Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween - Nat's Mickey Pumpkin - 2012

How about my talented wife?!?  Thanks to her handy work, there's a pretty great Mickey the Mouse jackolantern on our front porch ready for the deluge of kids (and adults!) who are going up and down our block.

Last year we had 269 individuals come to our door.  Will we top it this year?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving - 2012

We carved pumpkins last night and light them up for this video.  (If you are reading this in your email, you should click through the title above to see the video)  The Babe drew her face and we cut it out.  I tried a pumpkin with some brains!  Although, you can't totally see them in the video.  I used a white pumpkin and cut it into the shape of a football helmet, minus the facemask.  And then just wedged it into the top of the open orange base pumpkin.

Here's what it looks like in photos:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bears 23, Panthers 22

Thanks to Equation Boy/Man, I was able to see the Bears come back to beat the lowly Panthers yesterday.  See that silver-haired guy in the navy ball cap in the center of the photo?  That's this guy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Noonie's Halloween Party - 2012

As usual, the pinata took center stage at Noonie's Halloween party.  Unlike past years, this thing only survived a few wacks.

Those are some realistic costumes, eh?  Werewolf with glowing eyes!

Here's the post and photo from Noonie's Halloween party in 2011.
Here's the post and photo from Noonie's Halloween party in 2010.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Boo-utiful Saturday in Elmhurst City Center - 2012


We spent a few hours this morning trick-or-treating around the Elmhurst City Center.  Businesses were giving out candy for kids and the downtown area was packed.  The nice guys at Sushi Nest (above) were awfully nice to the Babe.    She was a princess.  But with an owl hat and a Muppets hoodie underneath.  She went with it!

The Bird didn't get out of her stroller, but she was the star of the show.



Friday, October 26, 2012

Blue Steel Pizza Pan - Seasoning Not Sticking

Bummer.  The seasoning isn't taking.  Might have to start from scratch on this pizza pan.  I recently picked up 2 more pans (4 total) so we can have a nice sized Detroit-pizza-party.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2 Story House on our Block: Facing the Wrong Way?

I came home to find this new construction job moving along quickly.  The odd thing to me?  They've faced their garage towards Indiana Street instead of the alley.  The rest of the houses up and down face Indiana and the alley would make it easy to have access to the garage.  Did they arrange this house wrong?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Splatters Elmhurst

Looks like the vacancy at 131 N. Addison Street didn't take long to fill.  Back in July, after 29 years, Deborah Davis hung up her curling iron and closed her salon/spa.

It looks like they've been around since 2009 and have been mostly focused on birthday parties.  They appear to have been located in Villa Park.  Now they have a store front right in Downtown Elmhurst.  That's good for our community and adds a bit of diversity to the mix of offerings in the City Center.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random Neighborhood Cat on our Deck?

I spotted this strange (and apparently lost?) cat on our back deck.  Had never seen him/her before and haven't seen him/her since.  He came up to our screen door (which was open), looked in and then sniffed around before leaving.    Could he be the pumpkin bandit?

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Person - One Office: Elmhurst Ballot Question

These signs are starting to appear in business windows around town.  2 questions.  Different answers.  If voters read this thing, I have to believe that this effort will succeed and the ban on holding two offices will pass.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Addison Street Development - Demolition

Driving by what used to be a parking lot and office building on Addison Street in the Elmhurst City Center now is a big construction site.

Are they moving forward with the massive new development with parking deck?  Here's a post outlining those options.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Michael's Lemax Display - 2012

Look what we found at Michaels!  They have their LeMax display out already.  I picked up the brochure and will find out what's doin' with these guys this year.  Could there be new growth for Mantleburg?  I sure hope so.  The recession was particuarly tough on the town last year as no new buildings were added and the construction industry was devastated.  Will this year be better?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are Tophats Coming Back?

I saw this guy on the train coming home yesterday.  He was a young hipster-looking guy.  At first, I assumed it was a costume.  Then he walked by and this looked like his normal wardrobe.  Are these things coming back?  Or is this some sort of viral marketing for the upcoming Lincoln film?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Look Who's Becoming Such a Big Girl?

We went to Sonny Acres with both girls this week.  I can't believe how big The Babe looks these days.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Detroit-Style Pie Out of the Pan

Took me almost a year, but I finally got my FIRST Detroit-style pizza pie out of the blue steel pan unscathed and in one piece.  I've been very gentle on the pans and have been building up a thick coating of seasoning - so it appears to be working.    With the cooler weather here, I'll be giving my Detroit-style pizza recipe a good workout which means the pans will (hopefully) only get better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dollhouse Furniture and Elevator Inspiration

I have a project in mind for Christmas for the girls and this elevator (on the left) in this dollhouse at Costco has me thinking about how I can replicate it.  Motorized elevator?  Sounds like a challenge.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gur Sweets - Elmhurst

Six weeks ago - right after Labor Day - the Cupcake shop on York Street closed.  This morning, on my walk to the train, I saw some new signage in location announcing a new store:  Gur Sweets.

The Gur Sweets site says they're going to open this fall and focuses solely on cupcakes.  But their Facebook page mentions that they're a bakery and lists 'food and grocery'.  Not sure if that's just a category that the owners picked to build out their Facebook page or if they're going to be more than a cupcake shop.

Based on the success of the previous tenants, coupled with the increased competition from the opening of the Courageous Bakery across the tracks, I'm sure hoping it is going to be more than cupcakes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Look Who's in the Mix with the Princesses?

Hulkamania is going to run wild all over the Babe's toys!  Good to see that one of my childhood toys in the same basket as the Disney princesses.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sign the Petition to Allow Residents to Raise Chickens in Elmhurst


Some residents in Elmhurst are urging our local City Council to change their policy which would allow residents to keep chickens on their property. It is a good idea that needs to happen.  I believe my Alderwoman, Dannee Polomsky, is the sponsor of this measure - which would allow Elmhurst residents to keep a small number of chickens on their residential property.  Kudos to her for taking the lead on this issue.

I whole-heartedly support this and if you live in Elmhurst urge you join me and sign the petition.

Besides all the benefits outlined on the petition page (which frankly are fine), there are 2 dynamics that are at play in my mind:

1.  Individual property rights.  The long arm of the government shouldn't be reaching into my backyard.  I understand the nuisance aspects, but if I want to keep chickens, I should be able to keep chickens.

2.  The time for this has come.  Elmhurst isn't exactly a pioneer when it comes to allowing us residents to keep chickens.  Do a simple Google search and you'll see this is a commonly-held practice across the country.  Want proof?  Well...does the fact that Williams-Sonoma (yes...those guys selling upscale kitchen wares) sells a $1300 chicken coop convince you that this is mainstream?  It should.

Let the people have chickens!  Cage free, Farm Fresh!

(NOTE:  I've been pestering Nat for years that we should have chickens.  The answer has always been the same:  "no".  Doesn't mean I won't keep working on her!  But...the fact that I don't like eggs works against me.  But...I don't love tomatoes, either.  And we grow hundreds of those!)




Friday, October 12, 2012

The Potatoes are in - 2012

Yesterday, while I was out pulling up some carrots, I checked on the potatoes.  They've come in - in big numbers.  I took my spade and turned over a bit of soil that was maybe 1 foot by 2 feet and there were dozens of spuds.  Good thing they keep for a while.  Because we're going to be up to our armpits in potatoes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Time for the Root Vegetables: Carrots 2012

The carrots are starting to mature to the size that is worth pulling.  There's tons left out there that I'll get to this weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calling All Charities: Elmhurst Newcomers and Neighbors Club Searching for Benefactor for their Spring Fundraiser

Do you know a worthy organization that needs financial support from the community of Elmhurst?

Well...there's some good news.  Each year, the Elmhurst Newcomers and Neighbors Club selects a new group or organization to support.

ENNC is a non-profit community organization for women in Elmhurst, IL that helps women and their families meet new people, connect with others with similar interests, participate in community service projects and generally become more familiar with the Elmhurst community.

This group holds an annual Spring Fundraiser to raise money for local charities. My wife, Natalie is involved in the organization and is helping lead on the event and I'm glad to be able to help her spread the word.

ENNC just announced that they're now taking nominees for their 2013 event - online!

The application can be found by clicking here.

Interested parties need to fill out the nomination by November 4th 2012.  Get goin' and nominate a good charity, group, or organization.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Halloween Joe Joe's Cookies from Trader Joe's - 2012

Nat and the girls came back from TJ's with these beauties in their bag yesterday and while I'm a fan of the traditional TJ's cookie of fall (Their Maple Cookies), I have a soft spot for their holiday-themed Joe Joe's.

These ones are particularly cute with the jack-o-lantern face and orange cream in the middle.   With Halloween being 3 weeks away, I'm seriously doubting that they'll last that long.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Winning Coffee Cup?

This morning, I pulled a paper cup from the stack and the bottom was taped in red.  On the left is a normal cup.  On the right, my cup this morning.

Is this like the Wonka Factory tour Golden Ticket?  Is ECOProducts - the makers of our paper coffee cups - trying to send me a message?  Seems like a recycled paper product factory tour is going to be a lot less fun than a candy factory.  But...maybe it wouldn't be all bad.  Perhaps, I'd meet someone like Veruca Salt?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Parking Lot Exit

Yesterday, we parked our car in a garage but couldn't figure out which way was out.  The markings weren't exactly clear.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Costco 5 ft Tall Santa

The packaging on this guy at Costco says indoor/outdoor.  Being an outdoor-ready decoration is likely the only way I can get this past Nat.  We don't have a huge house and it already is busting at the seams with Christmas decorations.  So a life-size Santa Ho-Ho (as we call him) isn't going to be workable.

But he would look really good in the backyard, wouldn't he?

Friday, October 05, 2012

Athletico Physical Therapy - Elmhurst

On the walk to the train this morning, I noticed a sign went up for Athletico Physical Therapy in the big commercial space on 3rd Street just west of York.  There are senior homes above the new home of Athletico.  It seemed like this place was vacant for a couple of years.  While I'm not thrilled with another physical therapy place and not a bookstore or restaurant of some kind (brew pub?), a tenant is a tenant.  And Elmhurst City Center can use more of them!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Pinstripes Oak Brook

After watching it under construction for what felt like a year, last night I was able to get to Pinstripes Bowling Bocce and Bistro in Oak Brook.

How was it?  Meh.  The place seems designed like an office building.  The food?  It was ok.  The staff was very helpful and attentive.  But...I don't think I'll need to go back.

The place is HUGE, though and they have basically the same floorplan on the first floor as they do on the second.  That whole second floor is for corporate events and private parties.  So, perhaps they're going to do gangbuster business in private events?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sunshine Nails - Elmhurst

If you listen to Nat, you'd likely think that I have the worst taste in everything.  Clothes.  Interior design.  Food.

But, I think she's likely on the same page as me when it comes to the rehab/renovation of Sunshine Nails on York Street in the Elmhurst City Center.  This photo doesn't do it justice.  There is so much stuff going on in the new windows.  Two fountains with smoke/fog machines.  Statues.  Weird dried leaves.  And, I haven't even gotten to the signs/banners.

Now, I'm really not trying to pick on this place because I'm glad to see an entrepreneur take a risk and I know running a small business isn't easy.  But, I can't quite figure out who they're trying to appeal to.  Does anybody know?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Pumpkin Cemetery Set Up - 2012

Yesterday, we spent a few hours in the morning getting some of our Halloween decorations up in the yard and around the house.  Still plenty more hours left until we get our stuff set up.

For the "Pumpkin Cemetery", I grabbed a few pieces of tongue-and-groove boards from the remnant rack at Menards and printed out the letters in a funky font.  Then I traced them on with pencil and painted the letters in black.  I threw on a few coats of polyurethane to seal it in and provide a little bit of weather-proofing.

I picked up a little bit of edging fencing from Menards, too.  And stuck that in the ground.

For the pumpkins, we debated between real and fake.  We ended up going with real.  Not sure if that is going to end up being wise in the long run, but only time will tell.  I painted on the eyes and mouths and then painted (with a pastry brush) a slurry of red pepper flakes and water all over them.  Before that water dried, I also sprinkled on a bunch of chili powder.

You see...we have a squirrel problem.  We have a funky pumpkin up on our porch that has a bunch of it eaten away.  In fact, I caught a squirrel up on the porch one day, so I know who's inflicting the damage.  A bit of research offered two options:  try coating them in hairspray or with something spicy.

If you look closely at the middle pumpkin, you can see the red pepper flakes at the top of it - near the stem.

I put them up last night and this morning there were no chew marks.  So...either the critters haven't found 'em yet, or they aren't interested in the spicy stuff!
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