This post marks the 354th - and final - post of 2012. That puts me 11 short of my annual goal of 365 posts - one each day. Not bad, but not the full Monty like the past two years. Between things at work, the addition of a new family member, a ton of travel (Disney World 2X this year alone!), a heck of a lot of projects and crafts around the house, and plenty of pizza eating and making, things around the Parrillo homestead were busy. 2013 looks to be another great year ahead and I'll be sure to chronicle all of it - in it's glorious minutia - right here on the blog. Here's to a great 2013. A great wife. Two great daughters. An amazing family. A good job. Even more surprises. And...maybe even another whole year of blogging (almost!).
Showing posts from 2012
In addition to the dollhouse for the girls, I have been making a rustic cowboy cooler for one of my brother-in-laws for Christmas. Last year, I made Equation Boy/Man a basketball rack (he had just put in a new hoop) and I had some cedar boards laying around, so this seemed like a nice project. Today, I put the hinges on top, epoxy'd in the spigot and put on the last coat of polycrilic. With just 2 more building days to go (Today and Saturday), I have to finish up a few of the last minute details and get this one done under the wire.
With Christmas just a few days away, the Elves at the Parrillo House have been getting busy trying to finish up some projects. I've been at this Dollhouse for the Babe for a few weeks and things are finally getting close to completion. Today, I made the shingles, painted them and tacked them on the roof tonight. I still have to make a few more for the other side and then fit in the floors. The walls are built, but waiting for my partner in crime to paper them up with wall paper. I don't have the stairs figured out, but by Saturday night, we'll have them built, painted and installed.
We 'finished' up the basement project last year before Christmas, but it took until today for me to finish painting the cabinet and re-attaching the cabinet front for the cabinet on the right. That side has a little bar sink in the cabinet, so I cut the front off of the drawer and had a big hole on that side for 12 months. I was using trim paint to cover the dollhouse, so while I had the brush out, I figured I'd paint the cabinets. Then, the compressor was down in the basement for the dollhouse project, too, so...what the heck. Let's finish this thing.
The forecast for later this week calls for snow followed by very cold weather. I know I'm hoping that the snow doesn't actually come, but that we get that brutal cold weather. Why's that? Because holding in my hand up there is a DIY snow machine. Add a pressure washer and compressor and we'll (hopefully) have some snow! The Parrillos will be having a white Christmas...
If the fact that the NIU Huskies from the Mid American Conference were playing in a BCS game while my Illini were at home licking their wounds wasn't bad enough, now the NIU athletic department is taking direct shots at us with a full page ad in the Sun-Times. "We look good in orange"? Really? I know that's a line about the Orange Bowl they're set to play in, but they're also rubbing it in a bit, right?
I got both end pieces framed up and built on the Babe's dollhouse. I used poplar boards because they were straight as an arrow and after building the two frames, I'm glad I did. They were easy to square up and with the help of the Kreg Pocket Screw Jig , they were easy to drill together without splitting.
On Saturday, we went to the Brookfield Zoo 'Holiday Magic' - along with thousands of our closest friends. We're members, so Nat and the girls go pretty regularly and she's never seen the parking lot as full as it was two nights ago. The lights were great and the star of the show is the music-sync'd Christmas tree display around the center pond/lagoon. They have 100ish trees lit up that rock-and-roll with the music. And fortunately, it isn't all Manheim Steamroller. A disappointment, however, was the animals. Most of them weren't around or they were inside and we couldn't go in to see them. The big cats, however were on the prowl, so that was kind of neat. Every other time we go see the lions and tigers and other cats, they just lay around on the rocks and yawn. We saw one stalk something - which, I think, ended up just being a shadow - but it was neat to see. If you're taking your kids, make sure you bundle up and bring some light-up t
Look what arrived via the mailman yesterday? My fan assembly for our Christmas Pyramid . Yep...that means we have another project we have to tackle in the next two weeks to get ready for the big day. I'm thinking I'm going to bring this thing to my mom's house for the big fest on the Eve. Another Christmas miracle!
I finished the eight candle lamps over the weekend and put them up on the steps to the house. They didn't stay in this position for very long and have moved up to be by the front door for the time being. I put flicker bulbs in them and at night they provide a nice orange-ish contrast to the little white traditional lights that we have up on other parts of our house.
Nothing more to say this year about our annual visit to Renegade except for: parking sucks. The place is way too packed, and what the Tribune said yesterday. We, did, however take our annual family photo. The Bird made it in there! Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2011 . Here's our Renegade photo from summer 2011 . Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2010 . Here's our Renegade photo from Holiday 2009 .
With the help of my brother-in-law Bill, I got my train table up and running last week. It is 5' X 9' and has a layout that is called "Round-n-Round the X-mas Tree". The Babe has had quite a lot of fun running the train around the track most days. My dad always put out his Lionel train during Christmastime when I was a kid and he gave me this set a few years back when the Babe was born. Although it takes up a lot of space, I really like having it set up for the holidays and will (hopefully) be putting it back up in the years to come.
These two guys were the final pieces we picked up at the Vintage Christmas Fair. They look great next to the Spaghetti Trim Santas and the little Christmas Tree girl . This piece has a couple of holes on the back and a large container, so I'm assuming it was a wall planter of some sort. Will we be mounting them on the wall? Not likely. I think Nat will stuff them full of candy canes and they'll find a spot on top of the piano next to our other choir boys.
For the past few years, you could go on Google Maps and see a few spots around town - mostly on North Avenue. But, this week, data from early October has been added to StreetView and now our block - and plenty of places across town - is able to be viewed. Pretty great stuff for us as residents but also a great economic development tool. Our City Centre is now on web for all to see. From anywhere in the world! You can navigate around in the map below to go up and down our block. So far, I haven't found anything too terribly interesting, but based on what is up on the marquee on the York Threatre ( Liev Shreiber's birthday ), the StreetView car came through town on October 4th. Less than two months later, the footage is usable. (and...our scarecrows are captured for all to see!) (If you're reading this in your email and can't see the map below, click here to see it on the site ). View Larger Map
Earlier this summer, I picked up this vintage Christmas Tree Turner from my folks house as they were cleaning out their attic . I knew we had this four-foot tinsel tree that we set up every year and figured it was going to be perfect use for the turner. I knew that it turns with no tree in it, but this is a 30+ year old motor. Would it turn with a tree in the base? You bet it would! (If you're reading this in your email and can't see the video below, you should click here to view the video on the site.)
Last night, I finished up the first - of eight - diy outdoor candle lamps. The inspiration and design came from Mrs. Martha Stewart , of course. That's a two-footer there in the photo and I have four of those along with four three-footers. I used 2" PVC pipe along with a 1.5" galvanized flange (the foot) and a 6" 1.5" (diameter) nipple to give it some stability. The light is a simple IKEA Hemma fixture. I primed the pvc with plastic primer than sprayed the pipe green. Due to the low temperatures and the fact that our detached garage isn't super warm right now, it took quite a while to cure. I brought them inside and within a few hours the paint had set up. Once that happened, I whipped out the hot glue gun and drizzled big globs of glue down the sides to replicate some faux candle wax which I painted white. I topped it with a flickering bulb and it turned out great! I have the other seven to hot glue/paint white then to make a platform for t
The City of Elmhurst has an important election coming up on April 9, 2013. In addition to electing a new Mayor (our Mayor won a seat on the County Board and is resigning from the City post in December), we're also going to be electing Alderman across all 7 Wards, City Clerk and the City Treasurer. After hearing from residents and neighbors as well as talking with my wife, I've begun weighing the decision to get back involved in local government. Last week, I went to City Hall and picked up a packet and have begun to circulate the petitions to 3rd Ward residents. I've long believed in "Citizen-Government" where individuals from every walk of life stand up to serve our government - at all levels - for a period of time, upon which they go back to their chose professions. The idea of a career politician was never considered by the founders of our country. I've served as a Trustee in the Village of Frankfort for six years and on the Frankfort Park Dist
Nat and I braved the (nice/warm/pleasant?) temperatures to try to capture some of the deals at Target on Thanksgiving night ahead of Black Friday. Here's a photo of the line wrapping around the Target building that must be 400-500 people long. We got what we came for - toys - but based on the number of tvs that were laying around, I'm thinking the electronics weren't moving as fast as they have in years past.
We packed up the whole clan and made our annual pilgrimage to Wilmington to chop down a few trees to put up in our living rooms. This year, we brought The Bird for the first time. If you know where we post the family blog posts about the girls, you can see even more photos of the trip over there! This is one of my favorite family traditions and really kicks off the holiday season in a big way for the Parrillos.
Did I ever tell you guys about how we went to the Colorado-pizza-touchstone Beaujo's? This location was in this really cute mountain town called Idaho Springs. Did we go in? Nope. We went to a different location that was closer to Nat's sister's house. I'll do a full review of the pies in a future post.
Since 2004 (and likely before, but 2004 on the web), I 've been recommending a viewing of The Last Waltz as a way to give thanks on Thanksgiving. With kids - and a Turkey Trot - my time to sit down and watch the whole thing has been diminished, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be breaking bread with Levon, Rick, Garth, Robbie and Richard. Here's my post from 2011 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2010 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2007 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2005 on The Last Waltz . Here's my post from 2004 on The Last Waltz . Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Nat picked up this 1.32 gallon mini keg at Standard Market right before Thanksgiving. It's from Breckenridge Brewery - which is surprisingly in Denver. I think Nat's sister and her husband are big fans of this place. The purchase wasn't really for us - but for Nat's two brothers who go all-in for various holiday/Christmas beers this time of year. In fact, they brewed their own (once again) that should be ready at next Christmastime. They'll be cracking open bottles of last year's brew in mid-December.
Last night, Nat and I dropped the girls off at her folks house and (after Vest Fest) went to Benedictine University to see the IHSA Class 7A Football Semifinals between the Benet Academy Redwings and the Lincoln-Way East Griffins. Nat is a *very* proud Benet Alum. And, I went to Lincoln-Way. Long story, but I consider myself a "Lincoln-Way Central Knight", but I went to school at Lincoln-Way East for 2 years (fresh/soph) and Central for 2 years (junior/senior). They had both campuses built when I was a student there, but there was *just* one school - called Lincoln-Way. So, it is with mixed-emotions that I root for the Griffins. While in my heart, I'm a Knight (graduated from the Central building, played football on the field at Central and have my photo up on the wall at Central), I have some connection to East. And...those of you who follow high school football know that while Central hasn't made a lot of hay in the past decade or so, East has emerged as
I spent a good part of Saturday, straightening out our garage. Back a few years ago, we built a 3 car garage that has - for the better part of the last year - housed 1 car. And a lot of bikes and toys and wagons, and trikes. My car has been sitting in the driveway all summer long, but last week when I was getting up early to go to Cardio Tennis, my windshield had a thin layer of frost across the whole thing. Winter was, indeed, near. So I dec-luttered and put a lot of our stuff up in the rafters to make room and after a few hours, I was able to drive my car into the space. And there's plenty of room for Nat's big grocery wagon. A win for everybody - but mostly me! Just in time for the cold front that is set to arrive this week.
Costco sells this Glabani Precious brand of low-moisture mozzarella in a two pound pack that comes pretty close to the price of a one pound block from the Jewel. They bill it as "Italy's Favorite Cheese brand" - which I was dubious of to begin with, but I went ahead and tossed it into the cart. It was cheap. I have to remember that, but it also wasn't that great. I used it on a few pies this weekend and it didn't pass the Babe's taste test. When I'm grinding up the cheeses for our pizza pies, she usually says she wants to "help" which means eating cheese. She took a handful of this stuff and didn't go back for more. Confirms my thoughts. I won't be re-buying this stuff again. I'll take the $3 hit and go with something from the Jewel like Sorrento - which was the best 'raw' flavor on the Slice taste test .