Again!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions – among many, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it – is to really get back into freezer meal preparation (see In the Kitchen link). It makes a huge difference because: 1) we’re not scrambling for something to eat and then opting for Tommy’s (our favorite local hot dog joint when we get desperate, 2) it’s a healthier alternative to eating crap :) and 3) it’s great on the wallet; and as we all know, it’s rough out there right now with the economy, so every little bit counts.

So, I’ve been plowing through Internet sites and books at the library to add to my freezer meal binder (something I recommend – very handy). I’ll be posting the recipes shortly, as well as some PDFs of labels that I made that can be affixed to the freezer bag/container; the labels provide meal-day instructions for preparing the specific meal – this keeps your freezer organized and also let’s you know what the heck you have in your freezer – and it’s pretty amazing how quickly your freezer can go awry with various meats and meals forever disappearing into the freezer abyss!

Once I post a particular recipe, I’ll make note if there is a corresponding freezer label. If you would like to receive a particular label set, just email me your request with the name of the particular recipe and I will send you the file – my email address is located under the My Profile/Email - just click on View My Profile for my address.

Christmas 2009

Christmas was a wee-bit quiet this year: poor Larry developed bronchitis, which you know is something, because he never gets colds! On top of that the Chicago-area, in particular, Crystal Lake, got hit yet again with snow and ice. So we ended up missing the annual festivities at Brett and Carol’s and at Mom and Dad’s.

We improvised and had a lovely little celebration with Jack the Cat at home: opening our presents and watching It’s a Wonderful Life (albeit, with an obscene amount of commercials), having wine, cheese and snacks and avoiding the cold and snow.

Since we always do something for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the cupboards were bare – not really a situation you want to be in on Christmas – you want the day to be special and all the stores are closed – so you are out of luck if you did not prepare ahead of time. Luckily Brett gave Mom and Dad leftovers of the Christmas Eve feast for Larry and me - a lobster stew and mussels – my favorite! The meal was fabulous (thanks Brett!) and we ended up having a very nice Christmas, feast and all!

We, of course, missed being there for the Vassallo Christmas, celebrating when you are under the weather is never fun and the snow continuing to fall (read “dump”) made the staying at home the logical choice.

On Saturday, December 26th, we did manage to get out for a couple of hours for the May Family Christmas. The snow kept coming, ALL DAY, which made for an interesting ride to and from the party – we were just slip, sliding away.

That evening, although the snow accumulation made it look suspiciously like a blizzard, we did manage to see Scott and Gwen (who were in from NJ) for our annual holiday get together. We opted to stay local for dinner and opted for Cucina Bella Due. (www.cucinabellaalgonquin.com/) in downtown Crystal Lake. We’ve actually been there before with Scott and thought we’d try it again – it’s pretty good – but I think Larry and I are partial to Mia Francesca’s (www.miafrancesca.com) in Dundee – which is just plain YUM! But I digress…

Anyway, the restaurant was nicely decorated for the holidays and the food and wine hit he spot, but due to the weather (read “ridiculous accumulation of snowfall”) it was just our group of 4 and one there group. I initially thought this would put a slight damper on our evening, but not with us! We get to chatting and all hell breaks loose! Honestly, we could be hanging out at a 7-Eleven with Scott and Gwen and still gave a great time, but having wine and good food to boot doesn’t hurt!