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Showing posts from January, 2014

Our MagicBands - 2014

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A few weeks back, our magic bands arrived.  Don't know what they are?  Well...they're part of an evil plan by a massive corporation to harvest huge amounts of data about your location, spending habits, personal information and more all for profit.

And...I can't wait to use them.

Red Cross First Aid Text-Book

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Nat picked up this 2nd edition (I think) earlier this year.  She has a warm spot in her heart for the Red Cross after serving there as an employee for a few years.  They're typically our #1 place we turn for donations it seems because of her guidance.

The book looks great along side the rest of her antique books.  But, this one is special to her!

Paint the Highway Orange Campaign Fighting Illini

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This morning, University of Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas sent out a mass email asking for local farmers (and Illini Fans) who might be interested in putting up Burma-shave signs along one of the major highways in the State.

Based on the map they've included, they're interested in putting them all the way up towards Chicago, so hopefully we'll see them pop up soon.

Think it is a pretty cute idea and a nice way to boost enthusiasm for the programs.



The Walt Disney Archives at MSI Chicago

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Over the weekend, we went to see the Walt Disney Archives (traveling version) at the Museum of Science and Industry.  We arrived right when the museum opened, so we had very few lines to deal with - which was pretty nice.

The exhibit is really broken down into three four parts:

1.  Walt's early life, launching his companies, failing, hitting on the Mouse
2.  Growing his animation Studio
3.  Developing the theme parks
4.  Some 'artifacts' from Disney productions

I really loved 3/4 of it and found the whole story of Walt's entrepreneurship pretty compelling.

The Bird - who is four now - didn't love it.  By the end, she just wanted to get going so we could go see the baby chicks hatching in the other part of the museum.

Lionel Sandy Andy Automatic Gravel Loader

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I picked up one of these at the Great Midwest Train Show before Christmas.  It was billed by the dealer as being "basically a perpetual motion machine".  Unfortunately, one of the plastic pieces in the box was broken, so it didn't work too well.

So, I went looking on Ebay for another one to use as parts.  Found one for just a few bucks.  When it arrived, guess what?  Had a break in the exact same spot.  Thinking I've found the vulnerable piece in the production, huh?

Vintage Christmas Gift Cards

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The final piece (for now) of our Vintage Christmas binge after the New Year are these gift tags.  In this box is 15 different cards.  They're all 3 dimensional and each one different.   And they're stamped "Japan" on the back.  Pretty cute stuff.  


Grandma Moses - The Old Farm House

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This was the first Grandma Moses piece we've come across - and Nat reminded me that she gets covered on the Roadshow from time-to-time, so we had to pick this up and put it with the rest of our Christmas stuff.


Main Street Candy and Toys Coming to Elmhurst

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With the demise of Elmhurst's "My Favorite Toy Store" plenty of folks around town were pretty bummed both because everyone loved the store and tried to support it as a local merchant but also because it was leaving a gaping hole right in York Street.

The good news is that it appears that we won't have that hole in our City Centre as there are now signs in the empty storefront for a place called Main Street Candy and Toys.    You can find them over her on Facebook.    They posted a 'we're expanding' note you can see here.


Post by Main Street Candy and Toys.
We're excited to see them come to town and hope they open up quick.  We'll be one of the first in line to support them!

St. Joe's Winter Lake Sunset from Rocky Gap Park

We had a pretty incredible sunset earlier this year up in Michigan.


Shot from Rocky Gap Park - which is technically - in Benton Harbor.  We hit up the park on the way to St. Joseph, so it is St. Joe's to us!

Contains Chemical That is Known to Cause Cancer?

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This stuff was for sale at Menards in the Christmas clearance sale.  It is little green flakes that look like grass that you can use to 'scene' your Christmas Village or Train set up.

But...'known to cause cancer'?  I love me a good deal, but...even though it is 75% off....I think I'll pass.

4 Faces of the Bird

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She's growing up so fast.  And...man-o-man..does she have some personality.  Plenty of it.

1 of 2 Vintage "Merry Christmas" Salt and Pepper Santa Shakers

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Unfortunately, the dealer only had this guy.  Didn't have the other one (see the set here).  But, that is why the set is interesting to me.  Now I have a hunt. Will I ever come across the other one?  I'm going to try to refrain from pickup up the full set if I see it.  I'd like to try to just find the "Christmas" partner to this guy.

The bottom is stamped the right way (below), so this one will find a nice home alongside his brethren.



Vintage Ceramic Relpo Santa and Sleigh

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This piece is marked Taiwan (see the mark below), so it normally isn't something that I would pick up.  I've passed a bunch of Taiwan-made Santas.

