Friday, May 29, 2015

Redamak's Open For The Season - 2015


We made a stop at Redamak's in New Buffalo on the way home from the holiday weekend.   There are a few places we like to stop at on the way to Coloma including this place and Steve Dahl's recommendation of Stop 50 in Michiana Shores.

I had a VERY tasty double cheeseburger.  I've tried the triple and it is just simply too much for me.  I also ordered my waffle fries 'well done' and they were pretty stinkin' good.

Don't take it from me on the quality of Redamak's burgers, just look at A Hamburger Today when they say: "The cheeseburger at Redamak's is among the best on the planet."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Giving San Marzanos Another Try


Back in 2011, I went on a plum tomato binge.  I think I grew like six or seven varieties of plum tomatoes including a plant or two of these San Marzanos.

Because of where they sit in the pizza universe, there's a draw to these that is unnatural for me, I think.  I actually don't eat a lot of tomatoes if I can avoid them.  I do, however, eat a lot of 'sauces and pureees'.  On pizzas. On sandwiches.  On noodles of all sorts.  

I also haven't canned anything in a few years.  The effort just never yielded a lot of upside for me.

But, after seeing these Bonnie Plants heirloom variety sitting on the shelf of Home Depot over the weekend, I just.simply.couldn't.resist.  Into the cart they went.  Along with some other things that will cause me agita all summer long.  But, that's for another day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Rain Out


We *so* tried to go the Memorial Day Parade.  In fact, we tried twice.  Both times, turned around for either the Bambino or the rain.  My god...the rain.  It came down light.  It came down heavy.  It came down when we were walking there, once again, so we just turned around.

That didn't stop the Bird from stomping around in her rain boots, her pants hiked way up and her giant 'sumbrella'.  We ended up in a *new* place for breakfast that felt comfortable but a bit foreign.  We'll have to do something about that.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Basement Design Idea: Clubhouse Under The Stairs


We saw this little 'nook' built into a model home last weekend and everyone who was down there with us coo'd over it and thought it was 'sooo cute' or 'soooo darling'.

It is a really nice touch and one that just takes a little bit of drywall, framing and trim.  Have to think it could be replicated in anyone's house as they're thinking about a basement redesign or basement rehab/construction.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

WDWTableFinder Is Magical At Getting You "Ungettable" Disney World ADR's

If you're going to Disney World, there are a couple of stressful planning moments.  After you've picked your travel days and your hotels, you get to move on to what Disney calls "Advance Dining Reservations" (ADRs) and your ride reservations (Fastpass+'s).

If you're staying onsite at one of Disney's hotels, one of the benefits they give you is that you can make dining reservations (ADRs) at their restaurants 180 days out from your first night's stay.  

Disney opens up the reservations at 6 am eastern on your 180 day mark and for a lot of us, that means a mad-dash scramble to try to scoop up as many of the prime reservations as possible.  For most folks, that means places like "Be Our Guest" at the Magic Kingdom and "Chef Mickey's" at the Contemporary Resort and Le Cellier at Epcot.  

If you don't get on the Disney website at 5 am central, odds are, you're out of luck.  The reservations get tied up and everything gets booked. 

Disney has opened a new restaurant called The Boathouse at the new Disney Springs and it is a hot ticket for this summer and fall.  So much so, that while we tried to make our ADRs at the first moment we could, we were locked out of securing one for The Boathouse.


Enter: WDW Table Finder.  After hearing about the service from folks like Shannon at WDWPrepSchool and getting an email from them with a discount code, I took the plunge.  I created an account, paid the $6 ($1 discount) and set up a notification for The Boathouse.  

I wasn't all that hopeful.  Figured the six bucks wasn't a lot to wager in exchange for *maybe* getting the reservation. I set it and basically forgot it.  

Fast forward to this week when I got both this email and a text message:


What, what!?!  I was geeked when the email/text came and I clicked on the link thinking that maybe I'd be able to snatch the reservation.

Not only did the link take me DIRECTLY to the already filled out reservation page (all I had to do was pick the names of the party from my friends/family list).  One more click and confirming my payment information and...LIKE FREAKIN' MAGIC...we had our reservation.  Seriously...this seemed like total magic to me.  

I can't tell you how impressed I am with the tool.  It is basically a subscription service, so once you 'snipe' your first ADR, you can change the notification to try to find/get another 'unget-able' ADR.  I think you're membership lasts a year, so if you are a crazy person (what??) and have two trips planned for a 12 month period, I think you'd be able to use it for both trips.

Bottom line:  If you are shut out of a prized Walt Disney World Advance Dining Reservation, head over to WDW Tablefinder and give it a shot.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

How to Properly Fertilize Your Lawn With The Right Walking Pattern


Who knew there was a proper way to walk your lawn fertilizer spreader?  I suppose this is kind of common-sense, right?  If you have the spreader opened up all the way, you simply walk back and forth and make turns at the end of the lawn each time.  This is similar to how I cut the grass.  (I actually cut the grass like this about 50% of the time, the rest of the time I do the 'cut from the outside in and walk in a circle with each lap getting smaller' manner.)

But, the 'half-rate settings' pattern is A LOT more complex.  You basically overlay a whole additional set of steps on top of the first.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Five Years Ago On The Blog: Lighting Up The Garage

Five years ago today, I posted this photo of the electricians finally wiring up our garage in Elmhurst.  Below is a screenshot from the blog.

Really hard to believe that it has been five years since this went in.  Pretty remarkable.  In the photo, we had the old chainlink fence and the arborvitae that we planted are tiny.  And the entire patio area/pavilion off the garage isn't there.  Most importantly...we were just a family of three.  And had a five month old.  Time sure does fly.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Apricot Dream Tomato - 11.5 on Brix Scale


Lots of tomato talk around these parts lately, eh?  'Tis the season, I guess.  This is the last of the tomato posts for a bit (until I get them into the ground), but is an important one.  Above is the Apricot Dream Tomato - a orangish cherry tomato.

The most important thing about these is buried in the description on the back:
The ridiculously huge trusses each have 20-30 oblong cherry sized tomatoes that are super sweet with a Brix rating of 11.5 giving them a candy like sweetness.  
Emphasis, mine.

I think there are a few missing hyphens in that line, but that's not the point.  The fact that these are an 11.5 on the Brix scale *is* the point.


If you follow tomatoes, you'll know that 11.5 is a rare score.  This post talks about the ranges for tomatoes (usually you eat ones that are 6-10's).  The girls eat cherry tomatoes off the vines each summer and I am guessing if this variety comes in, I'll know their favorite ones:  these sweet Apricot Dreams.

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