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Friday, December 21, 2012

Two Personal Projects After Sandy Hook

Photo from window of Morlen Sinoway Atelier in Fulton Market, Chicago.

Hello reader: In a very round about way I am going to tell you about a book group the Evanston Public Library is starting. If you want to avoid my talk about raising boys to not shoot their peers, scroll to the bottom of this post where the book group info is.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings there have been numerous discussions about the type of parents Adam Lanza had, specifically the type of mother given that he lived with her after his parent's divorce. Was she nurturing? Didn't she see how reclusive her son was and why train him to use weapons?

As we think about the type of parents who raise killers like Adam Lanza, we also look at the type of man Adam was. Just yesterday I read something in, Adam Lanza: America’s crisis of masculinity personified, that made me think deeply about the kind of boys we are raising in America. We are raising boys who are killing one another from the streets of Evanston to the schools of Sandy Hook. Why are our boys killing?

As I think about these questions, I find myself turning a critical eye to my parenting practices (my husband and I are raising two boys) and it occurs to me that I don't lend enough intellectual energy to my parenting of two boys. I am a very reactive and emotional parent, and read very little about the emotional development and social needs of my boys. Could this approach be part of the problem of parenting in America? We’re all too reactive and worried about the wrong things, like if our children like us?

Whatever the answer, I am committing to two things in reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy; I will become a more conscious parent of boys and men. (Of course lucky for me (and you) Evanston Public Library has an outlet for this change, a book group for parents raising boys. I'm in and you can join too, see the info below.)

Additionally, I am going to advocate that our elected officials change the law and ban assault weapons and demand background checks on all gun purchasing and licensing.

I am by no means Adam Lanza’s mother (click here to read I am Adam Lanza’s Mother by Liza Long), but I have two boys and should do my personal best to make sure they become men who are stewards of this earth and the people on it.

Here is information on Evanston Public Library's book club for raising boys;

Event Type: Family
Age Group(s): Family, Teen
Date: 1/31/2013
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 8:15 PM

In this book group for parents of boys from toddler to 8th grade, we will read quality children's/YA literature featuring fully-realized boy characters, discuss the story and its characters and discuss how the story relates to our experiences raising our boys. Co-led by Jarrett Dapier, a young adult librarian and father and Betty Mac Kune Karrer, a former family systems therapist at Northwestern University, this book group gives parents a chance to understand boys better and learn strategies for giving boys the support they need to flourish. Our first book will be JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY. Please pick up your copy at the children's desk once you've registered. BOTH PARENTS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND (though not required).
Library: Main Library Google Map

Location: Children's Public Conference Room (First Floor)
Status: Openings

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Whole Foods sells coffee for $4.99!

During the healthy eating challenge at Whole Foods, I got a tour of the store from one of the WF team members, Bridget. Apparently you can ask for a tour anytime to learn about sales and where the deals are.

I asked Bridget about coffee on my tour as normally I could count on spending $14 a bag at WF. She pointed out a whole section of coffee I had never seen and introduced me to this gem for under $5!

This is our new house coffee and it's delicious. Thanks for saving me a ton on coffee WF, now I can buy the booze that FEW Spirits sells across the street.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CTA Holiday Train Stops at Dempster Today!

Holiday Train Schedule
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Purple Line (Shuttle & Express)
The CTA Holiday Train will operate on the Purple Line from about 3:40pm to about 6:30pm.

  • The train will make one shuttle trip from Howard to Linden
  • The train will make one express trip from Linden to the Loop, and back
  • The train will make one shutle trip from Linden to Howard
  • See Purple Line Route Guide for more on regular service and route information.

    Click here for the times.

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Dec. 19: FEW Spirits Tour N Pour


    The next Few Tour N Pour will be next Wednesday the 19th from 5-7pm (tour will start at 6 p.m.) here at the distillery. Come in for a holiday cocktail or two. The merriment is free.

    Click here to learn more about Evanston's distillery.

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Today: Free small cone at Andy's Custards

    Happy Holidays from Andy’s Custard

    December 13 is FREE cone day!

    Order a small vanilla or chocolate cone and it’s free! 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Andy’s locations.

    719 Church Street
    Evanston, IL 60201
    (847) 864-8009

    Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl responds to third shooting in Evanston in less than two weeks

    The series of violent acts that have occurred in Evanston over the last couple of weeks are unacceptable. While we grieve with our local families over their losses, the entire Evanston community has been shaken. Our children are concerned for their safety and all residents are questioning this unusual period of events.

