Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend with my parents

Last weekend my parents came to visit.  It’s been quite a while since their last visit probably almost a year.  When I have visitors, I like to have some activities planned to keep us occupied and that way I get to go out and explore more of the area. 

Although my mom told me they would be arriving by 11, as in typical my mom fashion, they arrived almost an hour late.  Then she tried to blame it on my dad, of course I saw right through that.  We still had time to catch the tail end of the Arlington Heights farmer’s market.  We snacked on some muffins while we bought enough vegetables to feed me for a weeks (no really, there are still some remaining in my fridge). 

I had something planned for Sunday, but we were still looking for something to do on Saturday night.  After some internet searching and debating, I purchased the three of us tickets to an improv show at Laugh Out Loud Theater at Woodfield.  Since it was still pretty early in the afternoon, we headed out to do some shopping first.  My dad requested we go to Marshall’s because he needed new sweatshirts.  With hundreds of stores at our disposal and we chose to go to Marshall’s. I know.  But they have very affordable stuff and I honestly don’t care what I look like at work.  I got an awesome pair of tall brown boots!  We still had some time to waste, so we walked around Woodfield Mall for awhile.  Why is that place always so crowded?

The show we went to was entertaining.  Unfortunately we got tickets to the early show which is the “family friendly” show.  There were quite a few young kids attending so everything was kept very PG.  It was still funny and there was quite a bit of audience involvement.  I would definitely like to go back sometime to see the later show. 

Sunday was the big day to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  The weather turned out to be beautiful.  It was a little bit on the chilly side but the sun was shining and as long as we were walking, we stayed warm.

I took about 100 photos, but I won’t bore you with them all!  Although the gardens were gorgeous.  We spent several hours at the gardens and didn't even see all of the grounds.

In the fruit and vegetable garden area, they were hosting a Food Network cooking demonstration with Chef Nell Funk.  Nell made a great vegetable stew from lots of fresh produce she bought at the farmer’s market the day before.  The stew had a great bunch of vegetables including butternut squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, onions, and leeks, and was served over rice.  At the end of the presentation, we each received a sample and a canvas bag with several freebies-magazine, dish soap samples, and a coupon for a free Minute Rice.  I will definitely be trying out a version of this stew this fall. 
We walked around the fruit and vegetable gardens for a while after the presentation.  One of the great things about the garden was they had a lot of informational signs up about how to care for your own garden and interesting facts about the produce. 
Their gardens still some excellent looking produce including this ginormous tomato.
The fruit and vegetable gardens were one of my favorite gardens. 
We also walked through the waterfall gardens.  I’m unsure of how many waterfalls there were in total, but some of them were quite impressive.
I have a feeling that going to the Botanic Garden at different times of the year would result in a different experience each time as things come into and go out of season. 
The flowers were absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed walking the grounds. 
I loved that many of the exhibits were educational in nature like this vertical garden.
My parents both said they enjoyed the gardens as well.
I can’t wait till I am able to go back and explore more of the exhibits.

It was getting pretty late in the afternoon and my parent’s were getting eager to get back on the road to get back home.  Apparently they don’t like my method of leaving super late and getting home at 11 pm and collapsing into bed without unpacking anything.  But we did squeeze in one last meal at Lou Malnati’s.  I really enjoy a Chicago style pizza but only ever enjoy it when I have company.  We ordered a medium pizza and a salad for the three of us and I had leftovers for two days.  Sweet!

It was a great weekend with great company.  I love having my parent’s visit and can’t wait till they come back again. 

Do you have any great activities for your visitors?

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