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Showing posts from January, 2017

Electric Service Going In - New Old Farmhouse

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It was ten-plus days ago that I posted a photo of the framers building out our new place with walls and ceilings and such.  Welp, they've wrapped up their portion of the project and moved on to other jobs leaving behind something that *actually* looks like a house.  Like...a real, live house.  You can still basically 'see' right through it as there's nothing in any of the walls and there's no windows or doors, but the basic shapes of the place we've been thinking about, dreaming about, hoping about for the past two years is there to take in, in it's full glory.  Or...some portion of it's glory.

We've been able to head over there on the weekends and peek in on the progress.  Nat gets there more often than I do, because she has the hard job of getting our kids around all day, everyday, so she finds herself in the neighborhood more than I do.

When I was there recently, I peered out back and saw this machine in the backyard and noticed the trench it ha…

Victoria Trumpetto - Main Street USA Choir Director

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Back a week or so ago, I posted a picture of Nat with Ms. Hildegard Olivia Harding - the latest of the Citizens of Main Street USA and that brought our catalog up to four including her and the Mayor, the reporter and the Fire Chief.

Today, that's me and Victoria Trumpetto, Main Street Choir Director.   When we talked to her, she said she ran the singing lessons store on Main Street - where, if you listen closely, you can hear someone doing their vocal scales.  She was lovely and had a few good lines tee'd up to use on all of us.  Maybe not as strong as the Mayor, but she gave us plenty of her time.  
She now makes five on the Characters of Main Street USA down at Walt Disney World.  There's one more coming that we took a picture with that I'll post later this week.  



An IPA and Sour Craft Beer Tasting With Dr. Jeff

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This is the 3rd or 4th 'craft beer tasting with Dr. Jeff' that I've shared here on the blog.  The rest of them can be found here on the "Dr. Jeff" tag page with the most recent one being an IPA session.  We've had sour sessions and stout sessions, too.

This time, we had a combo session.  IPAs, sours, stouts.  It was fun.

The first up is that beautiful bottle on the left.  Can't find it on BA.  On the top right is Your Wish is Granted IPA.  Not rated on BA, either.    And on the right is a Transiet Artisan Ale.  Not sure which one, though!  I guess I didn't take too good of photos that night, eh?

Live Oak Tree At Disney's Port Orleans Riverside

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Ever since our first trip down to Charleston, Natalie and I have been beyond fascinated by the Live Oak species of trees.  We doubled down on Live Oaks during our visits to Sea Island over the years.  And we've been dreaming of the day when we could plant a Live Oak on our property.  (Alas, it doesn't appear that they'd survive our climate as they are marked for Hardiness Zones 7-10.  And for sure, we wouldn't get the Spanish Moss on them which add to the dreamy effect!)

Everytime we go on a tour or stay at a place that notes their Live Oaks, we perk up and pay attention.  And Disney is no different.  Out at Port Orleans Riverside, you can find a few of them including this one out on Ol' Man Island behind the pool.  There's the sign above that reads:

On Earth Day April 22, 1991, this majestic Live Oak was placed in its new home before you.  This Oak and its companion at the entrance of Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside each weighed 85 tons and were tr…

Found: A Dreamy High Life Sign

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I thought this would look good in our place.  But, alas, it didn't come home with us.  Not sure who John Henniger was, but I love his sign.  This was hanging in the Lake Geneva Antique Mall and it was in great shape!

Was "The Best Milwaukee Beer" before the "Champagne of Beers" tagline?  Who knows why it says that because the MillerCoors blog makes it seem like the Champagne line was around since the beginning?

PizzeRizzo - Great Decor, Bad Pizza

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The pizza?  It wasn't great.  But the details?  They're awesome.  But, I mean...this isn't the first place run by a rodent that serves pizza, right?  Charles Entertainment's place is terrible, too.

Vintage Santa The Painter Planter

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Found this awfully cute Santa planter up at the antique store and if we had a place to call our own?  It would have been mine!  But, because we haven't had Christmas at our own place for two years, I have no idea how much space we have and how much vintage Christmas stuff like this we have!