    The circumstances of these violent acts are well known to the Evanston Police Department and are being vigorously investigated by EPD and our local law enforcement partners. This recent violence involves a continuing dispute between two extended families that have ties to gang related violence. EPD is using all available resources to apprehend those responsible. These investigations are being conducted in such a manner to insure those responsible are brought to justice.

    We have too many guns in this community. We must work together to get guns off the street through buy-back programs and other means until local jurisdictions have the authority to enact real gun control legislation.

    I have every confidence that Police Chief Eddington and members of the Evanston Police Department are doing what is required to end this period of violence and to keep all of us in Evanston safe.


    Elizabeth Tisdahl

    Click here for the latest news story from Evanston Patch on the shooting of a 23-year-old Javar Bamberg.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre to Hold Auditions Dec. 17

    From the City of Evanston website:

    December 11, 2012
    Media Contact: Martha Logan
    Phone: 847/448-8041

    Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre to Hold Auditions Dec. 17

    EVANSTON, IL - The City of Evanston's Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre will hold auditions on December 17 for its summer 2013 play, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough." The theatre is looking to cast African American women 18-50 years of age.

    Auditions will take place at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Studio 223, 927 Noyes St., Evanston. Auditions will start at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 17. Actors should bring a headshot and resume and be prepared to present a one- to two-minute monologue.

    Rehearsals will take place from May 13 through June 6, 2013. The play will preview on June 7 and performances will take place June 8-23. All rehearsals and performances will be held at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. For more information or to make an interview appointment, please call 847/448-8260 and ask for Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre.

    Click here for more information

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Enter to win a $100 Gift Certificate for Whole Foods and take the Healthy Eating Challenge!

    Thanks to the support of Evanston Newbie readers and my very supportive family, we survived the Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge, but we spent more than $100 of groceries in a week. If the challenge budget was $150, we would have WON! But there are no losers really in this challenge considering everyone walks away well fed and a little bit smarter about navigating the neighborhood Whole Foods.

    What pushed us over the $100 spending goal for a week of groceries? Our addiction to protein! It is much more cost effective to be a vegetarian and tons more cost effective to be a vegan - but in our house, protein rules, especially during dinner.

    One fantastic feature that kept us on track was the Whole Foods Daily Deal, pictured here, where each day of the week, an item is up to 30% off. We bought a roasted chicken for $6.99 and where one other blogger who participated in the challenge said the chicken lasted her family at least two meals, we polished it off in one. Maybe we could also try to eat less.

    One thing I didn't do a good job of was posting recipes on this blog during the challenge but I blame the time I was spending shopping as I did the challenge daily, and went into Whole Foods searching for flash sales on a regular basis. We scored some amazing New York steaks and delicious boneless pork chops.

    In appreciation of all your support and enthusiasm, I am giving away a $100 gift certificate to Whole Foods to anyone who can recommend the best tip on eating on a budget. And "plan, plan, plan" can't be the answer. Post your tip here in the reply section or via email at I'll post the winning reply and let you know how to redeem your gift certificate.

    Also a big thanks to the team over at Whole Foods Evanston South. You are a very kind and friendly staff and I appreciate you answering my 900 questions about food and sales and food prep!

    Happy healthy eating!

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Dec. 10: Rough Magic, a glorious Winter Celebration at Next Theatre

    From the Rough Magic Facebook Invite:

    On the evening of Monday December 10th, please join us for a special night of Rough Magic at Next Theatre!

    Rough Magic is a celebration of creative abundance. A one night only performance by Chicago’s theater community and an opportunity to learn about and give to local, national and international organizations who are practicing daring, inspired, creative innovation for good.

    This December's Rough Magic will be a glorious Winter Celebration at Next Theatre, with readings of holiday stories and music by Next Theatre actors, including Mary Ann Thebus, Polly Noonan, Erik Hellman, Alex Goodrich and others, in an evening directed by Michael Rohd. Enjoy cheap art, live music and delicious home baked treats!

    In addition, we will celebrate three local organizations who are using the human power of creative thinking, storytelling and hard work to meaningful and inspired effect in the world. We'll give a vivid snapshot of The Moran Center, The Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, and Evanston Scholars. What kind of innovation inspires us? Who can make best use of a gift of resources? Every guest can choose exactly where they'd like their $10 to go! At the end of the night we'll see how much we've raised by celebrating the season together.

    This will be a very special evening. Here's what you need to know: Monday December 10th, Next Theatre at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston IL 60201

    7 PM: Celebration space opens with art, music, and home-baked treats. 7:30 PM: Performance.

    $10 (CASH VASTLY PREFERRED), all to be given to an Evanston organization dedicated to CREATIVE INNOVATION FOR GOOD.

