Day 4 of Christmas fun is brought to you by a great group of moms (and dads) working to organize the 2019 Advent Market at Saint Clement School on Sunday, December 8th from 9am to 12:30pm! The Saint Clement School and Parish are a wonderful community hosting this event to bring family and friends together to celebrate the Christmas season. Come and join the fun - all are welcome! Not only is this an opportunity to meet Saint Clement parishioners and families, several local artists and retailers will be at the market on Sunday selling great items that may be the perfect gift for someone on your Christmas list! You can even take care of your holiday decorating needs and buy Christmas greenery and flowers (even your tree!). Kids will have a great time jumping in the bouncy houses, making crafts, and visiting Santa for a photo. And so you don’t get hangry while having all this fun, there will be light breakfast items for sale and a bake sale. Hope to see you on Sunday!
Coming home for Christmas: Why you need to go to The Dock at Inwood and why it is like a Hallmark Christmas movie!
The Dock at Inwood restaurant and bar will celebrate their one-year anniversary this Christmas time on December 20th which is fitting for owners and brothers, Rick and Mike Trafton and their wives, Julie and Melissa. Opening The Dock at Inwood was all about coming home. Their story could be a Christmas Hallmark Channel movie! Tony and I moved back home to Joliet last year with our twins because we wanted to be closer to our parents, friends, and this amazing community. Rick had a restaurant in New Lenox, the Charleston back in 2007 and learned the restaurant and bar business during tough economic times. He then had The Dock Rotz in Minooka and gained more experience about what makes a restaurant and bar special. When the space became available at Inwood last year, Rick knew it was time to come home, just like a Hallmark movie.
Rick and Mike wanted to create a warm atmosphere where family, friends, sports teams, community partners, and colleagues could gather. I asked Rick about they unique location with the skating rink and he shared that the hockey families are awesome and are all in! The park district team has become like family. They opened up walls and enhanced the interior. In the spring, I would run on the treadmill at Inwood and watched The Dock patio transform and expand. This summer it was so great to see the patio packed with softball players and locals enjoying great food, great camaraderie, and great sunsets. I loved seeing the vibrant art added to the patio walls. I learned that not only was Nicki Schultz a fantastic manager for The Dock, she was a gifted artist and did all the patio designs and artwork by hand. She also decorated the restaurant windows for the holidays! So highly talented!
I asked Rick why they came home and picked this location. He talked about how Mike and he were retired Joliet cops and how this community is so important to them. They knew the could create a restaurant that provided a great product with outstanding service and have an opportunity to help the many non-profit organizations in the area. Rick and Mike knew first-hand how hard the non-profit organizations work in Joliet and Will County to help so many people in need. Rick talked about how with The Dock they had an opportunity to provide a way for groups to fundraiser in a different way. He knew that often the same people are donating and supporting the many causes that serve our community and that it would be nice to have another opportunity to make an impact.
I had already seen on Facebook the great Shop for a Cop event last week that raised $2,060! Rick shared that Big Brothers Big Sisters were at The Dock Tuesday night for a fundraiser and had Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrity bartenders! So heartwarming how The Dock team is helping so many organizations raise money that will help so many people during the holiday season and beyond. What great heart and great impact! Check out The Dock Facebook page for upcoming charity events and activities!
It was clear to me that Rick and Mike care deeply about our community but what about the food and drinks? I had been to The Dock a few times and was impressed with the menu. I told Rick I wanted to order the guilt-less goad pizza because it was so good and showed a great healthy option. He shared that they tried to have something for every age and range of healthy to indulgent. I asked a ton of questions about the menu and learned that they enhanced and reorganized the menu about six months ago. Everything is made from scratch except for the iconic Milano bread, of course. The salmon salad was the most ordered salad! I think the BBQ is the best in the area and I even got to go in the kitchen to check out the smoker and meet the fantastic kitchen team! The dry rub on the pork the night before delivers incredible results. We all like a great deal and the weekday $5.00 lunch menu is great! The chicken tenders are the top seller and be sure to get the special mango habanero sauce! While I loved my pizza, Rick new best and had ordered the BB! pulled pork grilled cheese - whoa! This sandwich was amazing and you must order next time you are at The Dock!
The Messy Mommies love a good cocktail and in this case four! Rick told me about the epic Flight Deck margaritas and shared the punch card with me. Talk about festive - so many flavors and so cute! Rick, Mike and the amazing Dock team knew they needed a way to count the number of flights order. The result is a massive scoreboard that is hilarious and so fun! They have sold 6,171 flights since January! We can't wait to come back with our Messy Mommies tribe and try out the different flights! Come out to try the fantastic flights this holiday season and add to the scoreboard!
Back to why The Dock is like a Hallmark Christmas movie. As I chatted with Rick, he constantly was jumping up to cheerfully greet customers and it was straight out of a holiday movie. Shaking hands with current cops, chatting with a businessman who had ordered lunch for his co-workers, visiting with a group of women out celebrating the holidays, and joking with staff from the Park District. Mike was in constant motion and his holiday hustle was impressive! Nicki and and Angie were filled with holiday cheer as we talked about the restaurant, the warm community, and Mike learning to never touch the elf in the chandelier. The kitchen team swiftly worked their magic and was cheery as I was in awe of their talents. We even had a messy movie-like mishap as I spilled my Diet Coke all over the table and my laptop while trying to take pictures. Rick saved the day with my spill and continue our interview with good cheer. Throughout it all, he talked about how great it was for their families to bring this restaurant home to Joliet and how grateful they were to have an opportunity to help our community organizations in such a fun way. I'm sure I heard Christmas bells ringing in the background. Please support local, come visit Rick and Julie and Mike and Melissa and the fantastic team at The Dock and come out for the community events. The Messy Mommies will see you there! On Monday, Dec. 9 come to The Doc for Christmas cocktails and Milano cookie decorating! Merry Christmas!
The Dock at Inwood is located at 3000 West Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL. Remember The Dock for your holiday catering. Pick up a $50.00 gift certificate and receive a free $10.00 gift certificate!
Messy Mommies are excited to bring you day three of holiday inspiration! Candyality https://candyality.com is a must go to this holiday season and another great female owned business in our area! Terese McDonald, also known as the candy lady of Chicago and owner of Candyality, has some great gifts and stocking stuffers for your favorite people this holiday season!
I am so thrilled to highlight this local candy store again on our blog. Candyality is a very special place that has been open in Chicago since 2007! There are three great locations, and each store has its own personality:)! You can visit Chicago's candy store Candyality in the Southport Corridor, in Andersonville or on Michigan Avenue in Water Tower Place. Each store is amazing!
To get a sneak peek of the latest candy craze, Candy Charcuterie, tune in to catch Terese McDonald, our local candy celebrity, share some fun candy inspiration on Thursday, December 5th on Chicago's Very Own WGN9 @11:30am..
Next up, Terese will share her sweet ideas on Friday, December 6th on FOX @9:45am.
Just last week I ordered this latest craze of Candy Charcuterie! I stopped in one of my favorite Candyality locations, 3737 N Southport Avenue, where one of the wonderful gals who works in this shop greeted me with the most amazing candy board. I ordered this sweet treat to take to my daughter's teachers to snack on in between their parent-teacher conferences. Clarissa presented me with a festive creation of holiday sweetness! It was a big hit with all the middle school teachers - they loved the variety of treats! I highly recommend candy charcuterie for either a gift or to serve at your next gathering - so many candy options are available!!
Visit Candyality's website to find additional delicious and fun gift ideas for all the people on your gift giving list at https://candyality.com/product-category/gift-sets.
The Messy Mommies had a busy weekend. Meg and I loved celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday! We are grateful for the time we had with our family and friends to savor a wonderful meal, but most importantly enjoy the time with everyone! We also got to meet Sadie West of Posh West Boutique in Shorewood, Illinois. She is the energetic, creative owner of Posh West! She welcomed the Messy Mommies into her store and allowed us to host my first cookbook signing of Together on Sunday! Be sure to check out Posh West Boutique for your Cyber Monday shopping! We had a great time and loved seeing family and friends (old and new!). We also did a little Black Friday Shopping (against my wishes)!
