Hello there! I'm Jenn. I live in the western suburbs of Chicago with my brewer husband, Dennis; son, Weston; our dog, Knox; and our two cats, Toulouse and Zazoo. (That's us at the bottom of the screen). An archaeologist (I don't dig dinosaurs!) and environmentalist by trade, I spend my workdays trying to make this world a better place by balancing the growth of our energy needs with the need to protect open space and historic properties. I spend most of my evenings and days off with my little man and my husband doing anything but relaxing (much to my husband’s chagrin). I am an outdoor enthusiast, realistic environmentalist, animal lover, and lifelong learner. I try to maintain a minimalist lifestyle (except for my closet full of shoes and overflowing craft shelves) and am continually looking for ways to make my life simpler, healthier, and more environmentally friendly.

The outdoors is my Church and I can't get enough! I love being outside and I truly believe in the connection between humans and their environment. My son hasn’t changed the way I look at the world, but he has changed the way I feel about it. He has given me a love deeper than I could have ever imagined and with that a need to help create a better future for him and his generation. Part of this includes exposing him to as much of the outdoors as possible. Part of this is purely for my own benefit: the longer we are outside, the longer he's not tearing about our house! The other part is so that he truly understands how everything is connected as well as the value of nature and what came before.

When I moved back home after living out West for a while, Dennis and I were constantly craving good hiking and outdoor adventure.  We started exploring and when talking to our friends, we realized that not a lot of people know about all the cool stuff to do around here!  So I decided to start this blog. We live in a beautiful part of the country and I hope to share some of what I discover with you along this journey and inspire you to create your own adventures and memories with your family. #midwestisbest

For information on local nature centers, hiking trails, and camping spots, check out ADVENTURE.

For fun activities and green living tips check out ACTIVITIES AND TIPS. 

I love doing this, but it takes time and resources. If you like what I'm doing here and are in a position to do so, please consider donating to keep the website going. I hate pop-up ads and ads that show up in the middle of posts and ads that are trying to sell you stuff you will probably never need and I never plan to have those things on the site. Yes, from time to time I do link to products, gear, and companies that I like and I may receive a small commission if you decide to purchase something, but that's pretty small. So if you can, I greatly appreciate it. And if you can't - no worries! I'm just happy you are here!  You can DONATE HERE.




All photography provided by Jennifer Abplanalp