Directions to the Glessner House

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi again,

Apparently I’m going for some sort of record on blog posts in a single day after not posting for months at a time…

Here are some directions to the Glessner House and a map which should be helpful for driving, walking or taking public transportation.  Remember to leave plenty of time for travel in case of weird weather.  The ceremony starts at 2:00PM so try and be there by at least 1:45PM .  Thanks!!

The Ceremony:  The Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie Ave, Chicago 60616

Glessner House Map

Glessner House is located on the southwest corner of Prairie Avenue and 18th Street. Prairie is 2 blocks east of Michigan Avenue. 18th Street is 2 miles south of downtown Chicago. The ceremony will take place in the historic coach house, on the west end of the building’s 18th Street (north) facade.

DRIVING/TAXI

From downtown or North Michigan Avenue: Take Michigan Avenue south to 18th Street (six blocks south of Roosevelt Road). Turn left (east) and go 1-1/2 blocks to the Glessner House.

Via Lake Shore Drive (from the North or South): Take LSD to the Roosevelt Road (12th Street) exit. Go west to the second stoplight at Indiana Avenue and turn left (south). (NOTE: DO NOT follow “Museum Campus Parking” signs at Columbus Drive) Continue six blocks south on Indiana Avenue to 18th Street. Turn left (east) and go 1/2 block to the Glessner House.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

From Downtown take the University Park Metra train from the Randolph St. station (on Randolph just north of Millennium Park) and get off at 18th Street.  Walk across the footbridge toward Calumet Ave and turn right.  Follow the road until it turns into 18th Street.  The Glessner House will be on your left.

Hope this helps!!

Website Updates

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi all,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have updated the Wedding Website with current hotel prices as well as information about the new reception location.  So please, when you get a chance check it out.  The address is:

http://web.me.com/mwiddicks/Widdicks_Wedding/Welcome.html

To get on you must log in with the user name: widdicks  and password: wedding.

Cheers!

Reception update!!!

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Glessner HouseHi all,

I know I’m terrible about writing on here, but I thought this was important enough to send you all emails, post on the website and post on the blog.  We had a minor disaster a few weeks ago when our reception venue pulled out on us (how rude!).  Everything has been sorted but it required some rejigging.  The plan is now:

Everyone arrives at the ceremony site as planned for a 2:00PM ceremony.

However, now we will be having the reception in the same room as the ceremony (The Coach House of the Glessner House).  Since we no longer have to travel, we will be starting the reception at 4 or 4:30 instead of 5.

We figure the ceremony will end around 3 and that will give everyone around an hour to entertain themselves while we move all the chairs and set up the tables for the reception.  Its not ideal, but it will have to do.  There is a really nice park behind the Glessner House for people to walk around if they want.  There are also several museums and attractions near by (check out the wedding website) within walking distance.  Finally, if you don’t fancy braving the cold at all you’re welcome just to stay in the Coach House and watch everyone set up.

Sorry for the change in plans, but I actually think this will be logistically easier for everyone.

See you all in January (if not before!) :-)

Children in Chicago

•August 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi all,

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, but now that the wedding is fast approaching there are a few things I wanted to mention for our potential guests.

We have had a few concerned parents asking us recently what they can do to entertain their children in Chicago while there for the wedding.  I’ve done some research and found several websites listing family-friendly activities in the Chicago metro area.  Additionally, many of the museums have children’s exhibits.  I have updated the sights section to include the family friendly destinations and I will list them all here with brief descriptions as well.

Lists of family friendly Chicago activities:

Chicago Kids – A comprehensive list of family-friendly activities and attractions in the Chicago metro area

Alpha-mom Blog – A blog listing 50 activities to do with your children in Chicago. Some of them are for older kids, but many of them would be fun for younger children as well.

Family friendly attractions (addresses and maps for these attractions can be found in the sights section of the wedding website) :

Chicago Children’s Museum- Smack dab in the middle of navy pier, Chicago Children’s Museum is the place for preschoolers as well as for children up to age 10. While seasonal changes do occur permanent hands-on exhibits include Dinosaur Expedition which re-creates an expedition to the Sahara, and a dig for the bones of Suchomimus, a Saharan dinosaur and Kovler Family Climbing Schooner, a towering three story schooner with three floors of rigging which allows kids to travel to the ocean’s bottom and see topical fish and to the tip-top and racing through the rope-like tubes. There is also a mini urban adventure center known as Kidstown, which provides a toddler-scale community with grocery store, gas station and school.