Don't get me wrong, I do love to shop, just not on Black Friday. While I was in high school and college, I worked in retail to earn extra money for school. Because of working late nights, weekends and extra long hours during the holidays in retail, I now have no desire to go out shopping on Black Friday. However, having a tween who has been counting down the days until Black Friday, I had to change my tune. She has been saving her babysitting money and making lists of places to shop and items to look for in anticipation of Black Friday! She woke up early on Friday, got dressed and pulled her hair up into a pony tail ready to head to the shopping mall (Woodfield of all places, and yes, I drove her there!)
Living in Chicago surrounded by great shopping, the last place I wanted to be on Friday was in a mall. Of course wanting to spend the day with Eleanora, I too got up early and got ready to head to the mall. While I was happy to check out what some of the national retail stores had to offer this holiday season, I am trying to shop local and look for unique items that may excite my gift recipients.
For those of you who skipped the hubbub of being out with black Friday shoppers, but are ready to check out what Cyber Monday deals may be available, I want to highlight another amazing mom, Jennifer Bennett and her female founded online shop, Rey to Z, https://reytoz.com.
A friend of mine recently shared the Rey to Z website just in time to order gifts for the holidays! You'll find fun gift ideas for babies, tweens and adults! Rey to Z is a female founded, mama owned company in Chicago! These initial caps are awesome and perfect for our Cyber Monday Hair! If someone on your gift list would love a Letter Baseball Cap, use this discount code BLACKFRIYAY for 20% off your order. The hats are super cute, high quality and can be personalized! Check out Jennifer's darling pictures on her Instagram at @reytoz Happy shopping!
The Messy Mommies are gearing up for the holidays! We are so excited to share some special ideas for holiday inspiration! This holiday season we will highlight local businesses and strong women in our communities who work tirelessly (and sometimes what seems effortlessly) throughout the year to bring beauty, kindness, health, and happiness to our world. These wonderful women have pursued their passions spreading cheer along the way.
To kick off our holiday blogging and our 1st Day of Christmas, we want to highlight the inspiring Sadie West, business owner of Posh West Boutique located in Shorewood, Illinois. Posh is a special boutique offering stylish women's clothing and accessories. Just this past June, Posh went from being an online only shopping experience to this wonderful storefront location at 852 Sharp Drive in Shorewood.
Sadie is definitely a woman who has pursued her passion! Through hard work and loving dedication to her family, she has created a wonderful shopping experience within her community. Sadie is the mom of now teenage twin boys Jaden and Kale. Jaden has an immune deficiency called CVID which requires him to have monthly infusions to boost his immune system. Kale has an autism diagnosis which has a lot of underlying medical diagnoses fueling it. This family owned business allows Sadie to be home with her boys, to make sure their needs are being met by scheduling doctor/therapy/infusion appointments, etc. and to teach Jaden and Kale the skills needed to be more independent in their lives.
Like all moms, Sadie has things that pull her in many directions, but the love she has for her family is helping her thrive as a business woman in her community! And, we love her big heart and how she gives back to our community. Sadie is supporting Morningstar Mission with a food drive at Posh this weekend. You can shop with heart and help others in our community! Bring in your non perishable food items and paper products to help support Sadie and Morningstar Mission!
After you have had your fill of Thanksgiving turkey, gear up shopping fun over the weekend! Support Small Business Saturday on November 30th at Posh West Boutique and meet Sadie! Treat yourself to a new winter accessory or fun clothing item to wear this holiday season while you're there. You can also find so many great gifts under $25 for friends and family on your holiday shopping list! Posh looks so festive and will put you in the holiday spirit!
On Sunday, December 1st we are honored to be at Posh West Boutique to share Holly's cookbook, Together: Recipes to Bring Families and Friends to the Table. Thank you, Sadie for your big heart and warm welcome! We love women who support other women!
