Fall Cleaning

Hello Friends,

Everyone talks about how much they love spring cleaning. I am a bigger fan of fall cleaning. I enjoy reflecting on the growth from the spring and summer, while clearing out our space to make room.

Our front yard is a decorative, perennial, native, low-maintenance situation. We copied our neighbor, a landscape architect, so we have some staggered blooming. We do weed and mulch, but for the most part, it takes care of itself. By the fall, the yard is predominantly leaves.

We have learned that our perennial plants enjoy a clear cut each fall. They come back the following spring more healthy and full. Here again, we did what our neighbor did.

The back yard is a different story. That’s our small, compost-fed garden bed. It gets a bunch of sun, though, and always does well (you’ve seen the evidence).

The bed benefits from a good clean-out, too. I dig a trench and dump in our unfinished compost. As the fall progesses, I add dried, shredded leaves as well, effectively turning the bed into a passive compost pile. Next year, we are going to add real beds, so the clean-out this year helped me visualize that layout.

That lemongrass is still going strong. Wife and I are deciding on the best way to bundle and dry it for tea this winter. The apple trees were happy to get some pruning, now that I could reach them!

Obviously, our front yard is our curb appeal. We also hope the plants help control the rain water. The back yard is a fun project, and we eat from the garden when we can. The girls are getting more involved and are more helpful each season, and that’s great. And I know I feel better after a garden therapy session! Hopefully, you have some good plants in your life, too. No matter if they are for food, or if they are just nice to look at.

“Inch by inch, row by row, we’re gonna make this garden grow”

LPZ Fall Fest

Hello Friends,

Autumn events abound, and I thought I’d share one that we tried. There’s a bit more pressure on the post, because this weeeknd is the last weeknd for the Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest.

The flier is true! They have a variety of programming available to entertain whatever your child likes.

The girls were great about indulging their nerdy father as I snapped photos all around the fest. Really, as long as there was an attraction nearby, they were cool with it.

One of the great things about Lincoln Park Zoo is that it’s close to home. Our drive is less than a half hour, even with some traffic. Another great thing is that they have all of the animal houses to warm up inside. Not only do you get a break from the cold (and spending tickets), you can check out the animals. The cafe also stays open for full lunch service and cookie decorating .

There are a couple of things to be aware of. Parking in Lincon Park can be frustrating. Zoo parking is great for members, but it does cost. The zoo admission is still free, but you pay for the fest attractions.

Again, this is the final weekend of the LPZ Fall Fest. Did I mention the pumkin patch? Well, there is one. Hopefully, you get lots of sun and low wind when you go check it out.

Happy Fall, friends. Which ever fest or farm you check out, I hope it’s fun. We’ll see you out there!

Halloween is now a Season

Hello Friends,

I don’t know if you feel the same, but I thought I would share one Mom’s feelings about Halloween. She was sharing that after all of the activities, she feels that Halloween is so much more than the actual day; Halloween is now a season. I didn’t hesitate to agree with her.

I shared our Bengtson’s trip with you all from the last weekend in September. The decorations started going up in our neighborhood at the beginning of October. The Stairway to Insanity Haunted House has run the past three weekends. Friday was the school Halloween Party.

We still have the actual day to celebrate, and we haven’t carved pumpkins yet! Yikes!

The girls are having a blast. They are at ages where they have fun with the costumes and decorations, even though they are not quite ready for the haunted houses. And true to form for their ages, they have changed costumes almost daily for the last three weeks. Good thing we have a variety of dress-up clothes.

What are your thoughts about Halloween? So over it or just can’t wait? Either way, the 31st will bring it to a close. Now about those pumpkins…

Tonight and Tomorrow – Last Chance!

Hello Friends,

That’s right, tonight and tomorrow are the last two nights of the Stairway to Insanity!

Again, amatuer haunt, good value at $10. I’m headed up at 6:30 tonight. Hope to see you there!

Stairway to Insanity

Hello Friends,

Tonight I’ll be climbing the stairway to the second floor of the St. Viator Elementary School Gymnasium. I am volunteering in tonight’s Stairway to Insanity Haunted House!

Not sure what you should do on this chilly, dreary, rainy night? Check out this review of last year’s haunt (this year is pending) and see if it doesn’t help you decide:

Come on over to the school for a value-haunt, spooky time. And then go out and get a big ol’ bowl of soup or some hot noodles or something else warm and filling. Whatever you do, make it a great night. We’ll see you out there, friends!

Bengtson’s Pumpkin Festival

Hello Friends,

This is pumpkin patch season. For years, Sister Scales-of-Justice has been inviting us to Bengtson’s Pumkin Festival in Homer Glen, Illinois. This year the girls were ready.

Attractions abound, with Autumn fun ranging from the Fun Barn to carnival-style rides with animatronics, like Spooky Skeleton bands, sprinkled here and there.

They also have animals! There are pony rides and a petting zoo. Pleasantly, both were super clean. Not just free of animal mess, but actually smelled good. It was great to let the girls enjoy themselves without cringy because the animals and pens were grimy. I almost forgot, they also have hourly pig races! There are four heats with the excited little guys running their circle track. Winner gets an iced oatmeal cookie!

Overall, the entire campus is kept clean, like super clean. The staff is on constant patrol for errant garbage. Many of the buildings are new and still have the fresh-cut lumber smell. Food options abound, ranging from snack to full barbeque or taco meals. The apple cider doughnuts were tasty, and we were sad we didn’t try the pumpkin churros.

This is not a sponsored review, so let’s insert some reality. The one downer I found at Bengtson’s was the lack of bathrooms. At least the indoor, running water type. To be clear (and fair), they have port-o-lets all over, strangely with sink troughs and soap right outside. But if you have a porta-potty hang-up, this arrangement would be off-putting. Our girls managed just fine.

If you are up for a drive, head to Homer Glen and check out Bengtson’s Pumpkin Festival. I didn’t mention it yet, but of course they have a pumpkin patch, with all sizes of pumkins and gourds for sale. Our girls loved all the action happening around the festival. We loved the clean grounds and amenities. Overall, Bengtson’s is some serious fall fun!

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.