But, this one had that Relpo sticker on the bottom.  And...it says "Chicago, ILL".  So, I couldn't pass it up!

My FitBit Year in Review: 2013

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Just like last year, the fine folk over at +Fitbit mailed me my 'year end summary' of activity.

This year, I traveled 1926 miles.  And that's with a pretty sad December.  My device was on the fritz for the most of part of the month and I was just waiting until Christmas to get a new one.  (Which...thanks to my mother-in-law, I did!)

To compare to last year:  I went 576 more miles this year over last.

Some of the stats make a lot of sense.  For instance, Tuesday being my most active day sounds right.  I play Cardio Tennis every Tuesday morning.  I get in 3-4 miles every Tuesday before 7 am.

The fact that April was my most active month is interesting to me.  I started a new job in April.  I went from working from home a lot to commuting on the train and walking from Olgivie to Aon almost every day.

June 23rd is a puzzle, though.  It is a Sunday.  I think it might have been the day that we had the Bird's 1st Birthday party?  I must have been hustlin' around the ho…

Trader Joe's Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce

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I make about 4 trips to Trader Joe's every year.  About once a quarter, I'll head there with Nat and the girls on one of their bi-weekly trips.  Sometime last year, I found this sauce on one of the end caps.  I grabbed a bottle and fell in love.  Now, my experience with Trader Joe's is that they don't keep products on their shelves very long if they don't sell well, so I was concerned that when we went back a week or two later, it would be gone.

But, much to my surprise, we've been able to buy the stuff at regular intervals over the last six months.  I've been using it on a Detroit-style BBQ Chicken Pizza that I've been making and - for my money - the sauce is the boss.  I have 2 bottles sitting on the shelf in the pantry and I've just added it to the list for our next trip to TJs.

I better stock up in case the fine folks at Trader Joe's change their mind and stop carrying the stuff.

So Long, Gur Sweets Elmhurst

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Walking by the storefront of Gur Sweets on York in the Elmhurst City Centre, you'll see this sign.  They're closing their store but will continue to take orders.

I first covered Gur Sweets back in October of 2012.  They tried to ride the Cronut craze this past summer.  But, unfortunately for all of us in Elmhurst, it appears it wasn't enough.

Add this to the other vacant storefronts on York Street:  Jamba Juice (gone), Plass Appliances (gone), My Favorite Toy Store (gone), Cash for Gold (gone..thankfully!).

The City Council is talking about building a huge parking deck on Addison Street.  Some think that *might* help with the vacancies and it will make it easier to park and shop.  That's probably a good first step, but the government can only do so much.  These businesses operate in a free economy, so it is up to us - the residents of Elmhurst - to decided which businesses we want to support and keep in town.   We have a vote.  We cast that vote with our wallet.

So…

Vintage Plastic Angel Ornament

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Just like the KneeKnockers from earlier this week, this little Angel isn't ceramic, so it falls outside my normal vintage Christmas purchase criteria.  But, with her little "Made in Japan" mark on her back and her price tag, I couldn't pass her up.  She'll find a place next to the rest of our Angels on the piano next year, I'm thinking.

Velveeta Shortage? Not at Oak Brook Costco

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All that chatter about there being a Velveeta shortage during the critical 'dip season' surrounding the Super Bowl?

We found the motherload at the Oak Brook Costco yesterday.  Go get yourself a brick before it is gone.

Vintage Ceramic Spaghetti Trim Santa With His Sack of Presents

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My interest in Spaghetti Trim Christmas stuff is well documented.  Here's a post of a sleigh piece we got in November of 2012.  Here's a post of a little Santa lady that we bought in September of 2013.

And here's a photo of the first two Spaghetti Trim pieces we picked up back in 2011.

If we were ever going to narrow the collecting of this Vintage Christmas stuff, it would probably be narrowed down to Spaghetti Trim.  The stuff is hard to find, but really easily to recognize.  Let's hope Nat doesn't force me to make those choices.

Vintage Christmas Santa Kneeknockers

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As we've done in the past, we shopped a bit for vintage Christmas finds when we were up in Michigan for the New Year.  There's usually some great deals on the Christmas stuff as the dealers don't really want to pack their goods up and wait a whole calendar year to try to sell it.

We saw these two kneeknockers and while they're NOT what we typically buy (pottery), I couldn't pass them up.  Best part?  Just like a Cabbage Patch Kid, these guys have a mark on their tuckus.

I'm going to take the next few days to show-off a few more of these vintage Christmas finds we scored.


2013 Change Jar(s) Total: $99.04

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We now have 2 'change jars' that sit on my desk at home every day.  One for the Babe.  One for the Bird.  This is made up of what I pull out of my pockets most every day.  Sometimes it is change.  Sometimes it is cash.  Some of it in the form of $2 bills from holidays like Easter.

 $52.12 for the Babe.  $46.92 for the Bird.  Interesting how it worked out.  I tried to put even amounts of coins in each jar each day.  Guess I was off a bit.  The Bird is younger, so she has time on her side for the interest to catch up!

Here's the history:

2012 Total:  $74.022011 Total:  $181.152010 Total:  $19.602009 Total: $53.51 Across those five years, the new average is $85.46.  This year, we were above the average.  Last year, we were below. 

Cafe Julia Granola Cookies

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Whenever we are up in Michigan, we always take at least one morning and head into South Haven for breakfast at Cafe Julia.  Nat gets a coffee and sometimes a proper breakfast, but I always stick to the main attraction here:  the granola cookies.

For the first time since I've been there, they had this little sign up detailing the ingredients.  Or...at least... *some* of the ingredients.  That had me thinking:  could we re-create these cookies at home?

Sure enough, at least one baker has tried.  Therese at A Piece of Cake Kitchen has a recipe she says is "better" than the real thing.

I think Nat will have to put this to the test.  I'm happy to be the taster.

New Look: JakeParrillo 2014 Edition

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Take a look see.  Still lots of orange, but a new font and a little bit less argyle.  Had it running since the 1st of the year.  Here's how it looks on the desktop:

Here's what it looks like on mobile:



Here's what it looked like before the change:


Here's a post from 2011 from another redesign.   The site has changed a bit over the past few years, but that appears to be the only post where I documented the changes.

Our Christmas Tree - 2013 Edition

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Here's our 2013 Parrillo Family Christmas tree.  I think it was the best tree we've ever had.  Had a nice shape.  As always, it was a Fraser Fir.

Yes, yes, yes.  I know.  It is 2014.  And Christmas is over.  But, I have a bunch of posts coming that wrap-up Christmas.  Have some patience while I deposit these thoughts/images here.
Here's the post (on google+) of our 2012 TreeHere's the post of our 2011 TreeHere's the post of our 2010 Tree

Vintage Christmas Motherload - 2014

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This is a photo I took last week up in Coloma at the Great Lakes Antique Mall of the Christmas cabinet that I always check out.

Here's the same cabinet last year.  From the quick glance, there isn't that much missing (or sold).  I see the Santa/Sleigh and Reindeers on the second shelf from the top on the right side gone.  That was the nicest piece in the whole case, imho, so I'm not that surprised that it sold.

The spaghetti trim Santa that I was admiring last year is still there (far left, second shelf from the top).

Makeit & Bakit "Stained Glass" Suncatchers

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We were in the Hobby Shop up in Watervliet over the New Year's holiday and The Babe spotted these vintage "New Old Stock" (as the guy called them) craft projects.  They were buy-one-get-one-free, so we picked up both of these.

The Babe did the flower one all by herself.  I used a tweezer to clean up a lot of the little beads that were in the 'wrong' section, but this one was 99.5% her.

These type of sun-catchers were all over Nat's Grandmother's kitchen.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo - 2013 Visit

We took the girls to Brookfield Zoo last Saturday.  The temperature was oddly warm which meant that we weren't the only ones who had the bright idea to go to Zoo Lights.  The traffic was a mess, but once we got inside (and parked in the South Lot!), we had a great time.  We even rode the carousel....which we never do (according to the Babe)!

What Color is The Real Pinkie Pie?

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Over the Christmas Break, the girls brought over some coloring books to Nat's folks house.  This isn't unusual.  We roll with coloring books.

 The girls' "Uncle Bill" is a pretty artistic guy.  He was sitting down at the table and decided to join in on the fun.  10 minutes later, he was done with this beauty.

The Babe, however, wasn't impressed.  She said..."That's not what color Pinkie Pie is supposed to be, Uncle Bill.  She's supposed to be pink and purple."

To which Uncle Bill replied, "Well...I've never seen a pink and purple horse before."

My Phone's Homescreen - 2014

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In the sprit of the times, I figured I'd deposit this here for posterity's sake.

Here We Go - 2014

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Had just 153 posts in 2013.  With a job change, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and plenty going on around the house, it is no surprise that life got in the way of daily posting.  I had 58 posts on the family blog and 51 posts on the sockpuppet blog I write, so adding up the three numbers, we get 262, so that's not terrible, right?  Add in all the Google+ posts of the girls, and I'm sure I was over 365.

2014 is full of promise and here's to hoping to capture just a little sliver of what is happening around my world each and every day.