We love the heartwarming stories that accompany each of Holly's special recipes. Holly will share snacks and sips as well as have her cookbook available for purchase and signing. We would love to meet you all! So, head out on Sunday, December 1st from 11:30am-1:30pm to Posh West Boutique to meet Holly! Posh will be open Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st from 10:00 am-3:00pm.
If you can't make it out to the store, have no fear, you can shop online to tackle your holiday shopping list! Check out Posh West Boutique at https://poshwestboutique.com. Holly's cookbook is also available at https://www.blurb.com/b/9645370-together.
Thank you for helping us celebrate Sadie and her big heart! We love how she is supporting her family, our community, and is providing a posh place for us to shop!
Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving! We look forward to seeing you at Posh on Sunday, December 1st for snacks, sips, and shopping!
XOXO, Holly and Meg
We love fall and Halloween in our house and we were all in this year! We hit four packed pumpkin patches, an apple orchard, two Halloween parties, hit trunk or treat, and trick or treated on Halloween in a snow storm and again the next day in our neighborhood! October was epic! Sophia and Stella had a blast with their family and friends. I did too, but I am exhausted!
And, now it is November and Thanksgiving and Christmas are everywhere! I absolutely love the holidays but I'm not ready yet to be all in! Parent teacher conferences are barreling down, work is hectic, and the girls are already talking about Christmas lists! I need a recharge and some serious laughter! Thank goodness Cat & Nat will be at the Rialto in Joliet on Sunday! I am so excited and cannot wait to see these inspiring and hilarious gals in person.
I love listening to the Cat & Nat #momtruths podcasts! They are authentic, spot on about family, raising kids, and spending time with your girlfriends, and put things into perspective. Cat & Nat have also built a huge #momtruths community and help me realize we are all going through similar crazy things! The highly witty Cat & Nat are reassuring and uplifting. If you haven't listened, check out their podcasts now and their super funny YouTube #momtruths videos!
Cat & Nat recently talked with another great podcast momma from St. Louis - Jill Devine of Two Kids and a Career. Check out their chat too and you will be laughing all day!
I am so excited about Cat & Nat coming to Joliet that I had to do a quick shout out to these awesome moms!
You should follow Cat & Nat on Instagram and check out their Instagram Stories and videos! I love the behind the scenes videos of them getting ready for the shows! The bus videos are hilarious and props for the bus flips. You also see how down to earth they are, that they have an awesome team, and that they all love being together!
I'm so excited for the show and have to give a huge shout out to my awesome friend Colette for going with me! You are always up for an adventure and so appreciate you! We are also meeting up with our fellow Messy Mommy and amazing friend Kimmie and her sisters which will be so fun!
For all the #momtruth gals coming to the Rialto for the incredible Cat & Nat show here are a few tips!
Parking: use the parking deck on Ottawa Street, right across from the Rialto. If you park in the open lot directly across from the Rialto be sure to pay at the box - they give parking tickets!
Drinks: If you come early you can go to Harrah's Casino to gamble and for drinks! If you are looking for a cocktail and great Italian food, go to Juliet's Tavern which is just a few blocks from the Rialto. If a pint and great bar food is more your style, head over to Chicago Street Pub which is across the street and a few stores down from the Rialto.
The Rialto is a gorgeous, iconic theater and I know you all will love seeing Cat & Nat in this cool setting!
Cat & Nat, thanks for making us laugh and helping us realize it is all going to be ok! And, in fact, better than ok, with you gals and the #momtruths community it will all be amazing. Travel safe Can & Nat and see you soon in Joliet!
We love fall! From pumpkin patches to fall fests to date nights and parent teacher conferences, we all are busy running around with our families and friends! We love drinking pumpkin spice lattes, decorating for Halloween with the kids, and eating apple cider donuts. What we don't love is trying to figure out what to wear to all the fun fall events. So, we asked our fantastic friend and stylist, Sandhya Nair to curate four fun fall fashion looks for the Messy Mommies!
