Garden Update

Hello Friends,

Well, summer goes and the garden grows. Here’s where we’re at this week:

The wildflowers are thriving in the Fairy Garden, and look like they’ll bloom this week. We’ve been watching butterflies, moths, and bees flying among the cucumbers, but hopefully that pollinator garden will bring even more.

The tomatoes are coming in well. We chose Roma tomatoes, and these are just about to size. A little vine ripening and we should be set!

The jalepenos are longer than my middle finger, so we’ll have to start watching those. They should also be ready for picking soon!

The girls have been helpful with the watering, especially during last week’s hot spell. Weeding falls on Wife and I, and we’re keeping up reasonably well. I know we have passed the halfway point of our summer break-from here, I feel like the vegetables will ripen quickly. We’ll keep you updated on the progress, hopefully with some zucchini to share! Inch by inch, row by row, right? I hope your gardens and summer are going well, we’ll see you out there, friends!

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Another Way to Beat the Heat

Hello Friends,

Well, summer heat has arrived in Chicago. If the weather prediction is right, we’re in for more this week. With temps hitting the nineties on Friday and Saturday, we decided to cash-in a gift and hit the theater.

Oops, to clarify, we went to the Marriot Theatre, not a movie theater. Grandma and Grandpa gifted the girls tickets for Christmas and we found Junie B. Jones, the Musical, for them to check out.

Sweetie read a bunch of the June B. Jones books during the First Grade, and really enjoyed them. The writing is age-appropriate and accessible. I think Sweetie liked that there is some mis-adventures, mischief, and some of the behaviors are a bit controversial (again, within the age parameters). Cricket knows of Junie B. through her sister-if Sweetie dug it, it must be awesome.

The theatre was only about forty percent filled, and wife spoke with a lovely woman at the ticket counter, so first row, center, for us. Since we were on the same level as the stage, the girls could see all the actors and actresses up close. They loved the layout (theatre in the square?) that allowed them to see all the action. The girls were rockin’ out to the songs and crackin’ up with the show.

The Marriot Theatre is in Lincolnshire, just North of the city. They hold all types of theatre performances, and the ground-level, square stage with 360° seating is pretty cool. Their air conditioning works well and the seats are comfortable. (If I could’ve taken photos during the performance you would see the grandfather who slept comfortably the entire show-HERE). They are easy enough to find online, so check ’em out.

So I offer you, friends, this other way to beat the heat. Another special thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for this “experience” gift, which was a wonderful way to spend the day. I hope you all are staying comfortable in the summer heat, and finding all sorts of adventures. We’ll see you out there!

A Different Ice

Hello Friends,

Those of you in and around Chicago know all about ice and cold. I think anyone watching the news has heard about the polar vortex that parked over Chicago last week, and many of you lived it, so I want to talk about a different kind of ice. This kind of ice that comes with songs, characters, $15 snow cones and “merch”. I want to shift the focus and share with you our weekend adventure at Disney on Ice.

We went to the show titled “Mickey’s Search Party”, currently playing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. This particular show revolves around Mickey Mouse and friends collecting magic from a variety of items in order to free Tinkerbell from a lamp prison. Each item comes from a different Disney story and invites characters from six different stories to join the adventure. Of course, each story brings its songs, with all the hits, including, “Be Our Guest” ( Beauty and the Beast), “Let it Go” (Frozen), and “Remember Me” (Coco).

This is not the first Disney ice show we have attended. At the beginning of the show Sweetie, now six (steadily approaching seven) seemed a bit removed, almost bored. Once the songs started, though, she was into the show. I even caught her singing along.

The Cricket, on the other hand, was in full “Disney Magic” mode right from jump. Her four-year-old self was swept up by the spectacle, from the variety of merch to the costumes, actors, and characters. She was freely singing, with the abandon that youth exercises.

At these ages this type of gift: a song and dance character extravaganza, filled with visual entertainment, was awesome. The girls had a great time and were wiped out afterward from the excitement and the fun. All props to the Allstate Arena, champions at moving people and traffic and keeping a crowded parking lot orderly. A big thanks for the tickets, a wonderful Christmas gift to the girls. This type of show may not be for everyone, it can be a bit much. But this is one of those experiences that makes a shared memory for our entire family unit. And no one is safe from the Disney Magic…

Welcome Holi-daze

Hello Friends,

I started this post on December 7th, just after Winterfest wrapped. The delay shows how fast our December passed. What happened to this month? Is that your experience as well?

I was so excited to share our holiday preparations. We brought home our tree, our first live one (thanks, Nelly!), the Friday of Winterfest. A Fraser Fir, it has served us well. The needles are coarse, so they clean up easily from the hardwood, and it hasn’t been that much of a pain keeping it watered. The branches are good and sturdy for the ornaments, and it is so much fuller than our fake tree. Overall, a good choice for us.

Another part of our holiday prep is our Elf on the Shelf (EOTS). Yes, like so many of you, we host an eight-inch tall snitch for the month of December. Does she help keep the girls in line? Eh, not so much. But “Evie” has been haunting helping us all this month and holiday spirit abounds.

And school events? Wow, let’s list those: Winterfest, Santa’s Workshop, Christmas Program, Pajama Drives and parties in general kept the girls busy. Busy, yes, but fun too.

The girls arranging their wares

So this has been our holiday season. The girls are another year older, they are smarter and a bit more squirrely. Wife and I have to be more careful and more creative to keep them off the Santa trail. Thankfully, they “get it” more with the holiday stuff this year, so it’s been fun. Just one day yet, welcome Christmas!

Come Winter, Come Winterfest!

Hello Friends,

Did you miss us? I’ve missed you all. We have been super busy since October. I have so much to post about, and so little time. Why so busy, you ask? Well, it’s time for the St. Viator Winterfest once again!

Starting at 5:00 PM this Friday, November 30th, Winterfest goes through the weekend until 4:00 PM on Sunday. With a skate rink, Mistletoe Market, Tree and Wreath sale, hot cocoa, and more, the fest happens in and around the St. Viator Recreation Center. There is holiday fun all over, and plenty of opportunities for fun winter photos!

Click here to check out the flier: 2018 Flyer Basic with sponsors FRONT PAGE

I know some of you already have weekend plans (Happy Birthday B!), but for the rest of you, come on by and check out Winterfest! Need more details? Here’s the Facebook event page with the details: www.facebook.com/events/341301753285197/.

I will be at Winterfest on Friday and Sunday for sure. The girls will be in and around as the weather permits. If you happen to see me, say hello – I’ll buy you a cup of hot cocoa!

Hope to see you there!

 

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.

Merry (belated) Christmas-Day 12!

Hello Friends,

So, challenge failed? I mean, technically I didn’t post all the way through day 12. And then I took days off, right at prime posting time. Regardless of how late we are, we here at the D3 family wish you a Merry Christmas-for the whole season! We spent the Christmas days visiting with family, spanning from the Northwest suburbs to the far South suburbs. We clocked time with both Wife’s side of the family and mine. We managed to be at home for Santa to visit Christmas morning though!

We have spent the days since recovering from all the holiday fun, and taking care of a few things. A trip to our favorite pediatric dentist, Dr. Johnny, provided some motivation to sit down and write. I also have to tell all you Chicago folks about a children’s shoe store where we shopped. So no shortage of material as we wind down 2017, yet still that lack of time to get to it all!