Menards Halloween Is Up - 2017

This past weekend marked the turning of the Menards seasonal store inventory over from Summer/back-to-school to Halloween stuff.  And it is the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year!  I've chronicled this transition to Halloween in years past including 2016 here.  2015 here.  And 2012 is here.

Now that we've moved to Downers Grove, we don't have a Menards super close any longer - but we have two (Bolingbrook and Glendale Heights) that are the same 15 or 20 minute drive away.  The photo I took above is from Bolingbrook - which is an older-style store.  But their Halloween section is pretty robust and goes well beyond this Halloween Village set-up from Lemax.  Blowmolds and inflatables?  They have a bunch of them including a blinking-eye owl that I have my eye on.   Our new neighbors are going to love the Inflatable City, aren't they?  In Elmhurst, Nat was totally fine with inflatables in the backyard, but drew the line at the front of the house.  Guessing w…

The Cheeses of Via Napoli

One of the better meals (for me, at least) in Epcot's World Showcase is a pizza pie in the Italy pavilion at Via Napoli.  We've dined there a few times and I've always enjoyed the meal and the show.  The show, you ask?  Yeah....the show.  
In this case, the show is the open kitchen where the pizzaiolos stretch the dough, dress their skins and get them in and out of the ovens.   Like a kid in the Marshall Field's windows at Christmastime, I press my nose against the glass and stare at them assembling and baking the pies for everyone.  Nat will tell you that this isn't an uncommon sighting; just about every pizza place that we go to that has an open kitchen/oven, I'll find time to watch the goings ons.  
On this visit to Via Napoli, I was drawn to the cheese bins and the labels that they had applied to them.  The photos you see here are taken from my perspective, so that's why the labels appear upside down.  Above, you'll see the mozzarella station - whi…

Jungle Cruise Skipper Disney Pin/Badge

This one is more badge than pin, but it is sold in the pin store down at Disney Springs, so we'll call it a pin.  But, I'll also call it something else:  awesome.  
This Jungle Cruise Skipper is - as you can see - Limited Edition.   It is pretty big and it has 2 backs on it, but that didn't stop the Babe from wearing it and getting a bunch of compliments on it.
The Jungle Cruise is Nat's favorite ride inside of the Magic Kingdom and the Babe really likes it too. Especially since she's been an honorary skipper and piloted a Jungle Cruise boat into the dock. Here's the video from a few years ago:

Another Quick Bay Area Trip

Another *super quick* trip to San Francisco.  And...another blog post and photo about it.  Back in February of 2015, I posted an almost identical photo from the Edelman office that you see above. Doesn't appear that much has changed at that intersection over the past few years.   Did I take in the sights?  Nope.  Not really.  Mostly just worked and went to meetings.  Then headed to the airport to hustle home.  The Chamber of Commerce did, however, turn the fog machine on for me...which was an awfully nice tough.

WDW Monorail Pilot Wings Sticker

This is the third post this week showing off a 'new to us' little freebie/item from down at Walt Disney World that we picked up on a trip.  The first was a new Transportation Card from the Friendship boats around the Epcot Resort lake area.  The second was the 'Honorary Custodian' sticker that the King of the Ball Tossers was given.   Today it is this sweet Walt Disney World Monorail pilot wings sticker.

As we were walking up the ramp to board the Monorail at the Epcot Center, one of the Cast Members/Monorail Pilots directed us towards an open section.  Then, she whipped out a set of these stickers.  We've never seen them before, so they're totally new to us.  And the kids loved them.  All three of them put the stickers on - right after I took this photo.

In terms of ranking the 'coolest' factor of these freebies, I think these Monorail Pilot wings come in right behind the business card of the Honorable Christopher George Weaver, the Mayor of Mainstr…

Lady and the Tramp - Disney Pin

I have a soft spot for Lady and the Tramp.  With all the much newer, flashier Disney films/releases, I think this one moves to the back of most people's minds.  But, a movie with a Spaniel and a Schnauzer as the main characters?  Couldn't hit me more on the nose in terms of casting.  Well...I think that Lady is technically a Cocker Spaniel, but she's close enough to a King Charles that I consider her my own.  And growing up we had two dogs when I was a small kind.  Skipper and Max.  Both Schnauzers.  And both were barkers!  Max was a good dog.  Skipper, on the other hand, I don't remember much.  He was gone when I was a little kid, so I don't remember the end of his life.  Max was Vic's dog and he lived until she was a Freshman in college, so I have much fresher memories of him.  Max was a gentle dog.

So, when we encountered a Disney Cast member with a Lady and the Tramp pin on their lanyard, I naturally steered one of the girls in that direction.  Now, we…

WDW Honorary Custodian Sticker

Here's another fun little thing that the King of the Ball Tossers (KotBT) picked up when we were down last time at Walt Disney World.  Earlier this week, I posted a photo of a new Transportation Card we picked up on the Friendship IV.  We were in one of the parks and stopped somewhere eating popcorn out of one of those buckets that they sell you for $10 and give you $1.50 refills (best deal at WDW, amirite?!?!) and we must have dropped something like a paper cup.  The boy got out of the stroller and went over and picked it up and carried it to the garbage can and put it right in.  A Disney Cast Member in custodial must have been watching him and after he came back to the stroller, she came over and said "Hey!  Thanks for the help Little Buddy!"  And peeled off this sticker and handed it out.  The KotBT smiled big at her and took the sticker.  He shyly - as he usually does - buried his head into the side of the stroller.  I thanked her and we moved on.  A minute later, h…