Things to Do - Visit Your Parents for Thanksgiving

(As a little boy my grandfather played with the truck and blocks pictured above. T loved playing with them as well, so I guess some toys truly are timeless).

Every other year, we load up the minivan and make the 700 mile trek from Arlington, VA to the southwest suburbs of Chicago, IL (a.k.a my hometown) to visit my parents for the holidays (they visit us on the off years). Before children, a twelve hour drive would have seemed like no big deal, but now it is quite the ordeal. Luckily, my husband attended undergrad in Cleveland, so we break the drive into two days by staying with some of his college friends for the night. (We also stop at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, which I cannot say enough good things about).

My parents have lived in the same house for approximately 40 years now and my mom is somewhat of a packrat (plus she works in a second hand shop**). I always enjoy coming home and seeing the little vignettes she makes everywhere, mingling old stuff with new. And I'm always curious to see what part of the last decade my parents have chosen to adopt - for example, I'm typing this on a Dell computer circa 1999, while my children watch a VHS version of The Rescuers on my grandfather's old tv circa 1989 (the cable conversion was tough for my parents), but in the kitchen a brand new stainless steal microwave sits next to a top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid mixer. Further, the bathroom sink remains bright seventies green, while the front porch has been completely redone and has these adorable hanging glass mobiles in the bushes next to it [obviously, this blog doesn't operate in real time, I often write post and publish them a few weeks later]. I decided to spend a morning taking photos of my parents' house, my own version of Selby style. My mom worries that I'm poking fun at her, so if you get a chance please assure her that this is all done with love.

**If you live in or are visiting the South Suburbs of Chicago, I highly suggest checking out and/or donating to Neat Repeats, the thrift store where my mom works. They have tons of great stuff (esp. kids' toys and clothes) and ALL the proceeds go to help victims of domestic violence. The recession hit charities pretty hard and this is a great way to help a great cause.



*I can't stop looking at these beautiful photos. I might even buy one, they're seriously amazing. The fact that the photographer is 15 just blows me away.

*I really like these do-it-yourself bleached out t-shirts. A great (and easy) Xmas present idea.

*SouleMama's gratitude advent garland is such a beautiful idea. What a wonderful way to celebrate the days leading up to Xmas.

*Who doesn't love a ball? Every time you buy one of these stitchless, non-deflating balls the program donates an identical ball to a needy child in a UN hot spot, conflict zone, or refugee camp (via Ready Made). So you can give and get at the same time.

*I just discovered this wonderful child photographer. Aren't the images priceless?

*For those of you who love great indie music, my good friend and fellow blogger, Laurie, just made a great mix. Listen to it here.

*If you've ever wondered how toddlers and Mary Jane would mix, read this post, it's pretty funny (link courtesy of Being5).

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