Hi! I’m Sandhya Nair, aka Sandy. I’m a mom of two amazing boys, who are 9 and 6. My husband is a computer engineer and we live in Shorewood, IL. I love helping people look and feel their best as a fashion designer and personal stylist. Previously, I owned an online clothing line for women. I do freelance designing for all occasions and do personal styling as well. My other interests are interiors, cooking, and sharing lessons on fashion and styling.
1. Parent Teacher Conferences
Now, since the kids are back in school, it doesn’t mean that moms grab a pumpkin spice latte and their favorite novel to sit back and enjoy. Moms are busy shuttling kids to school, sports and activities. And, it’s almost time for the parent-teacher conferences that we been anticipating. So, this look that I have put together will make you stylish and help show you take the parent-teacher conferences seriously. A turtleneck strip top with mauve pants and a plaid jacket is the number one look this fall. To complete the look, pair it with black pointy loafers and a taupe handbag.
2. Fall Festivals and School Fundraisers
Scarecrows, pumpkin painting, storytelling, beekeeping demos, and hayrides… yes, I’m talking about fall festivals! Why wear something super casual? You are there to have fun with your family and friends, then take a few minutes to look your best. You may also be attending the fall school fundraisers and this look is perfect for both events. This second fall look is curated with a turtleneck and a sleek pleated skirt with an army green jacket. The style statements to this look are ankle boots and a white handbag.
3. Date Night
Fall can be busy with school, activities, and sports for the kids. But, we need to make time for our spouses and close friends. How can we forget about a date night at the movies? This third fall look is to “hit the lights, sit back and relax.” You don’t have to compromise your look thinking that you are going to spend your time in the dark. Here’s what you should wear this fall to movie, a floral dress with a denim jacket and accessorize with a small bright shoulder bag. To add a fall spice to the look, wear your best pair of boots.
4. Fall Brunch
The final and the best fall look is the brunch look. Yes, it’s time to hang out with girlfriends and sip that apple cider sangria with some shrimp and grits. This is where you show off those fall colors. This look is curated with a grey statement sweater and beautiful bright floral skirt, accessorized with a bright red handbag and pair of soft red loafers. So rock these four looks this season which have been specially curated for all the beautiful, super moms out there.
Thanks to Sandhya for curating the four fun fall fashion looks for the Messy Mommies! We love your inspiration and insights into fall trends! We can't wait to hit the town this fall with our family and friends and try out your styling tips!
Please check out Sandhya's work and design style on Instagram at @fbmom2 and @aiynaatelier. Please contact Sandhya for personal styling and customize design clothing via Instagram.
Thanks Sandhya! And, we'll see you all at the pumpkin patch!
This is the time of year when many of us are finally settling into the routines that are sometimes missing during summer. My 7th grade daughter is back to dancing, playing volleyball and doing homework. With her back in school, I too am focused on doing things that were put aside during our summer fun.
My first self-published cookbook is ready and available for purchase at https://www.blurb.com/b/9645370-together! With fall slowly approaching, many of you may find yourselves at a welcome back to school potluck, tailgating, or hosting a "farewell to summer" party. Whether you are with a crowd or simply trying to decide what to have for dinner, I think you will find something to enjoy in my cookbook, TOGETHER: Recipes to Bring Family and Friends to the Table. I launched my book today on blurb.com. Be one of the first to purchase the book and let me know what you think!
Check out the recipe below for a sneak peak of some of the delicious food ideas you will find in
Together: Recipes to Bring Family and Friends to the Table
If you are heading to an apple orchard or getting apples while at the grocery store or a farmers market, you may be looking for a new way to enjoy those apples. I first enjoyed this Baked French Toast Casserole while working at Passow Elementary School in Franklin Park, Illinois. Laura, the school secretary during my time at the school, brought this casserole to one of our Friday Potlucks! You'll find this recipe and many others in my book Together!
