My Kind of Town

Well…it’s OVER.  Not summer…just yet…but my very first presentation.  Lawdhavemercy. And this pretty much sums up my feelings about it all until I was finished…


Nervous would be an understatement.  But I did it…and I had a BLAST!!!  And I met SO many AMAZING educators!!!  Everyone was so sweet and they were even smiling at me as I rambled on and on.  I know I’m not funny, so they either felt really sorry for me or they were genuinely *enjoying* my little presentation.  To make myself feel better, I’ll go with the latter ;)

I wish I would’ve taken more pictures, but my nerves got the best of me.  I couldn’t even drink my latte!  I had to **friendly hijack** some of these from Instagram :)

See…look how sweet they are :)


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I can think of 100 things I want to do differently/better/not at all the next time, but I SO appreciate everyone’s sweet, smiling faces and kind words in Chicago!  Such a fun experience and I LOVED meeting so many sweet faces!!!!

I even got to attend Abby’s amazing presentation!!! And she rocked it…of course.  Love this girl!


A little post presentation lunch action. Grilled Cheese sandwiches on a Sunday afternoon on the patio…life doesn’t get much better! :)


Since Mr. Spouse and I haven’t traveled to a different state without the kids before, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to get away for a few days.  Praise Jesus for grandparents!  Mr. Spouse was quite the trooper.  He sat through my entire presentation and didn’t heckle me…I call that a success.  AND…he braved the streets of Chicago with me & Abby and didn’t complain while we spent the afternoon shopping.  We need more Chicago in our lives.

Wrinkles, anyone?!


We started every morning with one of these.  Y’all.  It’s 20 minutes to the nearest Starbuck’s where I live, so the fact that we had one in our hotel couldn’t be taken for granted.


We were definitely the ultimate tourists…minus the big double decker bus.  Who knows when we’ll ever be alone again, so we decided to make the most of it while we were there. 

Somehow Mr. Spouse talked me into braving the elevator ride at the John Hancock Observatory.  Nauseating and fun all in the same breath.  I have to say, the view of Chicago from 1160 ft. in the air is STUNNING!!!!

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We even made it over to Shedd Aquarium.  Ummmm…expensive…WOW.  We’ll be living on Ramen for the next few months.  But it was totally AMAZING!!!!shedd1

And look…we pet the sting rays!  SO fun!!!  This is the part where I felt totally guilty for having a good time without my kids.  Sigh.

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We were the ultimate tourists when we took an Untouchables tour of the city.  Not gonna lie…mob history completely fascinates us.  And it was awesome.


We even managed to treat ourselves to a 3D movie…that WASN’T animated!!!  And I didn’t fall asleep!  We saw World War Z and LOVED it. But now I’m totally freaked out about a zombie apocalypse and I’m just certain that’s how I’ll meet my demise.


When we weren’t sightseeing, we were eating.  I’m glad we walked everywhere because I consumed copious amounts of calories.  Between the deep dish pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, and hot dogs I was one happy camper.  Sure…everything is fitting extremely snug these days, but it was worth it.  Chicago’s got it goin’ on in the food department!

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Randomly, Mr. Spouse’s mom was visiting Chicago at the same time, so we got to meet up with her a few times for dinner.  Unexpected surprises are our favorite!We even met up with Mr. Spouse’s cousin and his wife for a little river side dinner…complete with a curious RAT.  I about DIED.


Needless to say, it was the **perfect** quick getaway with my favorite person. 


I’m happy to be home and am SO anxious to start getting ready for a new school year!!!  Throwback Thursday and Favorite Pins Friday will return this week, so if you’re still looking for a linky, stay tuned.  I’ll be back tomorrow to share some fun math ideas and activities I shared in Chicago!  Can’t wait!!  Have a great day!


  1. Looks like you had a GREAT time! There is nothing more nerve racking than presenting in front of a bunch of people. I always pretend I am a lot more confident than I am. If you pretend long enough, sometimes it really does make you confident.

    The Math Maniac

  2. So glad IL and Chicago was good to you. I love the entire mob history here in IL ....The rats not so much.....I think I would have passed out ...

  3. Looks like a great time! I love Chicago!
    Did you use your 'teacher card' to get a discount at the Shedd Aquarium? It helps bring down the cost a bit.
    K&C C Love Grade 3

  4. You about summed up Chicago in this post -- I'm from Northern Illinois: the picture of Portillo's made me smile. Glad you liked our little city by the lake. I think it is pretty awesome! I am so sad that I missed hearing you and Abby speak; hopefully you will come back again!

    Bitty Bilinguals

  5. Ahhhh! You were there the same week we were there for my wedding! Darn it! I'm glad you had such a great time! The Shedd does offer a teacher discount, and it's pretty cheap when applied and covers basically ALL of the attractions in the building (or at least did when we went last summer!)


  6. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time enjoying Chicago! I only wish I could have attended your session!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  7. Looks like you had a great time!

  8. I'm sure you rocked your presentation :) World War Z is terrifying! Glad you had a good trip!

  9. Looks like you had an terrific time! Next time you'll have to eat at the Signature Room at the 95th in the John Hancock building. Fabulous food and amazing views!
    One Happy Teacher

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  11. It looks like you had a great time! I wish I could have heard you speak. I love all of your ideas and products. Thank you for all that you do.

    Ms Richards's Musings

  12. You are as cute as can be! Makes me miss Chicago and some of my favorite friends!!!

  13. I love Chi-town!! And that is one of my favorite sayings "long-tailed cat in room full of rockin' chairs!"

  14. My family visited Chicago last summer and went to lots of the same places! We did the double decker bus tours, went to Wrigley Field, shopped,and toured Shedd Aquarium! I loved every single second! We stayed downtown at the Hilton Chicago and walked most places. I walked the two blocks to Starbucks every morning! :) Your post makes me want to go back! PRONTO! :)


    Top Dog Teaching

  15. So glad we got to do it hand-in-hand!!! I wouldn't have wanted it any other way! Love you <3 <3 <3

  16. I love your post! Chicago was totally amazing. You recapped it quite well. Renee and I did do the double decker bus (totally worth it) and we also consumed way too many calories...but you can get away with it when you walk everywhere, right? ;0) Your presentation was definitely a highlight for us and for so many!

    I am trying to process all of the great information from the conference and wrap my mind around getting back to school! YIKES! My classroom is totally insane right now! I can't wait to start getting it back in shape for my new group of Firsties!!

    Good luck getting it all ready!

    Friendly Froggies

  17. I'm sure your presentation was great! Your photos are definitely making me miss Chicago and all my friends and family back home. The Shedd Aquarium is the best!

  18. I'm sure your presentation was fabulous! It looks like you had fun!

    A Sunny Day in First Grade

  19. What a great trip! Glad you got to see and do so much while you were there - I just love Chicago! & I'm sure your presentation was fantastic. I would have loved to see you & Abby speak!

  20. Could you be any more adorable?!? Really!

  21. I love Chicago!! It sounds like you had a great time!!!! :)

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  22. One thing I know for sure is that husbands of teachers have the super power of patience! Mine has put up with me and all my teacher stuff for 27 years!

  23. What a wonderful trip you had. CHiCAGO and BOSTON are my two favorite cities.

  24. How cool is that?! Congrats Cara!!! I'm a big fan!!! I'm do happy for you!!!

  25. OMG! That's me! On your blog!! This just made my whole week!!!!

  26. You are just the best! That is all!

  27. Your chevron dress in the picture with your husband is ADORABLE!!! Where did you get it?

  28. Wish I could have went to Chicago! Would love to see you! Maybe next year you can present at I teach k! Leigh Ann

  29. I love all of your clothes! Sounds like you had a great time in Chicago presenting and touring with your hubby. It's always nice to get away from the kids for a little while. Praise God for grandparents!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
    Follow me on Bloglovin!

  30. Looks like you had TOO much fun! It's always great to get away for awhile. Since you are a "professional speaker" and all now, you should speak somewhere in the Houston area!

    For the Love of First Grade

  31. You are just beyond words precious! Feeling a wee bit jealous of those that got to see you, Abby, and Kim. Each one of you is a HUGE blessing to more people than you will ever be able to imagine!

    I agree that you need to present somewhere in Texas because I am a chicken when it comes to flying on a plane...hmm, my brain is now thinking of cocks in your kitchen. Hehehehehe!

    Love ya friend!

    Heather's Heart

  32. I have to give a "Boiler Up" to your husband- lovin' the Purdue shirt! That's where I went to school :) Glad you had so much fun in Chicago!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad