Showing posts from January, 2015

Another Vintage Santa Pot

I was cleaning out my draft posts from earlier this month and realized I didn't post on a few of these vintage Christmas finds we picked up.  Yesterday, I posted the pic of the little Christmas angel and today, here's this beefcake Santa Claus.  He has a little bit of wear and paint loss on his cheek, but he is different than the other Santas we have, so I couldn't pass him by.  Our cabinet was pretty full last year and now...looking at all the posts I've written in January this year, it appears we're going to have to start thinking about a new way to show these Christmas pots off next year.

This guy makes 5 new pots along with a few houses, a tray, and a pin all added this year.  (and...I have another post or two tee'd up). a bit of #housekeeping news, today is the 31st of January and I've kept at it with a post everyday.  #everygoddamnday as my favorite Chicago columnist Neil Steinberg puts it.

Vintage Christmas Girl Candle Holder

Here's another little Christmas girl that we picked up earlier this month in Michigan.  I think she must be part of a set that holds taper candles.  Might she be an angel?  I packed her away weeks ago, so I can't remember if she has a halo or not?

The important part?  The mark on the bottom:

Kilwins Elmhurst - Ready For Opening Day

I took this photo of the brand new Kilwin's in the Elmhurst City Center last week as they were putting the finishing touches on the place.  When the sign went up and announced that Kilwin's was coming to town, I was surprised by the timing.  After all...I mostly considered Kilwin's an ice cream shop.  That's all we really ever use it for up in Michigan.
But...then...I saw how they had this place set up with various cases and displays and remembered that they are, indeed, a big-time candy shop.  They make chocolates and carmels and such right there in the window in one of those big copper kettles.
And you know what?  When is the biggest season for candies?  It isn't Christmas, I would guess.  It *has* to be Spring.  Valentine's Day is staring us in the face.  Followed fast by Easter.  Followed by Mother's Day.  
Candy. Candy. Candy. I know why they rushed to get the place open in February and not wait until ice cream season.


Yesterday, I posted about this Bob Dylan song that I really like and included a YouTube video embed.  If you looked closely, you'll see the worst of humanity on display at the bottom of the video.

If You Ever Go To Houston... (Or How One Of Bob Dylan's Records Evaded Me)

Where have I been?  Bob Dylan put out a record in 2009 called 'Together Through Life' that has evaded me for five years.  What have I been doing to ignore this?  Turns charted at #1 in the US and the UK.  Really?  It is his 33rd studio album and includes his touring band and a guy named Mike Campbell from The Heartbreakers.  That's pretty cool.

From Google Play:
Together Through Life is the thirty-third studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 28, 2009, by Columbia Records. The album debuted at number one in several countries, including the U.S. and the UK. It is Dylan's first number one in Britain since New Morning in 1970.Dylan wrote all but one of the album's songs withGrateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, with whom he had previously co-written two songs on his 1988 album Down in the Groove. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan commented on thecollaboration: “Hunter is an old buddy, we could probably write a hundred …

Goldie Box And The Tea Cup Ride As Built By The Babe

For Christmas, the Babe picked up a few more Goldie Box sets including the 'Builders Survival Set' that includes lots of parts and some new builds.  One of them - and the one that the Babe immediately gravitated towards was the tea cup ride.  You can see what she built here and I was really impressed that it actually worked!

Some of the parts weren't a super tight fit and the orange band kept falling off the wheels, but when you turn the handle the thing whirls around.   And...most importantly...light up her face.  She was geeked out over building it and wanted to show it to everyone who was around.

And...isn't that the point?  This is, after all, a super girl-y girl.  She likes dresses and ballet and shopkins and pink.  Anything pink.  But...Goldie Blox scratch her right where she itches.  She's into them big time.  And is learning how to solve problems and build things.

So...thanks, Goldie Blox!

My First Chicago Blackhawks Game

A few weeks back, I was invited to watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars by a friend who lives in Elmhurst.  I *think* I've been to a couple of 'Hawks games before (I believe Matt - the Mayor organized a trip to the United Center during one of the Christmas Breaks while we were in college (the late 90's) and I have a faint recollection of going to the Blackhawks game with my little league baseball coach and his son when I was really small.

But...I can't quite confirm those things in my I'm claiming this as my FIRST Blackhawks game.  It *is* the first one I've been to since the team has been good the past few years, so that's something, right?

Oh...and they won in overtime, too!  It was pretty awesome.  We then ran to the car and got out of the parking lot pretty easy.

I do have one beef, though.  They Hawks wear red jerseys at home.  That's too bad.  If I was a season ticket holder, I'd be pushing the team to reverse th…

Georges Briard Designs Vintage Santa Tray

This tray was one of Nat's finds this past trip to the Great Lakes Antique Mall.  She picked it up, looked at the price, then did some comparison shopping on Etsy and said it was a deal. is now ours!  It went away for the year, but will be a nice surprise next season when we pull our stuff out.  It fits the criteria for me (made in Japan) and for her (has a pretty cute set of Santas on it), so it is a winner.

Check out the back below here for the mark and Japan stamp:

The Mail-in Bumble Finally Arrived

Back in November, I posted a photo of the foursome of figures that we picked up from the 50th Anniversary Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer set at Menards.

Part of the deal was that when you buy all four, you get 4 different codes you have to enter on the distributor's website and you unlock the code to get a free mail-in Bumble.  We did that back in November and right before Christmas, this guy showed up in the mail.

The four we bought at the store all came with little batteries in them, but this guy requires AAA batteries to be put in.  Because he arrived so late, he didn't get much attention this year, but I packed him away with the other four, so he'll be in heavy rotation with the girls next season, I'm thinking.

Get This Quinoa Out Of My Oatmeal! (Or Don't)

I've been on an oatmeal kick in 2015.  Eating it at home.  Even eating it out at restaurants.  The stuff is billed as being great for your health and cholesterol.  So...I'm giving it a shot and I've kind of figured out a way to make it taste good (brown sugar, bananas, vanilla almond milk).

So, Nat came home with this box of Quinoa and Oatmeal combined.  It takes a bit longer than normal steel cut oatmeal (20 min for this vs. <10 min for the normal stuff), but it was pretty good.  I don't know if it filled me up any more than normal, but I'm willing to give it even more tries.

Vinylmations: Not *Another* Collection, Right?

These guys above are called Vinylmations.  They're a collectible series of things that Disney sells both in the stores and at the parks that you buy 'blind'.  You buy one from a series, but you aren't sure which one you'll get.

And...they're HUGE in parts of the web.  There are literally thousands of 'blind box' unboxing videos of these things on YouTube.  We now have three of them.  The two on the ends are from Toy Story and the guy in the middle is from Sleeping Beauty (I think).

They aren't cheap but people seem to be glomming on to these things in a big way.  So far, the Babe and the Bird, not to mention the Champ (the newest Parrillo!) are into these just yet.  They like the pins (more on that soon) and the Bird is all over Shopkins (which is basically the same thing but not Disney and cheaper), so as long as I don't cave when we go to the DStore, we'll be free and clear of these things.  But...that is a big 'as long as', bec…

Our Christmas Decorations Packed Up - January 2015

Just placing this photo here as a reminder to myself this fall when I try to drag all the Christmas stuff out of our crawlspace.  This year, I put away 10 tubs, the advent box, the nativity box and 2 other small boxes on the top right.   Now I'll have a reference photo to understand if I have everything out for the 2015 Christmas season.

The reason for this is that this fall, I pulled out ALL of the tubs that had *some* Christmas stuff in them.  There was like 22 tubs total.  Lots of them were half filled with stuff and a bunch of them had things in the bottom of the tubs that we stopped using at Christmas (like old lights, plastic ornaments, old tree skirts, etc).

This year, when re-packing our stuff up in January, I consolidated everything into these slightly smaller tubs.  (That was the other problem...last year, we were using lots of big tubs - you know the kind - the ones that you have to spread your arms really far apart to carry them).  These are easy to handle, can'…

Oh, Squatty Potty...How I Adore You

I participated in the Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange this past Christmas season and was matched with a woman in western Massachussets who was a foodie/cook.  I bought her the Flavor Bible based on her profile.

My Secret Santa had sent me a note before Christmas saying that my gift was delayed because it was on backorder.  I waited and waited and waited.  In fact, Reddit bugged me to mark my gift as 'not received' because I think they wanted to close down the exchange and re-match folks. Santa was persistent.  At first, I thought I was getting scammed.  That...this dude was just emailing me to cover his rear in the Reddit system but that I was going to get shut out.  But...what was in it for him?  He could have just used (as I did) a throw-away account and moved on.

