New Sticker for the Ride

Hello Friends,

I’ve never been one to put stickers on my cars. This is strange to me because I have put them just on just about everything else I own. Bicycles, guitar cases, water bottles, notebooks, toolboxes – all decorated with a variety of stickers. I finally found one I could commit to however, and today put it on the ride.

This is the second year that Sweetie enrolled in Daisy Scouts through the school. She has two great troop leaders and a bunch of other Moms who step in to assist. Their focus is on crafts, activities and friendship. Of course they sell cookies, but they don’t fixate on the sales. Funny how many stories I hear of that ruining the experience.

I was a Cub Scout and Webelo growing up, so I dig her participation. While I don’t know how much knot-tying and fire-starting the girls are going to learn, they are off to a great start. Trips to nature centers and animal shelters, and singing at the school Winterfest are just a couple of the things they get into besides their meetings.

Got a scout (Cub, Boy, Daisy, Brownie, Girl, etc.)? I hope their/your experience is as good as ours has been. Remember to support ’em, those cookies don’t sell themselves! Ok, well, they kinda do! We’ll see you out there, friends.

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STI 2018 – It’s Coming!

Hello Friends,

The second floor of the St. Viator Gymnasium is undergoing its annual transformation:

All these creepy things signify it is time for the haunted house! That’s right, the Stairway to Insanity is under construction again! I think I have noted before how I don’t love this name, but this year I learned the origin. The organizers used to carry all the props and all the walls up the stairs to set up. One of them thought, this is insanity,” and poof.

I will post another update as the decorations go up, and of course the flier when we get it. Here’s the quick info: $10 a ticket, running 7PM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday for the next three weekends. If you’re looking for a creepy/scary (but not horrifying) time, consider this amateur, “value” haunt. They have an event page on Facebook, so check ’em out. Come Halloween!

Following a Yellow Brick Road

Hello Friends,

This is another family adventure from our weekend. With such a beautiful late summer day on Saturday, we had to get out. Wife Googled parks in the city and found “Oz Park ” in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Who knew?

The main draw was statues of the main Oz characters. Obviuosly, here the girls are sitting on Dorothy’s pedestal. Arranged around two sides of the park, these statues help set a playful tone.

Nick Chopper, a.k.a the Tin Woodman guards the northeast entrance of the park.

Just inside that entrance stands the scarecrow. He is near the “quiet area”, his gentle nature an appropriate reflection of this calm patch. Filled with flowers and decorative plants, it stands apart from the playground and greenspace of the park.

The Cowardly Lion stands at the southeast corner of the park. He has the bonus of being app-enabled and can call you and talk with you. More importantly, he defends the pickle ball court. And yes, the people who play there too.

The playground at Oz Park is amazing. Shade is abundant and kids climb all over multiple ornate wooden structures. There’s tennis courts, pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, open space, the playground- really something for everyone.

We broke for lunch and headed down the street to Chicago Halal. Not much more than counter tops, this place has some kind of magic to their food prep. The gyro meat was cut small and had a delicious searing on the edges.

The girls ate well on their cheeseburgers too. So overall, our family dug Chicago Halal. I know that’s a weak review, but maybe some of you foodies out there can drop them a visit and do a proper one.

So here’s a weird thing about the afternoon: the lack bathrooms. Despite the beauty and playground amenities, Oz Park does not have any bathroom facilities. Chicago Halal also lacks bathrooms facilities. We tried to pitstop at a Starbucks near the park, but no, no toilet. What?!? Bit of a downer on a our day, but we salvaged it. You know who had a bathroom? Same people who have old-school soft serve. Oh yeah, Dairy Queen.

If you haven’t been to Oz Park yet, just follow Webster east, about to Halsted. Visit with the friends from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, or maybe get in on some wooden paddle and wiffle ball action. Lincoln Park holds plenty of restaurants, both new and fresh as well as tried and true. So food is easy to find around Oz Park. Just be sure you plan your adventure ahead, so you don’t make your own yellow brick road.

Affy Tapples for All!

Hello Friends,

I don’t use this blog to push many products or sell stuff, but this post is an exception. With that clear, I won’t be offended if you back out right now.

