Earlier this month, I posted the little project I created about listening to Christmas music.  Well...good news for *some* of you:  there's an update.  Thanksgiving week is here, so rejoice fellow Christmas music people:  You no longer have to feel shame.

Go ahead.  Play the Bing.  Feel no shame.

This is the view I walked in to at the office this am.  You'll see that there's plenty of snow covering Maggie Daley park on the left side, but the city crews have cleaned up the bean pretty well.  Also, as a bonus, you can barely.make.out the new City of Chicago Christmas Tree in very bottom right.  See the oval-ish ice rink on the right side next to The Bean?  Just below that is a planter with the new tree stuck in the middle of it.  If you click on the photo above, it should blow up bigger and you can make it out.

Here's what this same spot looked like back on Halloween.  Much different feel, isn't it?
This morning, we hit up the local Menards to look over their Christmas stuff and I was surprised that A LOT of it was already gone.  Totally picked over.  Like...almost ALL of the inflatables were gone.  And most of the blowmolds.  I guess that's what happens when you put it out in October?

But, there were a bunch of different of these Tinsel-y cloth decorations.  This one above is a pretty cute Santa.  He's 110 bucks, though!  So, he didn't end up in our cart.  This seems to be an emerging place of compromise in the great Christmas decorations battle.  Not as crazy as a huge inflatable but a little bit of personality.  The prices on these things will likely come down in the next few years like they've done on inflatables and when it does?  We'll pounce!
A few weekends back, I packed up The Bird and The Gooz and my dad in the van and we went out to the Wheaton Fairgrounds for the Great Midwest Train Show.  This is the second time we've gone to the show (last year, I went with my dad) and it was a lot of fun.  

I picked up a few things for me, my kids and my nephew, but by far, the best purchase was this really cute vintage metal tunnel.  It was being sold by a guy who had HO scale stuff and had this over on the edge of his table.  He was asking $10 for it and I got it for $5.  Pretty great deal, if you ask me!  I think he was happy to get rid of it.  I was happy to get it!

It has some really great scenes on both sides of it.  And it is like a foot-long.

Our layout has never been 'realistic', so I think adding something like this adds a bit of whimsy and - frankly - vintage charm that I really like.
I think, tragically, we're not going to be putting up the kids' train this year because we're in Equation Boy/Man's house and won't have a great spot for it.  Maybe we can bring it to Grammy/Grandad's place?
Every time we've gone to the Parks, I've always worn the same thing on my head:  A Late Show hat.  Earlier this year, I upgraded to this old-school-cool original Disney World logo hat.  I've put it through it's paces a few times already, but it is now time to put it into short-term storage until we check out the place 'Walt built' when it is all dressed up for it's 60th next year.
Well, well, well.  Look what arrived in the mail this week:  the 2015 Christmas catalog from the fine folks up at Duluth Trading.  With the King Arthur catalog already in our house, with this, I can *now* build out my full Christmas "want" list.

I mean...who isn't all over henleys and fire house pants from Santa Claus this year, amirite?!?
For the second year in a row, we packed up the kids and took them out to see what is called the "Canyon Trail Cemetery" in a neighborhood in Carol Stream a few days before Halloween.

Here's the post from our visit last year.

With The Babe and The Bird getting a bit older and more *aware* of things, they started to get a little freaked out by some of the things that jump out!   We picked up a couple of 'kids temp' hot chocolates and watched Hocus Pocus in the van on our way there.  It was a great way to lead up to the big day on Halloween.

If you don't know about the Canyon Trail Cemetery, you can check them out here on their Facebook page.  It is a really impressive display put together by a family.  All they ask is for canned food donations for the local food pantry!
Gasp!  Disney artwork has official breached the front door of our house*.  Yep...that right there is a print featuring a couple of DisNerds enjoying the show at the Enchanted Tiki Room while slurping in a Dole Whip.  Seemed too perfect of a fit for us to pass up, right?  This feels a little bit like a move that can't be 'undone'.  Where will the Disney-creep stop in the house?

From the little card on the back of the print we find out we're not alone in loving the Tiki Room along with a couple of Dole Whips.  You can find more stuff from Joey at his site here.

*I say 'our house' here, but we all know that I mean Equation Boy/Man's house where we're staying until we figure out way out!
The folks over at the Home Depot continue their annual tradition of releasing a dated Home Depot building for your Christmas Village.

Here's a post from 2011 that shows that year's version.  The date was in a different spot and they had Santa ringing a bell out front.

This year's edition comes with a couple of people lining the sidewalk (one with the - of course - orange apron).  They're pricing it really well at $9.98 (same price as 4 years ago!), but it isn't the best quality made building.  Nevertheless, I'm thinking that getting a building for less than 10 bucks is going to make this thing find plenty of homes in villages around the country.  Mantleburg is more of a Menard's kind of town, though.  So, we'll be without Home Depot for a while.
Here's another of the 2015 Lemax Christmas Village buildings at Menards:  Jackson & Son Grocery store.  Like the Snowflake Theater that I posted last week, this one leaves a little bit in terms of finish and design.  It just kinda seems sloppy and the details aren't very fine in terms of how they're presented.  Too bad, but it seems that either Menards OR Lemax has let down their standards a bit.  This Jackson & Son Grocery store won't be finding a home in Mantleburg.  What will the residents do?  Hold out for a Whole Foods?  Who knows!?!?
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