Saturday, April 25, 2015

Oh No. The President Is Weak *And* Depressed?!?


Nevermind the fact that 'Old Blue Eyes was a 'bag man' for the outfit, let's focus on the more pressing matters:  The President is 'forced into a wheelchair' and has 'lost the will to live'.  The CGI these days is just amazing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mammoth Sunflower Seeds - To Be Planted 2015


The second pack (after last week's Apollo Ring variety I posted about) is this Mammoth sunflower.  This one will tower (12 feet tall!) over the rest of them and I'll plan on putting the seeds in the far back row against the fenceline.  I think a few more weeks need to pass and then we'll get them in the ground.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NFL Draft Starts To Set Up Draft Town In Chicago


Just west of Buckingham Fountain you can start to see the tents going up for the NFL's DraftTown.  They've shut down the street and it appears they're just going to take the whole place over with a series of tents/structures.  Kinda neat.

Here's the sketch they have on NFL.com of the final product:


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

KettlePizza Arrives at the Parrillo Household


After many a year of dreaming about building my own wood-fired pizza oven, we have come to a sort-of compromise.  Introducing...the KettlePizza.  It takes a 22.5" Weber grill and transforms it (with some slight modifications) into a wood-burning 800 degree beast.

I put it through it's paces over the weekend and the results were less than stellar.  Lots to learn about this thing including the dough formulation, how to get them in the oven, how to top the pies and how to get them out of this beast without burning myself like crazy.

Good thing Summer is almost here and we'll have plenty of time to experiment.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bullseye Power Nozzle For Garden Hoses


I picked up this hose nozzle as a gift earlier this year but have yet to put it through it's proper paces.  What...with the lack of 'hose weather', right?

This thing is super simple but is highly endorsed and is labeled as being used by 'wildland firefighters'.  From the DuluthTrading listing come some big boasts:
BULLS-EYE NOZZLE NEVER LEAKS, NEVER BREAKS.Proven on firelines by U.S. and Canadian wildlife services, the small but powerful Bulls-eye Nozzle saves water and gives you more power, in an emergency or just around the yard. A simple twist adjusts the force from maximum to heavy spray to pinpoint stream. Sprays up to 600 psi!
If there's a way to break something...trust me...our family will figure out how to do so.  Stay tuned for pressure-testing that claim...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pumpkin Pedestals From Gardener's Supply


I am now the proud (that's right....PROUD!) owner of six - count 'em - six pumpkin pedestals.

What's a pumpkin pedestal?  From Gardener's Supply:
Growing pumpkins is so much fun, but can be frustrating when the fruits are misshapen or rot before they ripen. These ingenious supports elevate pumpkins, squash and melons up off the ground, allowing air to circulate. This promotes even ripening and minimizes rot. Fruit stays cleaner and develops a more uniform shape. The smaller side of the pedestal supports a pumpkin up to 10" in diameter and weighing up to 20 pounds. Flip it over and the larger side holds a mature pumpkin up to 14" and 30 pounds.
Makes me want to go all-in on pumpkins again this year.  But...I can't help but recall how they TOTALLY took over the entire place.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dylan's Candy Bar Chicago


Last weekend, we spent the night in the city so the girls could go swimming in a hotel pool.  (Well...that's not the *only* reason, but it was one of the driving forces anyway...)

We spent Friday afternoon walking around with stops at my office, the new Maggie Daley Park (wowsa...pretty neat place!) and then hoofing it up Michigan Avenue to head to dinner.  On the way there, we stopped into Dylan's Candy Bar.

Pretty neat place.  Lotsa candy (as you'd expect) and they even had 'nostalgia' area with old school candy.  Some of it from a long time ago, but plenty from the 80's and 90's that I remember from my childhood.  I was pretty impressed with the place.  That was...until...I checked out and was waiting around for Nat and the girls to finish filling up their bags of candy.  There, by the door laying on the counter was a book all about Dylan's Candy Bar and the founder Dylan Lauren.

You can see the book here on Amazon.

I went to back inside cover where they normally have info about the author.  I wanted to know a bit about Dylan.  Turns out....she's the daughter of Ralph Lauren.  As in *that* Ralph Lauren.  

Suddenly the whole experience turned sour on me.  I don't know quite why.  Just seemed off-putting.  I don't begrudge her the family connections and what-have-you.  But...what I thought was a neat entrepreneurial story somehow twisted into a 'hobby project of a well-off family' in my mind.

Now...that totally might not be the case.  I have no idea.  Dylan Lauren is probably SUPER hard working and has earned everything she's built with the Candy Bar.

But..go read the reviews on Amazon.  I'm thinking I'm not the only one?

The candy was great.  And...because the girls were in heaven, I'm sure we'll go back.  But, I'll be just a little bit more jaded next time I walk in.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Apollo's Ring Hybrid Sunflower Seeds


I get a set of Sunflower seed packets each year for my birthday.  It is a nice tradition that I've come to enjoy.  For the past few years, the person who gives me the seeds has been getting pretty creative in terms of the variety of seeds.

This year, they gave me a few packets - and I'll run through them in different posts here - starting with this Apollo's Ring Hybrid (GIRASOL Apollo's Ring Hybrid).    These ones aren't super tall.  They are listed as topping out at 5-6', so they'll be a nice compliment to some of the taller ones.

Here's the post showing off all the different varieties I planted last year in 2014.
Here's the post showing off some of the 2013 sunflowers already growing.
And...here's a post from 2011 showing off some of the blooming flowers.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Peonies Are Back - 2015 Edition


In a sure sign of spring, I have to look no further than some of the landscape beds in our back yard to see the peonies popping their little red tips out of the mulch.

This is an annual ritual - the posting of the peony tips - on the blog here.  Six years and counting.  Here's how I documented this Spring moment last year.

Here's my post from 2013. And here are the photos of these same peonies in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Wednesday, Gary!

This commercial from Hotels.com makes me laugh so much.  There isn't another spot on television right now that I laugh EVERY time I see it.  Just too funny.


"I know that, Janet."

Lulz.

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