Taking Chicago By Storm

Let me just tell y’all…last weekend *might* have been the most fun I’ve had in a LONG while.  I *finally* got to put voices to these sweet faces that I’ve been chit- chatting with for months now!! 

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Cheryl from Primary Graffiti

Abby from The Inspired Apple

Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants

Kim Adsit from The Kinder Gals

Lindsey from the Teacher Wife

Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Kathleen from Growing Kinders

Michelle from Fabulous in First

Sarah from First Grader... At Last!

Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class

Amy from Step Into Second Grade

Hope from Second Grade Shenanigans

Erica from Erica Bohrer's First Grade

Amanda from One Extra Degree

Hands down, some of the sweetest, funniest, most INSPIRATIONAL women you’ll ever meet!!!  These ladies knock my socks off with their creative ideas on the daily.  They are even more precious in person than they are on their blogs!!

We decided to throw our sweet friend, Amy, a *surprise* baby{ish} shower somewhere in the middle.  After a few back & forth discussions…and me insisting that Texas is DEFINITELY in the middle…we decided on Chicago :)  My kind of town, for sure.  I must love these ladies somethin’ fierce because I flew.  ALL.BY.MY.SELF.  I try to stay out of the air as often as possible.  I asked Mr. Spouse if it would be possible for me to drive and he looked at me like I lost my mind.  But I was totally being serious.  Flying and frogs are two fears I’ve yet to conquer.  Anywho….

Here are just a few snapshots of us taking Chicago by storm.  I’m sure the folks who lived there were all, “Dang tourists!!!!”  I’ve never seen so many cameras!  HA!!!  But there’s no such thing as too many memories :)

We started the weekend showering sweet Amy.  She was surprised to say the least.  She is beyond precious!!!   I wish I would’ve gotten more pictures!!!!  The cookies were insanely amazing and the sole reason I gained a good 20lbs. on this trip.  Sweet Lindsey made those darling favor boxes with her Silhouette, y’all!!  SO cute!  And sweet Sarah made those little wishes for baby girl.  Presh. 


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That’s one big ‘ol couch full of cuteness & creativity right there!


FINALLY got to meet THE Sarah Cooley!!!!  I was beside myself!  Hers was the first teaching blog I ever read.  She is DARLING!!!  LOVE this girl!!photo (99)

Cuteness around every corner.  These girls are just as fun as they are precious!

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HOPE!!!  My cute little necklace twin :)


After Amy’s shower, we headed out to walk the streets of Chi Town and do as many tourist-y things as we possibly could fit in.  I kept telling everyone that I felt like such a “big girl”…y’know, being in a big city all by myself without Mr. Spouse.  Kinda awesome.  We did as much standing around as we did walking :)

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Of course, no momentary pause in walking could end without a token group pic…

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left to right, TOP:  Amanda, Kathleen, Abby, Rachelle, Kim, Hope, Michelle, & DeeDee;  BOTTOM:  Sarah, ME, Cheryl, Deanna, Lindsey, Amy, & Erica

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After LOTS of walking…and too many photo ops to count…we headed to Millenium Park to see the “Bean”.  Fun stuff, people!!!  I’ve been to Chicago a few times before, but I had NO clue this was here!!!  I gotta say…being a tourist is pretty dang fun!



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Free Diet Coke?!?!  Yes, please!  Alright, alright.  Truth be told, I was thirsty as all get out. About 3 sips in, I was BEGGING for a regular, sugar laden COKE {from Sonic, of course!}  No such luck…shoo!!!


As precious as these ladies are, PLEASE look at the trees behind them.  Y’all..they’re PRETTY!!!  Like, REAL fall trees!!!!!!  Ohmiword..I’ve NEVER seen a REAL fall tree before!!!  SO many different colors!!!  Here in Texas, our fall trees are either green{ish} or dead brown…crunchy and not cute.  Chicago in the fall is BEAUTIFUL!!!!  And so are these pretty girls ;)chicago28 copy

Love these girls!

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After a quick little rest, we headed in the direction of Navy Pier…and got lost.  But quickly found our way…after a run-in with a scary elevator.  Oh my.  I fell in LOVE.  I’ve never been to Navy Pier!!!!  I’m gonna need one of those here in Texas…STAT!!


McDonald’s fries and ice cream?!?!  Don’t mind if we do.  There might have been some dipping action {fries into the ice cream} goin’ on…just sayin’.  Best.day.ever!!!!!  So happy Hope was my partner in {food} crime ;)

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We were pretty much spent after a day FULL of walking…and eating. So it was back to the hotel for a little rest…and then more eating {of course!}  The next day was our last day.  Pretty fast & furious!!!  So we ended our trip with a nice, big breakfast together and then parted ways…SAD!!!!!!!!