    Come celebrate!

    Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge Update: Be your own fruit cutter and save!

    We're three days into the healthy food challenge and although we're spending a little more than $1.19 a meal, things are going well. Oh and I lost a pound, so I love this challenge! Here's a full update:

    I have always defined "rich" by two factors; you are rich if you own things you don't use on a daily basis and you are rich if you pay people to do things for you. Period. It's that simple for me. Rich people have second homes, third vehicles, nannies, fruit cutters. Fruit cutters? That's right, fruit cutters. A rich person pays someone to cut their fruit.

    Why am I thinking about who can afford to get their fruit cut? Because containers of chopped up fruit that cost upwards of $7 have long been the reason I considered Whole Foods to be way too pricey for me and my family. Who shops at a store that sells $7 containers of chopped cantaloupe? Rich people. Only a rich person would buy a container of chopped fruit with the whole fruit on sale for 1/2 the price only inches away. And I'm not rich and therefor shouldn't expose myself to such consumer insanity!

    But in the last several days, I've spent several hours trolling my local Whole Foods searching for Daily Deals and Savings so that I can compete and win at the $100 Healthy Food Challenge my family is taking. And most of the time I've spent in the produce section, trying to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for daily consumption. Pink Lady apples have been on sale for $1.99 a pound and we've had our share of those. I also bought fruit cocktail in a can with light syrup for snacks in lunches at $1.49 a can but it's not the same.

    So I found myself looking at cantaloupe which were on sale this week, two for $6. (One great thing about Whole Foods is you don't have to buy both to get a 2 for 1 deal, you can just buy one.) $6 on cantaloupe seemed pricey, but my children love all fresh fruit, so I knew it would get eaten. But $6 is almost 10% of the budget for the week and that seemed liked a bad spending decision. But my children love all fresh fruit, even if it's out of season.

    As I was doing the math and making up my mind about spending $6 on fresh fruit (I wanted two), the rows and rows of freshly cut and colorful fruits in nice plastic containers were all standing and staring at me from their happy refrigerated shelf. And in the five minutes I stood in front of them at least five people waltzed buy and threw one or two of the containers of fruit in their carts and moved along. How nonchalantly they made their decision to spend $7 on chopped fruit while I racked my brain for savings options.

    I ended up throwing two cantaloupes in my cart and moving on to the frozen food section where I got two tilapia fillets for $2.99 (score) and frozen organic peas ($1.20) and left the store feeling good about my spending decisions.

    When I got home, I was faced with the task of fruit cutting - how was I going to squeeze in 15 minutes of fruit cutting before the fruit went bad? I couldn't risk waiting and like a maniac went into a fruit chopping frenzy, cut up both cantaloupes and put them in a plastic container and threw them in the fridge. We ate cantaloupe for several days with three meals, served on the side in a little 1/4 cup portion. Yummy.

    Because we're tracking each meal so closely, here is the cost of just one dinner with cantaloupe as a side; If I divide up the $6 over three meals for four people, the cantaloupe comes to .50 cents a serving per person. And the tilapia is about .75 per serving and the frozen peas are .30 cents. A meal of tilapia, cantaloupe and peas is $1.54 person, which is pretty close to the $1.19 per meal per person I've got to spend to make $100 last 84 meals.

    If I had purchased the chopped up cantaloupe for $7 (which would have lasted two meals, not three) the servings would have cost .87 cents and this meal would have cost me at least .37 cents more per person, $1.91 per meal, $1.48 more total. Is $1.48 going to break my bank? Not necessarily! After all the thinking, I cut my own fruit and the reward is I saved money for my family and I became a more conscientious spender, consumer and chef (at least for that meal).

    If Whole Foods wants to provide merchandise for a range of people, from those on a budget to those without, good for them. Both shoppers go home with organic fruit that is pesticide free. That's all that should matter - healthy eating. I'll worry about the problem that my two cantaloupes used 9,000 gallons of fossil fuel flying from some country near the equator just to get to my table in December later! First things first!


    Starting Monday, December 3, my family is taking the Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge, where we eat healthy food from Whole Foods for a week and spend only $100. Check back throughout the week to see how the Ford family is doing with the challenge. I’ll post news and information on how we’re shopping and budgeting and how my children and husband are doing.

    Lastly but not leastly, at the end of the challenge, there will be a $100 Whole Foods gift card giveaway for readers of this blog (that means YOU) so be sure to keep reading.