If he's still there this fall?  I'll buy him.  I'm pretty sure he's a Holt Howard based on the face and eyes.

But...what is Santa painting anyway?

Vintage Paper Roll Note Stand And Cutter

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On Sunday, I posted about the new antique mall that appears to be the one we'll be frequenting now that we've shifted from Michigan to Wisconsin (despite the dude being a wingnut...).  In that post, I showed off the new "Vintage Christmas Motherlode", but have to say that there was a lot more there than I even took in during our visit.

And, as I mentioned, I did, indeed, buy something.  That's this metal paper roll holder.  It hold a 3.5" roll of paper on a wooden dowel  and if you pull the paper out and hold down the thin metal piece, it serves as a 'cutter' of sorts and you can tear off clean note-sized pieces of paper.

I was drawn to this because I'm always scrounging for post-it notes and the idea of being able to have short or long or...extra long notes was appealing to me.  I can pull on the paper for as long of a length as I need, then press the metal cutter down and tear.  Suddenly, I have a note paper that's just long enough for t…

Flying Fish Added To Coaster Collection

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This is the 15th coaster added to the Coaster Collection here on the blog.  You can find them all here on the Coaster Collection tag page.   The Flying Fish is a table service restaurant located at Disney's Boardwalk Resort out the backdoor of Epcot Center.  And it is fancy.  Like....pretty fancy.  But not fancy enough that we stuck out with our kids.  We did, however, make a fairly early reservation so that likely helped.

This is the 15th coaster in total, but is part of a sub-collection of five (and counting)Disney coasters including this one from the Boathouse, the Skipper Canteen, the Disneyland Hotel and Walt Disney World resort hotels.

There's a New Vintage Christmas Motherlode

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I've been chronicling something I've been calling the "Vintage Christmas Motherlode" at the Great Lakes Antique Mall up in Coloma since back in 2013.  I posted about it as recently as this past June when we were getting ready to say 'see you later' to Coloma.

But, now that we're spending time up in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, one of the first orders of business was to discover the local antique mall.  Either Nat's parents or her sister found one just a ten minutes away in Lake Geneva.  So on a trip up there earlier this year, we went.  A bit smaller than the one in Coloma but a lot more furniture.  Turns out the guy at the counter is a wingnut and was getting all excited about the prospect of the incoming President-Elect, so it has that going for it...

But, in we went to wander around.

And lo and behold...what did I discover:  a new vintage Christmas Motherlode!  Look at that case.  Some pretty great stuff.  Ornaments, lights, little figures, Putz house…

Ms. Hildegard Olivia Harding, Citizen of Main Street

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Adding another resident of Main Street USA to our list of meeting with this photo of Nat and two ladies.  I'll post and talk about the woman on the right in a different post, but let's talk about the woman on the left:  Ms. Hildegard Olivia Harding.

From the Disney Parks Blog:
Miss Hildegard Olivia Harding is a socialite and suffragette, President of the Main Street Social Society, Women’s Auxiliary and Decorating Committee, and works diligently with the women, educating them on Women’s Rights (as her friend Taby says “Those who don’t believe in Women’s Rights should watch out for Women’s Lefts.”).
Hildegard’s finger is in every pie, especially chocolate. “One can never have enough chocolate!” Miss Harding owns the Emporium and has an apartment upstairs where she throws lavish functions, often serving her specialty- calamari scones. Look at that "Women Unite" sash she's wearing!  Couldn't be a more perfect meeting for Natalie and these ladies right at the tur…

Framing Of Our #NewOldFarmhouse

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Progress, progress, progress at our new place.  Just ten days ago, I posted about the incredible installation of our water main (under a huge tree!) and now we're already moving on to framing of the house.  And by the time you all read this post, there will be even more done!

The crew is busy putting up the deck, walls and ceilings and now the place is starting to really FEEL like a house.  It was an abstract idea for a long time, but now that you can walk into each of the rooms and actually BE there?  It's totally real and it is totally crazy.   Almost hard to convince myself that this project involves us and our family.  We're not just watching something happen.  We're watching OUR something happen!

And...crazy?  Yeah, crazy like the weight of two years of wandering around as a family is coming off of our shoulders.  Sure, there's a TON more time to go, but suddenly, we have a place.  We have a shared goal.  We have a home.  It is just made out of lumber, there&…

Hidden Mickey In the Sawn Balusters At Port Orleans Riverside

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As part of building our #NewOldFarmhouse out in Downers Grove (I posted about the sewer and water main installation here on the blog earlier this month), we're thinking about including a big, deep front porch that provides a lot of appeal from the street and gives us something we loved in our old place at 274 a place to gather and spend time in the mornings.

As part of that new porch design, we've been look at something called Sawn Balusters.  Those are the parts that connect the top and bottom of the front railings.  Sawn is different than what they called "turned".

Turned balusters are either square or cylindrical and are exactly that:  turned on a lathe or cut from a piece of wood.  Sawn balusters are common from the earlier part of the 20th century and are flat, not turned.  They can be of various thickness.  We've worked with our builder to come up with a custom pattern for them (more on that in a different post), but they can take the form of anything you…

Dole Whip? Three Dole Whips!

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There are a few movies that are tear-jerkers for me.  I mean...no matter how many times I watch them, they turn on the water works.  When Tom Hanks is torn up about executing John Coffey but can't bring himself to say those words.  Or just about any part involving Rudy's dad in the movie Rudy.  But, in particular this scene.


Every.time.  The music, the build-up.  The whole thing between Rudy and his Dad and brother.

That line.

"This is the most beautiful sight deez eyes have ever seen."

That was going to be the caption for this photo below.  But that's ridiculous, right?  Or maybe not.  Those of you who are in the know, might agree with Rudy's Dad.  Especially because they're floats.


New Year's Eve At The Polynesian Village Resort

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If you find yourself down by the Seven Seas Lagoon on New Year's Eve, go down to the beach at the Polynesian and plant yourself.  On December 31st, they do a show early at 7 pm, then another show at Midnight.  If you're staying Club Level at the Polynesian, they set up a little seating area with wooden chairs that give you a really great view.

These photos don't do the show justice, because they launch what they call 'perimeter fireworks'  so the view isn't just straight ahead, but feels like the entire horizon between the Grand Floridian and the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary.  And during the Midnight show, they also launch fireworks from this middle island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon.  Yeah...that one that the ferry boat goes by every time?  That one.

The kids didn't make it until Midnight, but Nat and I did.  Here's a look at what we saw from our balcony in the Hawaii building.  We snapped a few photos, but there was no substitute for t…

So Long, MOD Pizza Elmhurst

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In a bit of a bummer, the MOD Pizza place on St. Charles near Route 83 is closed up and gone.  This place was right next door to the big hockey store on the south side of the road.  I covered the opening of the store back in September of 2015 and I really liked the place.  I guess that the people of Elmhurst voted with their wallets and decided to support other places.

The sign in the window claims that they 'moved', but we know better, right?

Meeting Elena of Avalor At Epcot

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Disney has added a few new 'princesses' (although...I'm not sure who, exactly *is* a princess these days because my Mother-in-law just informed me that Elsa from Frozen isn't a Princess.  She's a Queen, so maybe that's why?) recently including this one above named Elena of Avalor who lives in the world of Sophia the First.  The girls love Sophia, so it was a great treat to meet this one at the backdoor of Epcot Center down at Walt Disney World.  She was hanging out right past the bridge between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions and had basically no line.

And this princess?  She.was.really.great!  Had it all down.

Nat and I both think that because she was in such a low-profile location with very little traffic (she had NO LINE!), that maybe this was a Princess-in-Training?  If she was, she'll graduate VERY FAST because she handled the girls quite well.


Not sure how long she's destined to be around, but if you can catch her, it's worth it - e…

Salvaged Transom Window For Our New Place

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Right at the turn of 2017, I posted a photo of a couple of salvaged windows we're going to use in our new old house and mentioned that we also bought a transom window that came from the same place.

Here, above, is a look at the transom window right next to one of the square windows that are destined for our library room.  The transom is 74" wide by 18" tall (that's the glass part) and the frame adds a few inches each way.  We really love it and it was in our budget to buy this one.  There was another one that just was priced a bit too high, but was pretty awesome.

We're going to use this transom in the 'interior' side of the vestibule that we're building right by our front door and I'm hoping we can work to incorporate the design in other places - maybe another transom?  We can't get too nuts, though...right?

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - Art @ York For Feb 2017

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Well, well, well.  Now...*this* is a film worth talking about as part of the Art @ York Series at the York Theatre in the Elmhurst City Centre.  'The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years' is the choice from Classic Cinemas for the February 2017 Art @ York Feature.  You can see more here on their site, but it is being shown on Wednesday February 8th at 1 pm and 7 pm.

And it was done by Ron Howard?  Yep!
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years is based on the first part of The Beatles' career (1962-1966) - the period in which they toured and captured the world's acclaim. Ron Howard's film will explore how John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this phenomenon, "The Beatles." It will delve into their inner workings - how they made decisions, created music and built their collective career together - all the while, highlighting The Beatles' extraordinary musical gifts and their remarkable…

Even More Vestibule Tile Inspiration Courtesy of PizzaRizzo

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All the way back in November, I shared a photo that showed off square tiles, set in a pattern that was from the queue of a ride that I thought might serve as good inspiration for the tile in our vestibule.  Just a week or so ago, I came across another tile pattern that stopped me in my tracks.  That's it above.  
This is the ordering section of the new PizzaRizzo restaurant and as you can see above, is a mix of a main pattern and a few borders.  This uses both hexagons and squares.  Check out the close-up below to see how the hex's and the squares work together.  

I'm out of the tile-selecting business (that's Nat's territory), but knowing she's a reader, here's hoping that this will influence her a bit in one of these directions.  She's already ruled out my first choice:  which was to put our last name in tile.  Then I wanted the house number.  Kinda like this.  Or even this with it smaller in one corner of the vestibule.   But I think she passed on t…

Grade School Crew: Festivus Miracle!

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This was a real Festivus miracle!  I met up with all of these Frankfort Tigers for Festivus late last year and had loads of fun hearing their stories and laughing it up.  Wonderful crew and so lucky to see them all.  I didn't stay for the feats of strength, but I'd guess I could take at least one of these guys and pin them.  At least one.

Progress: Water Main Installation

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There's been some progress on our new old house over at Hilltop including the installation of the sewer line and the water main.  The photo above shows the trench with the water main laying in the bottom of it and most of the photo is unremarkable, but at the top, there's something that happens that I was surprised by:  they bore *under* this massive tree on the property and ran the water line right UNDER the tree.

Here's a close-up:


We really wanted to save this tree and this seemed like the best way to both preserve the tree and to solve the location of the water main.  Pretty neat to see them go right under the root system.

My Dad has said that building a custom home is a full-on problem-solving project as there are dozens of little decisions that need to be made everyday like this one.

366 Posts in 2016

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One of the things that I failed to do as we crossed into the new year was to look back at the #everyday pledge of posting something here on my diary online.  For the past few years (starting in 2010), as one of my New Year's Resolutions, I worked to write something (as Neil Steinberg calls it) #everygoddamnday and flex my writing muscles while documenting the people, places and things in my orbit.

I've hit 365 posts a few years:  2010, 2011 and 2015.  I was just short in 2012 and in 2014, I wrote a ton of posts elsewhere, but not here on the main blog.

But last year?  I had 366 posts.  Yep.  Most posts ever.  And that's because it was a leap year.  I also wrote 80 posts on our family blog and countless links over at my link blog.

But, one of my other resolutions sat there on the shelf:  my mobile app idea has kind of been on the backburner, but I'm doubling down on making it real this year again.

So far, in 2017, I'm off to a good start and that's even with …

Solemn Oath Brewery Coasters

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Saw these at the taproom of the Solemn Oath Brewery out in Naperville on a recent visit.  Added to the Coaster Collection here on the blog.  By my reckoning, this marks the 14th coaster in the collection that you can see here.

This isn't the first time I've written about the fine folks at Solemn Oath Brewery.  You can see all the posts here on the SOB tag page.

Toy Story Mania Opening Day 2008 Pin Featuring Woody and Buzz

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The Babe found and traded for this 8 year old pin from Disneyland that marks the 'opening day' of Toy Story Midway Mania from 2008.  Traded for it.

That means that *someone* bought this pin eight years ago.  Held on to it for eight years.  Brought it all the way to Disney World and then decided that one of the ratty pins on the typical pin board was 'better' than this one and decided to trade for it.

I can't find a lot about this pin online, but there is this eBay listing and PinPics has a listing showing the pin, too.

The Babe snatched it and this one will go on her pin board right next to her Minnie as Mary Poppins and this Christmas pin from 2009 from the Polynesian that she traded for on a previous trip.

Happy Birthday Mickey Pin From WDW

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Mickey the Mouse was born on November 18th, 1928.  And we happened to be in the parks on November 18th of 2016.  As we walked in, they handed out these cute pins.  They're all over eBay for up to $7 a piece, which is nuts.  Ours will be on the girls pin boards where they'll be right in line with their other pins they've collected/traded for over the years.

Elsa From Frozen Very Merry Christmas Party 2016 Pin

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Day 3 of these Very Merry Pins.  First was the Passholder one.  Then was the Lilo and Stitch one.  Today is the Frozen one.  And this is the first one that kinda makes sense with the whole snowflake thing on the front of the cover that opens.  These pins all have 2 pin backs and because of that (and the weight of them because of the hinged front that opens!), we're basically am resigned to having them *just* be on the girls pin boards.  They can't really be worn by them because they're so heavy.

The year has started out *very* Disney-heavy (and Disney pins, to be specific), but that's mostly because I'm working to empty out the queue of posts and photos from our last trip.  Unfortunately for those of you who don't care one bit about Disney pins, I have bad news for you:  brace yourself for a few more days.  There's more coming!  And those of you who know us, probably are expecting a few more of these in the next few weeks.  eeek!  The collections are grow…

Lilo And Stitch 2016 Very Merry Christmas Party Pin

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Yesterday was the Passholder version.  Today is one of the 'normal' versions that the team at Disney World put out during their annual Very Merry Christmas Party.  This one opens just like the Passholder version but features Lilo and Stitch and a 'sandman' that is their version of a snowman.  This one, too, is destined for one of the girls' pin boards in their new rooms.


2016 Very Merry Christmas Party Passholder Disney Pin

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One of the girls picked up this pin from Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party late last year for their board and if you look closely, you'll see that it is a 'Passholder' version, which is pretty nice.  All of the Very Merry pins have this same 'look' of being openable with that snowflake thing on the front.  We got a few of these, so I'll share them in the next few days.


Christmas Haul: Lord Nut White Cheddar and Jalapeno Peanuts

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One of the gifts that one of my sisters gave me were these Lord Nut White Cheddar and Jalapeno peanuts.  You can find out more about them here on the "Who is Lord Nut?" site (which is cute, right?)

I cracked open this can one day over break in the car and it never left the van.  We scarfed them down quick.

If you come across some Lord Nuts at a party, plant yourself near that bowl.  Don't mingle.  Just stay there and horde them to yourself.  Get a tall frosty beverage to wash them down, but trust me....don't mingle.  Just plant yourself.


New Year, New Windows

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About a week ago, we went to a salvage and antique shop with Nat's parents and her sister on the northside to pick out some windows for our new place.  We ended up buying this matching pair of beveled glass windows that will go on the southside exterior wall in the library up front of the house.  We also bought a really sweet transom that I'll post a photo of at some point.

With the new year here, our attention turns to the construction of our new house.  And despite it being a long, long, long process, I think both Nat and I are excited to see it come to life... like...really come to life in terms of being built!  These windows are the first thing we've *bought* for the new place, so this brought an extra level of reality to the situation.

We put in some vintage windows in our first place on Indiana Street and I always liked how they transformed the house a bit with an 'new old house' feel.  It was one of the best decisions we made.  I'm hoping we'll sa…