He emailed me a few times saying that things were on their way and then last week, he finally delivered a UPS tracking number.  So...he was legit.  My Secret Santa gift was on the way.

When it arrive…

Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joe's Expansion

When we were up in Coloma, we stopped at Silver Beach Pizza down in St. Joseph and I was surprised by the construction. They're expanding to add 70 new seats to the restaurant which will be a big help.  Not sure it is enough based on how popular this place is, but it should make the line move faster at checkin.

I'm guessing they're aiming to have this new addition open and running for Memorial Day to hit the crowd surge they get during the summer.  We'll have to go back to check it out on our next trip to see the progress.

Our Christmas Tree - 2014 Edition

Our Christmas Tree met it's demise last week when I hauled it out to the curb.  But before it went, it was a fine tree.  In fact...I think it might have been our best tree yet.

As usual, it was a Fraser Fir and we bought it from the same place down in Wilmington.  But...the height worked out great and it had a really nice shape.

The tree dried out a bit this year.  The day we bought it, I filled up the chamber with water and then went to bed.  When I woke up, it was bone dry.  They can never let your tree go dry.  The needles didn't totally fall off but as I was taking to the door, there was a huge trail of needles and clumps that I left behind.

Note to self:  figure out a way to ensure the tree stays submerged that first night.

Here's the post of our 2013 Tree.  We kept it in the same position once again.
Here's the post (on google+) of our 2012 Tree
Here's the post of our 2011 Tree
Here's the post of our 2010 Tree

Earned My Africa Badge From Fitbit (5K miles)

5000 miles walked, run, shuffled and crawled.  Back in June, Fitbit gave me my UFO badge for the number of flights of stairs I've walked.

This quantified self stuff is kinda interesting, isn't it?  (and fun, too!)

January Snow Day With The Girls

When the shoveling is done (or mostly done...), the girls wanted to play.  Don't mind if we do.

Vintage Spaghetti Trim Santa Salt Shaker (By Himself)

For a while, I was focusing on collecting spaghetti trim Santas so whenever I see one that is reasonable in price, I grab him.  In this case, he was on his own and missing Mrs. Claus (the pepper shaker), but he was cheap so I couldn't pass him up.  (as you likely can tell, I don't just restrict the things I buy to spaghetti trims any longer!)

This is the second time that I've scooped up just the salt shaker in the set.  Here's another one from last year.  I have *yet* to find the pepper shaker from that set, but now I have two different ones to seek out to complete these sets.  In this case, the spaghetti trim one appears to be a Mrs. Claus, but the Merry Christmas one from last year is two different Santas.

Vintage Lefton Christmas Snowball Kissing Boy Caroler Bell

As I mentioned over the weekend, I finally sprung for something in the 'vintage Christmas motherload' cabinet up in Coloma at the antique market.

And isn't he pretty cute?!?

Yeah...I said he.  It is a boy. you can see below, he's a bell.  That makes 2 bells in the collection.  A trend, perhaps?

He'll look great in the cabinet next year next to his fellow carolers, I think.

Oh...and how do I know it is a 'he'?  This listing on ebay shows the 'kissing' pair.  Looks like I have another hunt on my hands...

Elmhurst Front Yard Christmas Tree - 2014 Edition

As we've done since we moved in, we participated in the annual Elmhurst front yard Christmas tree tradition where we - along with our neighbors and folks all across town - erect small trees in our yards and light them up for everyone to see.  It's a really nice tradition and we have a particularly active block as almost everyone had a tree up.

The full story is here in this post on our 2011 tree - which shows the sad state of snow that winter and looked a lot like this year's would have if I snapped the photo around Christmas.
Here's my post from our 2009 tree.Here's my post from our 2010 tree. Here's my post from our 2011 tree.Don't seem to have posted our 2012 tree.Here's my post from our 2013 tree.

Vintage Christmas Motherload Cabinet In Coloma - 2015 Edition

I snapped this photo of the vintage Christmas cabinet up in Coloma at the Great Lakes Antique Mall when we were there over New Year's.

This is the same cabinet that I took a photo of the past few visits.

Here's the photo from our 2014 trip.'s a photo of the case from 2013 trip.

There isn't a lot of changes between last year and this year, but I do notice a little tree on the second to top shelf and a few other items have been swapped out.  I don't have photos of the rest of their booth, so I'm not sure if the rest of their items don't turn over as quickly as these?

I've always asked to have the case open and because of the prices, I've never bought anything.  Until this year!  I'll try to get a photo of that item up this week to connect the dots.

It Ain't Too Cold For Us And Our Snow Angels

During the most recent polar vortex, the Babe and I went out in the front yard for some snow angels and getting pulled around the block in a sled.  The weather, did however, take the other two kids out of play for the night.  That's just fine with me as I got to spend some 1:1 time with the top dog.

Vintage Articulated Santa Claus Pin

I'm not totally sure how this guy will get used, but this Vintage Articulated Santa Claus pin worked too well to pass up.  He's holding a bell in one hand and a 'Merry Cristmas' flag in the other.  I think he'd look good in the china cabinet amongst his bretheren, but perhaps he'll get worn instead?

Vintage Putz House Added To Our Collection

We didn't stop at little Santa's this year, as Nat picked up a few of these little Putz Christmas houses.  This one makes two houses now residing at our place.  I think this one is a residence, but our first one was a massive church building that lights up.

Nat picked out this little treasure at the Great Lakes Antique market.  Martha Stewart has a project that Nat's mom/sister undertook this season that features these Putz houses on a wreath.  Check it out here.

Vintage Holt Howard Santa Claus Bell From 1962

As part of our annual New Year's tradition up in Michigan, we make a stop at the Great Lakes Antique Market and I gorge on some 50% off vintage Christmas stuff.  Here's the kickoff post from the 2014 series.  We went to two of these markets - the normal one in Coloma and a bigger one in Saugatuck a day later.  I think Nat preferred the Saugatuck market, but based on the prices alone, I'm more of a fan of the Great Lakes version.

This first piece is a Holt Howard Santa Claus bell from 1962.  After seeing him in one of the booths, I couldn't pass it up.  Here's the upskirt below showing off the Holt Howard mark and the Japan sticker.

This wasn't the only bell that we bought, but it is our first.  So...maybe there's a trend coming?

Kilwins Coming To Downtown Elmhurst

On the walk to the train late in 2014, this awning for Kilwins went up in the old Jamba Juice spot right south of the York Theatre.  While I miss Jamba Juice, getting a Kilwins is great.  Isn't going to be good for Cold Stone and Brain Freeze (nor any of the 3 yogurt joints in the City Center), but a good hardpack cone is what I want most of the time we go out for ice cream.  The kids, those yogurt places.  What with their gummy bears and sprinkles and other gross things to pile on top of your chocolate ice cream.

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl

Bought this stuff for New Year's Eve sundaes and it didn't disappoint.  Unfortunately for my new year's diet, we were left with a HUGE jar of the stuff after Dec 31st.  Hide your spoons.  Hide your wife.  And..hide your husband, too.

Please Do Not Leave Cash By The Kiosk

At Edelman, we don't need no stinkin' rules. least it seems they won't be followed anyway.

The Babe's Cupholder In The Back Of The SwaggerWagon

I was back there cleaning things out when I discovered this gross mess.  This is the cupholder in the way-back of the van.  The Babe was using it as her personal garbage can.  Candy wrappers I expected.  But...ATM receipts and apple cores?  Not so much.

Werner Ladder Used in Christmas Vacation

Over the holidays, I took this photo of Clark on a Werner ladder on tv and geeked out by texting it to Equation Boy/Man as fast as I could.  After all, he works at Werner.

His response?  Basically...a meh.  He knew all about it.  Guess I was late the party on this one.  Still...pretty neat to see the Werner brand in the spotlight at another time of year than during the final four net cutting ceremony.

2015: On Time

One of the best things I was gifted this Christmas season is this guy above.  Will be the first time in a decade since I wore a watch everyday.  The last watch I wore regularly was an Ironman with a velcro band during the early post-college years.  I never took that thing off.  Wore it to bed, wore it in the shower.  Used it to time runs.

The big difference here is that I have to take this thing off every night and charge it.  I do that with my phone, so this can't be much more difficult, right?