    Oh and if you have any recipes that total $1 per person, made up of healthy ingredients, please post them in the reply section or email me at

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Dec. 9: Curt's Cafe Celebrates Three Evanston Author's New Books

    From Curt's Cafe Invite:

    Saturday, Dec. 9
    9 - 10 a.m.
    Coffee and Hang
    2922 Central Street
    Evanston, Illinois 60201

    10 - 11 a.m.
    Three new Evanston residents will talk about their recently released books:
    (great opportunity to buy last minute Holiday gifts)

    Ken Krimstein
    New Yorker Cartoonist
    Kvetch as Kvetch Can...Jewish Cartoons

    Mark Ingwer, Ph.D.
    (Curt's Cafe's very own Advisory Board Member)
    Empathetic Marketing: How to Satisfy the 6 Core Emotional Needs of Your Customers

    Sarah Aronson
    Head Case (A Young Adult Novel) & Beyond Lucky (readers 9-14)

    11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    Cartoon Caption Contest

    (winner takes all....the leftover bagels and, of course, the claim to fame)

    We will supply the Bagels and Coffee, you can bring your own mug!

    RSVP by email please to

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Evanston Newbie and Family take the $100 Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge

    Starting Monday, December 3, my family is taking the Whole Foods Healthy Eating Challenge, where we eat healthy food from Whole Foods for a week and spend only $100.

    My older son already laid down the law, “if I’m still hungry after we eat a healthy meal, I’m going to keep eating.” And my husband already asked “just how much are going to cheat on this?” My younger son, by far the biggest eater in the family, is totally against the challenge as a concept let alone our family taking it.

    We’re all convinced we can eat healthy food for every meal, but spending only $100 on 84 meals will only leave us miserable and hungry. Our perception of healthy eating is that it leaves you starving, not that it’s expensive.

    In fact when Bridget from Whole Foods South in Evanston invited me to take the challenge and to post the results on my blog, I was shocked! Here’s the email reply I sent: Yes I am interested in the challenge BUT how do you know how much my family eats? Bridget assured me there were no family size stipulations and that plenty of other bloggers had taken the challenge and done well! In fact I will be using recipes from several other bloggers who took the challenge (an survived) and will make sure to credit them when I post the recipes later in the week.

    But really, is it feasible to feed a family of four on only $100 a week even if you don’t eat healthy? $100 per week breaks down to $1 a meal, per person according to my super awesome math skills; 3 meals a day/21 per week per person, total 84 meals (four people). $100 divided by 84 is $1.19 per meal per person.

    Because I am afraid we are going to be left hungry after every meal and that we are so going to cheat, I’m making a few rules.

    Ford Family Healthy Eating Challenge Rules:

  • The $100 budget does not include wine, juice, coffee or dessert after dinner
  • We will research other blogger’s tips and recipes
  • We will all try new foods
  • We will all be aware of the total cost of every meal
  • We will plan the weeks’ menu on Sunday, with everyone’s input
  • We will shop throughout the week to take full advantage of all the sales
  • We will have a positive attitude and be grateful for the food we eat
  • We will talk about the food’s nutritional value, origin, etc.
  • We will be grateful to Whole Foods and Bridgette for teaching us how to shop for the best deals and eat healthy, affordable meals
  • In our house, we don’t call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck”, we call it “rad” for it’s amazing cheese and wine and chocolate and more…we like Whole Foods, we just only shop there for select items and maybe only go there once a week. We avoid Whole Foods because we are bulk shoppers, making lots of trips to Cotsco for huge quantities of bacon and feta. We eat too much food, and we need to start eating less.

    Additionally, we eat food that isn’t ethically produced (my children haven’t seen images of slaughterhouses yet) and we rarely eat organic and or locally grown.

    So we’ve got two challenges as a family; eating too much and eating without ethics. Taking this healthy eating challenge will help us start down the path of eating healthier, but also eating with a conscious; moving us away from being volume-focused eaters to conscientious eaters.

    I am confident people can eat healthy and not go broke and I think Whole Food knows this too, which is why they’ve invited anyone with a big enough voice out there to take the challenge.

    Check back throughout the week to see how the Ford family is doing with the challenge. I’ll post news and information on how we’re shopping and budgeting and how my children and husband are doing.

    Lastly but not leastly, at the end of the challenge, there will be a $100 Whole Foods gift card giveaway for readers of this blog (that means YOU) so be sure to keep reading.

    Oh and if you have any recipes that total $1 per person, made up of healthy ingredients, please post them in the reply section or email me at