Aaaahhhh!!!  Deedee & Kathleen!!  Love, love, LOVE!!!!  I walked the catwalk with my roomies, Abby & Michelle….LOVE them, too!!!!

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Rachelle, Abby, & Amy…a trifecta of amazingness!  And ohmiword…I LOVE Kathleen!!!  She was SO fun to talk to!!!!  And y’all…she goes to recess in ZERO degree weather!!!!  Wha?!?!?  I’m freaking out if I’m outside when it’s below 80!  HA!!!  Bless her heart ;)

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These girls are the CUTEST!!!  I could’ve talked to them ALL dang day!!  And I’m pretty sure I talked their ears off…I’m sure they’re happy to be home and away from all my *chit-chat* :)  Rachelle was a hoot! SO stinkin’ cute!!  And Erica is about the tiniest, cutest little thing…her accent made me smile!!  She could totally live on the Jersey Shore {minus Snooki & The Situation, of course}.  LOVED her!  And Kim…y’all...KIM.  She is a GENIUS!!  I wanted to put her in my pocket and bring her home with me!!! Just precious!


I thank the Lord every day for blessing me with these friendships.  These ladies have become an ear to listen {they just *get it*, y’know?!}, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with {and about!  HA!}, and someone to pray with {& for, of course!}.  Can’t tell y’all how much I cherish these women.  God is pretty awesome like that, isn’t He?! 

I think Mr. Spouse was pretty jealous.  Notsomuch because he missed out on all the girl bonding, but that man LOVES Chicago.  I sure am grateful he decided to opt out of this one and stay home to help my mom take care of the boys.  And not to make any of you jealous, but I definitely got these little pretties as homecoming gifts from my boys…bless their sweet little spirits!!!!!  HA!


OH gosh…do I have OLD hands?!??  I promise I’ll be back with an educational post this weekend!!  Thanks for letting me relive my weekend away from reality!  Hope y’all have a great rest of the week!!!


  1. LOVE you SOOOO much :) Thanks for the amazing memories!

  2. Hooray for a girls weekend...and so much fun to meet up with your bloggy friends! My husband and I got engaged on Navy Pier during the fireworks. :) Chicago is an amazing city!
    Funky First Grade Fun

  3. BEYOND jealous!!!!! One day I'll join that Motley Crew!! :)
    Looks like it was a blast. I feel ya on the Fall trees. Being from FL, it's a RARE thing to see!

    Beg, Borrow, Steal

  4. Thanks for sharing all the fun you had!! Lucky you! Lucky them!!! Amy :)

  5. Hands down THE BEST girls weekend ever!XOXO

  6. Looks like SO SO SO SO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fun In First

  7. I'm so jealous! Especially of the fall trees! I'm from Texas too, though I can't wait for it to get below 80 for longer than two days in a row!

  8. Sooo loved reading this post!!! Glad you had sooo much fun, ladies!!
    Growing Firsties

  9. I was telling my husband over the weekend how jealous I was that all the celebrity teacher bloggers were in Chicago! If only I lived there and could have just bumped into you all ;)

  10. Looks like y'all had a blast! You should check out the Submarine in Galveston! It's a big hit with the boys! Mine loved it!

    The Teacher's Treasure Chest

  11. Looks like fun! I've never been to Chicago, but it looks like an amazing city!

    PS: Your "old hands" comment made me LOL... and NO, YOU DON'T HAVE THEM! ;) haha...


  12. I love everything about this post and YOU! As always, you take the BEST pictures :)

  13. Your boots are super cute and look SOOO comfy! Can I ask what brand they are? :)

  14. I dream and pray I will be as good of a teacher as you are! I constantly check your blog and store on TpT! I am always thinking {and dreaming} of new ideas for my little kindergarteners! Nothing ever prepares you for the 1st year of teaching! WOWIE! SO busy and stressful but reading your blog keeps me grounded.

  15. I am just sayin' that if I had known you were gonna be in Chicago, I would have personally been your photographer and tour guide! Love y'all from afar, what you do, what you create, and what you share has made me a better educator! So glad y'all had fun in my neck of the woods!

