On Sunday, I posted about the new antique mall that appears to be the one we'll be frequenting now that we've shifted from Michigan to Wisconsin (despite the dude being a wingnut...).  In that post, I showed off the new "Vintage Christmas Motherlode", but have to say that there was a lot more there than I even took in during our visit.

And, as I mentioned, I did, indeed, buy something.  That's this metal paper roll holder.  It hold a 3.5" roll of paper on a wooden dowel  and if you pull the paper out and hold down the thin metal piece, it serves as a 'cutter' of sorts and you can tear off clean note-sized pieces of paper.

I was drawn to this because I'm always scrounging for post-it notes and the idea of being able to have short or long or...extra long notes was appealing to me.  I can pull on the paper for as long of a length as I need, then press the metal cutter down and tear.  Suddenly, I have a note paper that's just long enough for the task.  Nice.  The fact that is orange-ish red didn't hurt.

Here's another look at it.  The simplicity of the mechanism is it's genius.


On the bottom, there's this sticker:  Made in Japan by Counterpoint - San Francisco 94013.  And a little image of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I've looked quickly on teh Googles and can't find this place/maker.


Right now, it is on my desk at home, but I can already picture it in my new office.  Oh...and the girls love it already!  They've been using it for their drawings.  And has me thinking that we should get one of these for them to do their projects on!

But, for now...off I go searching around online trying to find a replacement roll of paper that can keep this thing working in the future.



This is the 15th coaster added to the Coaster Collection here on the blog.  You can find them all here on the Coaster Collection tag page.   The Flying Fish is a table service restaurant located at Disney's Boardwalk Resort out the backdoor of Epcot Center.  And it is fancy.  Like....pretty fancy.  But not fancy enough that we stuck out with our kids.  We did, however, make a fairly early reservation so that likely helped.

This is the 15th coaster in total, but is part of a sub-collection of five (and counting)Disney coasters including this one from the Boathouse, the Skipper Canteen, the Disneyland Hotel and Walt Disney World resort hotels.

I've been chronicling something I've been calling the "Vintage Christmas Motherlode" at the Great Lakes Antique Mall up in Coloma since back in 2013.  I posted about it as recently as this past June when we were getting ready to say 'see you later' to Coloma.

But, now that we're spending time up in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, one of the first orders of business was to discover the local antique mall.  Either Nat's parents or her sister found one just a ten minutes away in Lake Geneva.  So on a trip up there earlier this year, we went.  A bit smaller than the one in Coloma but a lot more furniture.  Turns out the guy at the counter is a wingnut and was getting all excited about the prospect of the incoming President-Elect, so it has that going for it...

But, in we went to wander around.

And lo and behold...what did I discover:  a new vintage Christmas Motherlode!  Look at that case.  Some pretty great stuff.  Ornaments, lights, little figures, Putz houses, and housewares.  Didn't buy anything out of this one (yet!), but I'll be interested to see how often the case turns over.  The one in Coloma seemed to be pretty stagnant.  Not sure if that's because of the prices or the inventory.

Adding another resident of Main Street USA to our list of meeting with this photo of Nat and two ladies.  I'll post and talk about the woman on the right in a different post, but let's talk about the woman on the left:  Ms. Hildegard Olivia Harding.

From the Disney Parks Blog:
Miss Hildegard Olivia Harding is a socialite and suffragette, President of the Main Street Social Society, Women’s Auxiliary and Decorating Committee, and works diligently with the women, educating them on Women’s Rights (as her friend Taby says “Those who don’t believe in Women’s Rights should watch out for Women’s Lefts.”).
Hildegard’s finger is in every pie, especially chocolate. “One can never have enough chocolate!” Miss Harding owns the Emporium and has an apartment upstairs where she throws lavish functions, often serving her specialty- calamari scones.
Look at that "Women Unite" sash she's wearing!  Couldn't be a more perfect meeting for Natalie and these ladies right at the turn of 2017.   Ms. Mildegard Olivia Harding owns the Emporium?  That's kinda awesome and a really neat piece of the backstory puzzle.  She lives upstairs.  But....having a female entrepreneur is a great storyline.

Nat posted this on her Instagram (or as Coach Belichick calls it 'Snapface') along with the line from the 'Sister Suffragette' song in Mary Poppins.
Cast off the shackles of yesterday
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sing in grateful chorus
Well done, Sister Suffragette
The list of these folks we've met includes:


Progress, progress, progress at our new place.  Just ten days ago, I posted about the incredible installation of our water main (under a huge tree!) and now we're already moving on to framing of the house.  And by the time you all read this post, there will be even more done!

The crew is busy putting up the deck, walls and ceilings and now the place is starting to really FEEL like a house.  It was an abstract idea for a long time, but now that you can walk into each of the rooms and actually BE there?  It's totally real and it is totally crazy.   Almost hard to convince myself that this project involves us and our family.  We're not just watching something happen.  We're watching OUR something happen!

