Renata & Marcos, Chicago

This week, we’re going to meet a  sweet Brazilian family living in a small village near Chicago, Winnetka. Renata, 35 is stylist and photograph, and Marcos, 39, works for a credit card company. They have three girls : Carolina, 8, Manuela ,6, and Gabriela, 4. Before coming to Chicago two years and a half ago, they moved a lot and lived abroad for 12 years, experiencing life in big cities such as Madrid, London and Miami. 
Renata tells us about their family life in Winnetka, why they chose this place, what favourite activities at home are, and much more…
***

IN THE CITY

What do you like in your city?

I  feel this place is truly enchanting! There is something about this stunning old houses and this lovely way of living that you see only in movies, that fascinates me (talking about movies Home Alone was filmed here, and it truly shows how is life in Winnetka) . The houses have their garlands hung at the doors, and they change with the seasons. They are beautifully decorated and many of the houses have a lamp by the window or a wood swing hanging on the front yard three. On Summer, people leave their frontdoor open to let circulate the breeze.

We know all our neighbors and there is a sense of community that amazes me. People help each other. For example: A neighbor that gives you three bags of groceries to help you when you move in the house, a welcome party, a fresh picked flowers at your door, and more.

The kids are free… They walk, scooter and ride their bikes to school, to the park and to their friends’ house. I was raised in a big city and my childhood was completely different. The sense of freedom is really magical for me.

Besides, I love that we are really well located. We are half an hour from downtown Chicago,  a few blocks from the Lake Michigan… but we still can have a peaceful life full of nature walks.

It has been my first time experiencing living in an area that has really well defined seasons and I have been fascinated by each of them. The Spring is so magical! After a cold winter I love when you start seeing the changes, life getting back in the streets and beautiful bloomings growing. The  Summer is so much fun : the city fills up with so many attractions and the lake is always so full of life. The Fall and it’s fantastic colors, oh my! And the winter… (Can’t deny it’s a bit too long but it’s stunning) :  you learn to enjoy the life inside in a way that I never did before. I also love seeing all the houses decorated for Christmas : it feels like we live inside a snow globe or and enchanted fairytale.

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

Is it easy to live here when you’re a family?

This is the best place for families. When we were choosing a place to move I was feeling tempted to find a townhouse in downtown Chicago since the city offers you so much, but the slow living way of living would be impossible to have in a big city. 

What do you like doing with your kids in the city ?

We love doing picnics, nature walks, sledding, ice skating, skiing, canoeing, going to the beach, going to the Botanical Garden or to the Wagner Farm.

We also enjoy exploring Chicago, going to the zoo, to Planetarium, to the Conservatory, and to the amazing museums.

In which museums do you go with your children ?  

The Field Museum of Natural History  is one of my favorites to take the kids. It might be because life is such a miracle that I truly don’t get it that I like to have some type of answers. 

Also Museum of Science and Industry has lots of fun experiments that keep the kids  entertained.

We are members of Kohl Children’s Museum  because they offer so many fun activities through out the year and it’s a great place to go on cold days. We also love the Chicago Children’s Museum : we really have fun here!

 

Which places are family friendly in your city?

Chicago is full of kids friendly places. Especially in Summer,  the city offers so much for all sorts of ages. I feel amazed by the Zoo and once in a while I take the kids there. It’s so fun to have a free Zoo right in the center of the city. Ravinia, during Summer, also offers many concerts for adults and kids. We love doing picnic there and listening to some good music.

Chicago Botanical Garden is so beautiful, we go there all the time during the summer : they offer shows, many activities for the kids and they have the enchanted butterfly garden. Chicago is a place that you must visit once in your life! The city has a magical energy that is contagious!

 

One of our favorite activities during the winter is to take the kids to practice their skiing skills, I wouldn’t go to Chicago for a ski trip but we go a lot to Alpine Valley in Wisconsin to keep us entertained, and it’s only one hour drive.

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

In which restaurants or coffee shops do you often go with the kids?

Next to our house we usually go to Trifecta Grill, Guinhall, Food Stuff and Deer Path Inn. All these restaurants are at Northshore area.

When we are in Chicago we usually eat at Eataly, Butcher & The Burger or Summer House

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

**

AT HOME

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

What is your favorite  and easiest meal with children?

I can’t deny that this is not an easy question.  I’m not creative and when I change the menu, nobody eats. My kids basically eat the same thing everyday and the menu has rice, beans, grilled chicken or beef, vegetables, mashed or baked potatoes.  Sometimes plain pasta, alfredo pasta or garlic and oil.

The best thing that we did was to buy a propane grill and place it outside next to the kitchen door.. so I usually grill the vegetables and the meat. It made our life much easier, healthier and tasty too!

On recipe we all love is the  French onion soup.. that it’s a hit with my husband… I found it online a while ago on the Epicurius website.

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

When the weather is bad, what do your children enjoy doing at home ?  

They play all day! What I love about having three girls so close in age is that they entertain theirselves. They love to sing, play pretend to be, arts and crafts, dance. When they are together, they don’t  need anybody else… of course they love playdates but being only the three is very fun.

Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis
Credit photo : The Gelfis

What books do your kids love ?

Manuela loves all sorts of books. She can stay in her bed looking books for hours. Carolina is harder but she is learning to read and her favorites are…Elephant and Piggy  and Lost my name .

***

Many thanks to Renata for this wonderful interview, taking us into Winnetka’s everyday life! You can follow Renata’s adventures on Instagram where she’s got a beautiful account, or on her blog, The Gelfis.

See you next Monday for an article about slow Winter time : we’ll talk about books, candles, teas, skincare that help make Winter cosier at home…

Have a lovely week,

Emilie xx. 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *