Showing posts from November, 2012

*More* of Elmhurst Now on Google StreetView

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).

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Vintage Rotating Tinsel Christmas Tree - It Works!

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.)

Poplar, Not Popular Hobby Boards

These aren't the hottest selling items, guys....

DIY Outdoor Candle Lamps

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 them.  I…

Elmhurst 3rd Ward Alderman - Petitions for Ballot Access

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 District…

Black Friday @ Target (Actually Thursday Night)

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.

Christmas Tree Farm Trip - 2012

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.

Beaujos Colorado Style Pizza - Idaho Springs

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.

The Last Waltz - Required Thanksgiving Viewing - 2012

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!

Spaghetti Trim Santa and His Sleigh

In addition to the sweet little Christmas girl, we also bought this Santa and Sleigh for the deal of the day at this year's Vintage Christmas Antique Fair.  This has spaghetti trim like the Santas we bought last year.

Christmas Girl - Vintage Christmas Fair Find

We picked up this little sweetheart at our annual trip to the Vintage Christmas Fair this past weekend.

She looks A LOT like the one we bought at the Coloma Antique Market in early January of this year.

Breckinridge Brewery Christmas Ale - Mini Keg

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.

Benet vs. Lincoln-Way East in 7A Semi-Finals - 2012

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 a pe…

What good tavern doesn't have a beer maid?

Mantleburg's population grew by 1 today as the recently added tavern enlisted this fine lady to serve frosty brews to the folks who stop by.

Lemax Menards Saw Mill

This mill looks like it fits in really well with the mountain/resort side of Mantleburg, doesn't it?  Menards slapped their name on it this year, so for everyone else but me, that probably is a turn-off.

Walgreens in the Christmas Village Game

I was in Walgreens over the weekend when I spotted these four Christmas Village buildings for sale.  They're priced pretty aggressively, but I'm not sure Mantleburg needs a slum.

Lemax Caribou Hotel & Saloon

With all the tourism that the Carousel is going to bring, one would think that Mantleburg could support a hotel.  We'll just have to see what Mayor Johnson decides.

Lemax Kris' Tree Farm

This year, Lemax came out with another tree lot.  Last year it was Frosty's.  This year it is Kris' - and it's more of a "tree farm" than lot.

I'm thinking that there isn't enough action in Mantleburg to warrant competing tree businesses.  Poor old Frosty would starve, right?

Don't Go Backwards, ILGOP...

The Chicago Sun-Times called it a “bloodbath”. The Chicago Tribune described the Illinois Republican Party as being in a “gloom”. Whatever you call it, if you are a Republican in Illinois you can’t be pleased with the outcomes of the 2012 election. Worse, without action, the trend will only get worse and Republicans will soon become an extinct species in Illinois.

In a post-mortem piece in Crain's, a GOP operative said:
"The Republican party has to take a hard look at who are the new people who turned out in this election, and who else is out there? If we don't, this will become Massachusetts for a generation." Christine Dudley, a GOP consultant and former executive director of the state party in its mid-1990s heyday, said the real problem is that "our party is driven by 25- to 40-year-old men sitting at a computer and looking at data who are driven to win, (but have) no real knowledge of the real world." Really?  We should dump a data-driven approach?  Ju…

Mantleburg Gets a Tavern?

The folks in Mantleburg are set for a Merry Christmas as we've now seen the building permits come across for the Haypenny Tavern.  The economy took a tool on the community last year, but 2012 looks like their will be growth for Mantleburg.

First Time in the Garage Since Spring

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.

Galbani Precious Mozzarella - Costco

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.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Elmhurst Christmas

The Elmhurst City Center has put up their Christmas lights and the downtown area looks pretty festive already.

A Trip to Casa Bonita in Denver

Thanks to two of my brother-in-laws, we went to this place while we were in Denver.  Those of you who are South Park fans will get a little chuckle out of this.  Those of you who don't watch the show, this will be lost on you.

1st Time and 5th Time Voter(s) - November 2012

This morning, Nat and I took both of our girls to vote at Elmhurst City Hall.  And...I'll have you note that I took both girls into the booth with me so they can see the *right* way to cast their ballots.  In Illinois, that typically means voting for losers.

They were both incredibly well behaved!  As a result, they both got their "I Voted!" stickers.

Here's a photo of The Babe as a first-time voter in February of 2010.
Here's a photo of The Babe as a second-time voter in November of 2010.
Here's a photo of The Babe as a third-time voter in April of 2011.
And...there's no photo of her at the polling place from earlier this spring. me!  She was there!

Find Your Polling Place

Do you know where to go to vote on Tuesday? Head here and plug your address into the little widget.  You should see your polling place and what races you can vote in.

 Yes, the sad truth of the matter is that if you live in Illinois, our votes for President don't really matter. And, due to the Gerrymandering done by Speaker Mike Madigan, our votes for Congress likely don't matter that much either.

 But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't vote, right?  It's our only opportunity to have your say.

So....What time are you going?

Congrats Coach Joe Newton and the York Dukes!

I was walking by one of our two running stores in Downtown Elmhurst and saw this message on the window.  Turns out Coach Joe Newton and the York Dukes won their 28th State Championship.  That's one more than the New York Yankees!  Pretty incredible stuff.

The Rockies - 2012

The altitude didn't seem to bother the Babe.

Does Mantleburg need a Biergarten Beer House? Yes, please.

Take a peek at what Menards has this year from Lemax.  Me thinks that Mantleburg is going to come out of the recession with a bunch of new building permits this winter.

Last Night's Tally - 2012 Halloween

We had 327 trick-or-treaters come to our door last night.  Now...I have to admit, that my nephew wanted to do some of the 'tracking', so he was writing down some of the numbers so this may be fudged a bit, but not by a ton.

That's 86 kids that we "know" (or live on our block/next block), 9 adults with no kids, 6 teens with no costumes, 1 girl who refused peanut M&M's and the rest made up of kids that we "don't know" and don't live in our neighborhood.

The numbers saw a big jump this year and are on a clear upward trajectory.

Last year, we had 269 total.  And only 37 kids that we "knew".
In 2010, we had 236 total.
In 2009, we had 184 total.