The girls sell a lot of stuff as fundraising for St. Viator School and I think you all might be interested in some of these things. For example, around February we will sell Girl Scout Cookies. I had so many, “Why didn’t you tell me” comments last year that I am going to advertise hard this year. Today’s post is about another such tasty item.

Yes friends, it’s Taffy Apple sales time. I feel like you can’t make it through childhood in the Chicagoland area without eating Taffy Apples at some point.

This time the sales benefit the St. Viator Elementary School Halloween Party. This annual event is a fun, costumed, music and food celebration. It’s another chance for the kids to dress up witb plenty of space to run and dance around. I’ll be posting more information about the party and the St. Viator Haunted House as we roll into October.

So that’s the pitch, at least from my end. I think Affy Tapples sell themselves – you either love ’em or not. If you’re interested then contact me directly. Don’t have my number? Drop me an email message at dadsdiaperdetour@gmail.com and we’ll work out an order.

Alright then, friends, think it over and let me know before September 26th. And remember, make it a great day! We’ll see you out there.

Good Time for a Rainbow

Hello Friends,

Summer is winding down, but we are still squeezing in some adventures. This trip to the Southside was Wife’s idea. And it was perfect for…

ice cream from The Original Rainbow Cone! It’s been at least three years since I posted about this Chicago gem. But the multi-scoop ice cream treat is still uniquely delicious.

I say “uniquely” delicious because I would never expect these flavors to taste so good together. Strawberry and pistachio are not my go-to flavors in general, but they fit right into this party.

After a quick discernment I went with a small. Yeah, that’s a small. Isn’t it funny how the ice cream is more of a wedge than a scoop? Pure logistics.

They do have a kid’s size, which was a perfect option for the girls. I still had to help them finish though, good thing for that small!

The Original Rainbown Cone is open until October, so go get one! There’s still time – we may just have to make another trip!

Happy, Hot, Monday!

Hello Friends,

Full disclosure – only half of this title is true. It is hot and humid here, typical Chicago late August weather. I remember sitting in classes at university just sweltering in the historical, not-modernized (read: not air conditioned), classrooms. And speaking of classes…

Yeah, neither girl wanted to get up for school today. It took a solid twenty minutes of rousing to just get them dressed. Things moved along, slowly but surely, until we got to the door. There Cricket flatly announced, “I’m not going to school.”

She did go, but she refused to get in the photo. And Sweetie? Despite the smile, she is not happy. The school recommended gym uniforms for all students due to the heat index. She wanted to wear her usual – polyester jumper over her uniform shirt (with undershirt). This warm weather option was the compromise. And when we rolled up to the sea of navy blue gym uniforms? “I wish we could go home and change into my gym uniform.” Ah heck.

Despite the heat and the sluggish start the girls are good. Wife is out of town unt late Wednesday, and they are not pleased about that. But we all promised to be good to each other the next couple of days, so things should be just fine. And so we roll into school week 2! I hope you are staying cool out there friends. As I tell the girls – make it a good day!

R.I.P. The Queen of Soul

Hello friends,

By this time in the day most of you have heard the sad news about Aretha Franklin’s passing. While I haven’t checked the tv, I have listened to reports on all of our radio presets this morning and have seen articles in my news feed as well. Music is in and around our lives, and with the girls’ interest growing it’s a matter of time until they learn about the influence and impact of Aretha Franklin.

A soul music historian on the radio claimed that Aretha Franklin was dubbed, ” The Queen of Soul” right here in Chicago. That’s a cool connection to an amazing artist. And of course there’s her appearance in The Blues Brothers movie, another cool Chicago connection. I don’t known her deeper cuts, but who doesn’t know Aretha Franklin’s hit songs? Spanning generations, her musical legacy is strong.

While Aretha Franklin’s passing makes me sad, her music and story inspire me. From her vocal abilities and songwriting skills to her mandate for African-American musicians being hired for her bands, her influence reaches far. She will definitely be included in the list of strong women, talented artists, and social activists that we teach to our girls. Rest in peace, 1942-2018.