The Chicago Historical Society – Time travel with your kids. The Chicago Historical Society is an active place where young children are allowed to climb aboard a twelve-ton locomotive. Activities change daily with craft demonstrations, creative history tales and opportunities to explore the hands-on gallery. You can’t miss the Sensing Chicago exhibit which allows kids to explore the sights and sounds of the city. They can ride a high-wheel bicycle, be a Chicago- style hot dog, discover history though smell at the Smell Map, plus much more.

The Shedd Aquarium – Enjoy a few hours under water. John G. Shedd Aquarium is a grand fish bowl perched on the shore of Lake Michigan – a blast for all ages. Located within walking distance of the Natural History Museum it is a nice complement to a day at the lakeshore. The staff has created a series of action plans to help parents enjoy the museum with their children. The themed “Ten Fun Finds” include things for tots, animal games, all about sharks, thing to make me hungry, and the best dressed at the Shedd. Each tour plan includes a high resolution map which may be downloaded from home.

The Brookfield Zoo – Try an animal encounter. The city boasts two zoos, each with a distinctive personality and both great choices for families. Brookfield Zoo – the larger of the two- is located west of the city about 15 miles. The state of the art complex has more than 20 exhibits and animal houses with butterflies, dolphins, and pachyderms. In habitats designed to replicate nature. The “Tropic World” recreates environments of the rainforests on three continents. The “Fragile Kingdom” imagines the desert, jungle, and mountainous regions. There is also an area dedicated to the sea as well as a Children’s Zoo which includes a petting zoo. During the winter months the Motor Safari becomes the “Snow Ball Express” with a heated version

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – This unique museum aspires to inspire people to learn about and care for nature and the environment. The exhibitions and public programs foster green living. Feature exhibits include Lawn Nation, about America’s love-hate relationship with lawns as well as a huge outdoor exhibit called the Greening Project. More remarkable and rewarding to share with children is the Butterfly Haven a 2,700 square-foot greenhouse with – you guessed it butterflies. Nearly 1,000 chrysalides arrive each week and each day new butterflies are released into the greenhouse. Enjoy a Hands-on-Habitat exhibit which is both hands-on and, body-on for naturalists ages 3 to 7. During the warm weather months take part in a garden gnome hunt in and around the grounds. Each day at 11a.m. join others in a half-hour discovery tour and explore the exciting world of animals and plants large and small. This guided play program for young learners and caregivers provides plenty of interaction.

The Museum of Science and Industry – If there is time for only one museum The Museum of Science and Industry is the one. It is a museum mall with a contemporary amphitheater rotunda and many interactive experiences. Just riding the escalator is a blast for most little ones. Exhibits include the U-505, the only German submarine in the US, a Coal Mine, and Smart House. Bonus points: Don’t miss Colleen Moore’s Fairytale Castle -a miniature fairytale castle donated by silent film star Colleen Moore. It includes tiny hand-painted murals and paintings by Walt Disney himself, tiny chandeliers adored with actually diamonds, the world’s tiniest printed bible.

The Adler Planetarium- Picture the universe without leaving the city. The first Friday night each month Adler Planetarium invites visitors to go “far Out” and view the moon, and the drama of the night ski through a 20-inch telescope that is connected to a large screen with a closed circuit monitor. To allow children younger than six years of age to also experience the sky’s wonder the planetarium conducts afternoon programs on Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors may also view Nergy, the solar car, on display from Northwesten University. Your family might also enjoy a show in the newly renovated 3-D Universe Theatre.

The Field Museum of Natural History – There is a lot to see and do for children at the Field Museum:
Nature Walk- A good exhibit for smaller kids is the nature walk exhibit. Follow the boardwalk around the display cases on the first floor to see a taxidermist’s dream. All kinds of animal and plant life are represented here. Each display case has at least one sign asking kids to find the objects inside, making it a big I-Spy game. For example, can your kids spot the 7 butterflies, 1 rabbit, or 2 birds? Some of the items are big and easy to spot, and some are more challenging, making it a fun game for all ages.
Evolving Planet- The Evolving Planet exhibit upstairs is another one you won’t want to miss. Enter at the north end of the Upper Level and find yourself transported back in time. Follow along the exhibits as you see the different forms of life that called Earth home, and then learn about the great extinction events that whittled down lifeforms on Earth to minuscule numbers, before rebounding again with new creatures. Take some time to explore the many skeletons in the Dinosaur Hall. Compare the size of your hand, head, and bodies to early hominids, including Lucy, recreated from 3 million-year-old bones found in Ethiopia. And be sure to pause to see the digital clock counting down the great extinction going on now, with 40 species going extinct every day.
Crown Family PlayLab- Newly opened in the fall of 2007 is a play lab for children in the Ground Level. This area is best suited to children under the age of 8. The Illinois Woodland is a big hit. A forest-like area includes dress-up clothes for kids to be woodland animals. Listen to the sounds of the forest at night and in the day. Or head to the Pueblo, where kids can harvest the corn and grind it into cornmeal. At the Dino Lab the kids can dig for their own dinosaur bone and identify what part of the dinosaur they’ve found.