  16. So I secretly stalk your blog every week and when I saw you were in Chicago I about died because I live here! If I would have known I would have taken my husband (also a teacher) on a mission to find you downtown and tell you thank you for all of the wonderful projects and ideas I get from your blog! I rave about you and Abby all the time! I am glad you enjoyed Chicago in the fall...it is beautiful here at that time of year, which is exactly why my husband and I got married in October. Thanks again for all the great ideas! Next time you are in town let us bloggers know! We can give you gret tips on local restaurants and places to go...

  17. OMG, the photos are so adorable! You ladies looked like you had so much fun, I wish I was fly on the wall to hear all of the amazing converstaions that must have taken place!

  18. Love you, Cara! Chicago was so much fun. I'm so glad that we all got to finally spend some "real" time together rather than just "chit-chatting" From afar!!!

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  20. Soooo....I just got in from working out...need I say more??? I loved our "food bonding"...just sayin'! :) Love you, Cara Carroll!!!!

  21. looks and sounds like lots of fun.
    I can't believe you've never seen a real fall tree! so glad you got to see it in real life.
    I live in Florida now, but I am from New York originally--so I at least have the memories.
    Did you jump in a pile of leaves? that is hands down, the MOST fun thing about Fall.
    take care,

  22. Oh Cara, you all are soooooo stinkin' adorable! You know, Denver is within driving distance {hint hint} - I'm throwing the Mile High City in the hat for the next meet-up.
    You gals are my heroes and I would love to meet you someday!
    Ms. Solano's Kindergarten

  23. I'm looking at your post for like the umpteenth time today, and I'm loving how you and I are all cuddled up in that picture of us with Michelle! We are always camera-ready, ha!

  24. AHHHH! Cara! I just love you!!! I am SO happy I finally got to meet your sweet self!! Your pictures of everyone are a-mazing!

  25. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you! :) It was so nice meeting you IRL and storming Chicago together. :)

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  27. I am soooooo bummed after reading this post, I can't believe all my favorite teacher bloggers were in my town, minutes away from my house and I didn't get to see you all. Your blog and many of theirs have been truly inspirational and has helped me teach amazing lessons and activities to my first graders here in Chicago. You all are impacting students across our country. Look like you all had a fab time in Chicago, and I could have directed or brought you a Sonic Coke, lol.....God Bless..keep sharing, its making us all better. Sad I missed u all :(

    First Grade Journal

  28. Looks like a fantastic weekend! All of you gals are so cute :)

  29. LOVE McD's fries and ice cream together! Sweet, salty, hot, and cold all in one bite- PERFECT. :) Happy I'm not the only weirdo to love that combination.

    Looks like you had a blast!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  30. Looks like so much fun! I am jealous! Has your House Hunters episode aired yet?

  31. Cara, so glad ya'll had such a great time. Sittin here watcha ya on House Hunters. Fun, fun.
    Primary Paradise

  32. Oh my word, that is a whole lotta AMAZING girls in one place!!!

  33. Simply one word...JEALOUS! All my favorite bloggers in one place! Looks like a great weekend! Good for all of you!!!

  34. OH MY GOODNESS!! You are FINALLY on House Hunters!!! I can't wait to watch it, but I had to jump on and tell you, IL has CARA CARROLL!! Yippee

  35. Recess at 0 degrees, oh my! It was 58 in TX yesterday and I DEBATED going outside, lol!

    This post was a fun read! You all are so inspiring and look like a fun bunch too! I'm still secretly hoping you'll put together a Texas Meet- Up! I've never flown, but would definitely *LOVE* to make the drive to meet my bloggy inspiration...!!!

    Mrs. Dwyer’s A+ Firsties

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  37. OMG.... You guys are so so adorable and such an inspiration to my team and I!! Thank you for all of your hard work and ideas!! You are all so creative and I am truely blessed by what you share! THANK you Thank you Thank you!!!

    Thank you for sharing your fun filled girls get-away!! I'm joining with the others when I say that I would LOVE to meet up with all of you teacher bloggers out there! Let me know if any of you are ever in Florida or looking to come down here for a visit!

  38. wow..looks like you had such a great time. I am just starting to blog, so I hope to build some real friendships like that as well. Glad you had fun..and hney, your hands ain;t nothin' about old!

  39. I love these pictures!! I miss Chicago!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. I am so stinkin jealous!!! I want to join y'alls WONDERFUL group!!!! Looks like you guys had LOTS of fun!! :)


  41. Hi Cara!

    I go on your blog often and I must say you are an amazing teacher! I am a teacher in Northwest Indiana. I really enjoyed reading your posts about Chicago as we live about 50 minutes from the city. My husband works downtown there! We often joke about what it would be like to live in Texas as some family friends of ours just moved there! Anyway, just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading about your classroom!


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