2 loaves of French Bread
slice each loaf into 1 1⁄2” slices
8 large eggs
3 1⁄2 cups of milk
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons nutmeg
6 to 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon butter cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, stir together 1⁄2 cup of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Put sliced apples in a large bowl and pour sugar mixture over apples and stir. Line a 9x13 pan with bread slices; slices should fit tightly together. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, 1⁄2 cup of sugar and vanilla; whisk until blended. Pour half of the mixture over the bread slices. Next, top the bread with the apple slices. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the apples and dot with the butter pieces. Cover
with aluminum foil and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 ̊F for one hour, uncovered.
Let casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving. Eat plain or add maple syrup for extra sweetness!
While sitting in the school car pick-up line yesterday, I was scrolling through Instagram and was so excited when I saw the awesome news that a #IMOMSOHARD show will be coming to ABC! These hilarious moms, Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley get me and thousands of other moms! It was so fitting that I saw the news in the car pick-up line!
Kristin and Jen’s #IMOMSOHARD YouTube videos are so funny and spot on about the joys and challenges of being a mom. I absolutely loved their so funny and insight New York Time’s bestselling #IMOMSOHARD book. After crazy days with my high energy seven year-old twins, Sophia and Stella I would grab a glass of wine and unwind with laughter as I flipped through their honest, funny stories.
I’ve been in that crazy mode of packing everything into the end of summer with the girls and all the back-to-school chaos. I have this mental list of “when the girls are back in school I’m going too…” and watching the #IMOMSOHARD Live, an Amazon Original is on my list! I follow Kristin and Jen’s Instagram Stories and posts and they’ve been hinting that they have been working really hard and something magical was about to happen.
#IMOMSOHARD, Believe and Magic Will Happen
Kristin and Jen shared their big ABC news and the announcement in Variety in their Instagram post and it was so cool to see how their hard work and belief in humor and friendship has turned out in such a magical way. Walt Disney said, “Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.” I couldn’t help but smile as I knew Walt Disney would be thrilled that Kristin and Jen didn’t give up when their previous pilot wasn’t picked up. They kept at it, kept touring, kept making videos, kept writing, and kept making us laugh and feel connected.
Back to my "girls are back in school" list, I’m trying to start running again. So hard. I searched for a #IMOMSOHARD podcast and just listened to an interview with Jill Devine from Two Kids and A Career and Kristin and Jen as I ran. So funny, so real, and so encouraging. I loved how they discussed having a mom wolf pack, helping each other, and reaching out to others. There was also this funny moment when someone opened a door and was trying to have a side conversation during the podcast and they laughed at how life is always full of messy interruptions. I immediately cracked up as a few weeks ago I had to do an insurance conference call when the girls were home. I had fully bribed them with YouTube and snacks and shared that I just needed them to be quiet for 20 minutes while I did my call. The minute I said hello it was loud and chaos and I ended up doing the call in the kitchen panty where the girls also tried to come in.
I love the humor of Kristin and Jen but also love that they are humble and grateful. On the podcast they talked about juggling kids and travel. They shared that they believe it is really good for their sons and daughters to see them take this thing that was a complete surprise and do well with it and run with it. It is important for them to show their kids how they are committing to something that matters to them. They even took their kids on stage at a recent show so the kids could see the audience and how they are inspiring other moms. This is awesome. They also love late night cheese plates, I do too!
ABC & Disney You Are Awesome
I love that in this digital age there are so many more opportunities to share our messy stories and laugh together. Kristin and Jen have shared their stories one YouTube post, one live show, and one book at a time. I am so excited that ABC and Disney are now bringing their funny, encouraging, and spot on stories to TV. ABC and Disney understand the power of sharing stories to inspire us and bring us together. Thank you to ABC and Disney for believing in these funny gals and supporting their big dreams. We can’t wait to tune in and watch #IMOMSOHARD Kristin and Jen on ABC!
Order Holly's Together cookbook today!
We have your perfect present! Order Messy Mommy Holly's new cookbook, Together: Recipes to Bring Family and Friends to the Table for your family and friends! Order today at https://www.blurb.com/b/9645370-together
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