And...crazy?  Yeah, crazy like the weight of two years of wandering around as a family is coming off of our shoulders.  Sure, there's a TON more time to go, but suddenly, we have a place.  We have a shared goal.  We have a home.  It is just made out of lumber, there's no utilities, no windows and not even a roof.  But if you squint and dream.  It's there.  Our new old farmhouse up on Hilltop.

As part of building our #NewOldFarmhouse out in Downers Grove (I posted about the sewer and water main installation here on the blog earlier this month), we're thinking about including a big, deep front porch that provides a lot of appeal from the street and gives us something we loved in our old place at 274 a place to gather and spend time in the mornings.

As part of that new porch design, we've been look at something called Sawn Balusters.  Those are the parts that connect the top and bottom of the front railings.  Sawn is different than what they called "turned".

Turned balusters are either square or cylindrical and are exactly that:  turned on a lathe or cut from a piece of wood.  Sawn balusters are common from the earlier part of the 20th century and are flat, not turned.  They can be of various thickness.  We've worked with our builder to come up with a custom pattern for them (more on that in a different post), but they can take the form of anything you'd like.  Check out some example patterns here.

The reason I bring this concept up is that photo above:  that's the luggage cart at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort.  On the back of the golf cart they use to pick up your bags and transport them to/from your room, they've built out a little flatbed with some custom sawn balusters.  They're fitting with the theme and feeling of the resort, but they've also incorporated a 'hidden Mickey' into the balusters.  Pretty awesome.

We've noodle'd with the idea of sneaking in a small hidden Mickey in the tile work in one of the kids bathrooms but I'm thinking that incorporating it into the sawn balusters on the front porch is a bridge too far for us.

Next time you're down at Port Orleans Riverside (or...frankly, I'm thinking they're using the same design on the carts at French Quarter) at WDW, check out the sawn balusters.  They're one of those little touches that make you smile and make Disney....Disney.
There are a few movies that are tear-jerkers for me.  I mean...no matter how many times I watch them, they turn on the water works.  When Tom Hanks is torn up about executing John Coffey but can't bring himself to say those words.  Or just about any part involving Rudy's dad in the movie Rudy.  But, in particular this scene.


Every.time.  The music, the build-up.  The whole thing between Rudy and his Dad and brother.

That line.

"This is the most beautiful sight deez eyes have ever seen."

That was going to be the caption for this photo below.  But that's ridiculous, right?  Or maybe not.  Those of you who are in the know, might agree with Rudy's Dad.  Especially because they're floats.



If you find yourself down by the Seven Seas Lagoon on New Year's Eve, go down to the beach at the Polynesian and plant yourself.  On December 31st, they do a show early at 7 pm, then another show at Midnight.  If you're staying Club Level at the Polynesian, they set up a little seating area with wooden chairs that give you a really great view.

These photos don't do the show justice, because they launch what they call 'perimeter fireworks'  so the view isn't just straight ahead, but feels like the entire horizon between the Grand Floridian and the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary.  And during the Midnight show, they also launch fireworks from this middle island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon.  Yeah...that one that the ferry boat goes by every time?  That one.

The kids didn't make it until Midnight, but Nat and I did.  Here's a look at what we saw from our balcony in the Hawaii building.  We snapped a few photos, but there was no substitute for the real thing.  None of the photos do the show justice.  If you look closely, you can see Cinderella's Castle right over the bungalows.


You can see this show from down on the beach, too, but if you know someone with a Theme Park View room in the Hawaii building....get yourself in there.

In a bit of a bummer, the MOD Pizza place on St. Charles near Route 83 is closed up and gone.  This place was right next door to the big hockey store on the south side of the road.  I covered the opening of the store back in September of 2015 and I really liked the place.  I guess that the people of Elmhurst voted with their wallets and decided to support other places.

The sign in the window claims that they 'moved', but we know better, right?

Disney has added a few new 'princesses' (although...I'm not sure who, exactly *is* a princess these days because my Mother-in-law just informed me that Elsa from Frozen isn't a Princess.  She's a Queen, so maybe that's why?) recently including this one above named Elena of Avalor who lives in the world of Sophia the First.  The girls love Sophia, so it was a great treat to meet this one at the backdoor of Epcot Center down at Walt Disney World.  She was hanging out right past the bridge between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions and had basically no line.

And this princess?  She.was.really.great!  Had it all down.

Nat and I both think that because she was in such a low-profile location with very little traffic (she had NO LINE!), that maybe this was a Princess-in-Training?  If she was, she'll graduate VERY FAST because she handled the girls quite well.


Not sure how long she's destined to be around, but if you can catch her, it's worth it - especially if you're doing autograph books because she's a rare find.