I hope this list (which is obviously not comprehensive) helps some of you feel more confident about entertaining your little ones in the city.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. We’re always happy to help!

Cookies!!

•March 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

Now I know this has nothing to do with our wedding (although I suspect it might be the reason Martin has agreed to marry me) but I’ve been asked several times lately to post the recipe for my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  Yes, it seems that I make the world’s best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  Everyone needs a skill, right?  Now if only I could figure out a way to get rich off it.  Hmmm.   Well, for now give it a try and see what you think!

Eggless Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (good for vegans if you use margarine instead of butter!)

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

80 g applesauce (British applesauce is thicker than US applesauce so any Yanks may need to adjust this amount until you get the correct consistency) & 2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups oatmeal, old fashioned or quick

1 cup raisins

 Directions:

1. heat oven to 350F/180C (or 170C for fan oven)

2. Beat margarine and sugars until creamy.

3. Add applesauce and oil (or eggs) and vanilla; beat well.

4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well.

5. Stir in oats and raisins, mix well.

6. Drop by rounded tlbs. onto ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake for about 14 or 15 minutes until golden brown.

8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack.

Honeymoon

•March 4, 2009 • 2 Comments

Usually Martin and I love planning trips and vacations.  It makes for a great evening in.  We make a nice cup of tea, snuggle up with a blanket and play around on travel websites all night.  However, we’ve been finding the concept of planning our honeymoon daunting.  Unlike any other trip this really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing (well, hopefully).  This fact puts extra pressure on any and every decision we make.  Thus, we’ve been struggling with indecisiveness.  

Despite our honeymoon mental planning block we do have a few ideas that I thought I’d throw out there to see what everyone thinks.  

First, we’re thinking Central America (since it will be January we are a bit limited for warm weather) and are leaning heavily toward Costa Rica.  We like the fact that it not only has nice sunbathing beaches and luxurious hotels, but that the country is largely covered in nature reserves and has a whole host of interesting wildlife.  For example, you can see both Capybaras and Blue-footed Boobies in Costa Rica (which if any of you have known me since I was a kid are two of my favorite animals!)

The next challenge is to figure out where to stay.  At the moment we’re thinking of splitting our time between a really luxurious (but ungodly expensive) resort/spa and a more affordable and natural hotel.  We’ve discovered that the Arenas Del Mar (http://www.arenasdelmar.com/)  resort has a suite (the most expensive, of course) that has its very own Jacuzzi on a private balcony that overlooks the rain forest and sunset.  Sounds fantastic until you wake up one day with a couple of monkeys in your hot tub, but hey, that’s all part of the experience.

arenas del mar

Another nice thing about Arenas Del Mar is that it sits right next to Manuel Antonio National Park.  Apparently you can walk there along the beach from outside the hotel.  Its supposed to be one of the most popular and beautiful places in Costa Rica.  Not too shabby.  We  figure that even for an important life step like a honeymoon we can only afford two nights in this room.  So we’ll take the best room and then move out to somewhere where our kind belong.

The next place we’ve found is also near Manuel Antonio (we like the idea of the rain forest more than the fancy beaches).  Its called La Posada (http://www.laposadajungle.com/)  and is a collection of small jungle bungalows.  Its run by a friendly American couple and has some resident deer and monkeys that hang around the grounds.  Every night the owners of the hotel play movies and make home made pizzas for the guests.  They also help arrange outings and excursions into the jungle such as horseback riding, canopy zip-lining, bird watching, boat trips, and more (YES, please!)

parrot room at la posadaThe  rooms are significantly less fancy, but it sounds to us like the atmosphere is much more relaxed and homey.  I imagine its the kind of place you might make friends, rather than the first place where we’ll be lucky if the rest of the guests will even speak to us.  I supposed it all just depends on what you want from a honeymoon.  Some people might prefer the first place because of the fact that people will leave you alone and you can simply enjoy your time there in peace.  Others would want a chance to make friends and enjoy social activities and maybe even meet other couples there on their honeymoon.  We’ve gone for the safe option and hedged our bets by trying both.

We really do love both places we’ve selected, but there are so many others to choose from that I’m not sure we’ll ever feel 100% sure about any choice.  Then there are the questions about whether we should take more advantage of being in that area of the world.  Should we take an extra week and go to the Galapagos?  That’s (obviously) more expensive, but it might be worth thinking about.  The options are mind boggling.

Our other (not that we need any more indecision) problem is when to take our honeymoon.  The traditionalist (and Martin) would say that you should go right after you get married, which would be fine if we weren’t having the wedding 6000 miles away from our house.  As it is, we will have already been away from home and the dogs for at least 2 weeks and then we would have to take another 10 days or so to go on the honeymoon.  I want to enjoy myself completely and I could be missing my boys (sad I know) too much by then to really relax.  Plus, where do we leave the dogs since everyone we know will be in the US for our wedding?  

The other option is to wait and then go on the honeymoon a few months later.  This might give us more time to plan and save money, but then of course we’d be back in Britain making any thoughts of Costa Rica a little more challenging.  It would probably cost us 3 times as much just to get there.  Not to mention the 12 hour flight.  Ugh.  

I realize, of course, that in the great scheme of things these are not real problems.  I’m mostly just mentioning them to see whether anyone has any advice or wisdom to pass along.  So have a browse through the websites and let us know what you think!

We have a venue! Drum roll please…

•February 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

 

This is the ceremony venue.  Imagine it with white chairs and white aisle, and lots of candles and flowers...

This is the ceremony venue. Imagine it with white chairs and white aisle, and lots of candles and flowers...

 

Its official (well, nearly official) we have a ceremony site and a reception venue!  

We will be holding the ceremony at around 2pm in the Coach House of the Glessner House (http://www.glessnerhouse.org) near the lake just south of Chicago (near the planetarium, for anyone who knows the city).  The house is really pretty.  Its a historic house/museum that was designed and built by a well known architect whose work influenced  Frank Lloyd Wright.  To me it kind of looks like a castle.  We are renting out the old stable (which sounds tacky, but its actually very pretty).  It has white stone or brick walls and old exposed beams on the ceiling.  Its plain, but with the right decorating it is going to be perfect!  Plus, I’m hoping it will snow so we can get some  wintery pictures in the courtyard behind the house.  

 

I'm crossing my fingers for a lovely blanket of snow!

I'm crossing my fingers for a lovely blanket of snow!

The reception is still going to be at The Redhead Piano bar.  For those of you who don’t know, this is where Martin and I had our first official date.  Its  probably my favorite place in Chicago and I’m so excited that we are getting to have the wedding there.  We will be renting out the party room next to the main bar (we’ll have our own separate entrance) where will will have our very own waitress(es) to serve from the main bar.  We will also be hiring one of the resident pianists to play for a couple hours after dinner.  

 

This was the guy playing the first time Martin and I went to the Redhead.  We'll try and get him for the wedding!

This was the guy playing the first time Martin and I went to the Redhead. We'll try and get him for the wedding!

The great thing about holding the reception at The Redhead (aside from the splendid piano rock) is that when the reception is over at around 1:00AM we can all just move over to the main bar which stays open until 4:00AM.  Party on, dudes!!  

So we’re pretty excited about all the planning so far.  I’ve also found a couple possible florists as well as probably the greatest website of all time: http://www.Save-on-crafts.com.  On this website I’ve found everything I could ever want to make all the decorations, centerpieces, accessories, favors, etc. for the wedding and when I priced up everything I could think of wanting it was only like $300.  God bless America…sometimes.  If you ever need to plan any party or function you MUST check out this site.  They have everything you could need at wholesale prices, plus loads of suggestions and how-to guides to help you create the look you want.  Maybe I shouldn’t give away this secret.  Then you will all think I’m a decorating genius when the wedding arrives.  Hmmm.  I guess its too late now.

So here we are, just under a year before the wedding, and I’m actually running out of things to do.  I’m sure I’ll find something to stress about.  But for now, I’m just excited!!!

 
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