Thursday, November 30, 2006

"A" is for Academics

Since I bragged about my youngest son the other day, it's only fair that my oldest son get his time in the spotlight too. He's in sixth grade this year and received straight A's on his first report card. His school had its monthly award ceremony this week and my wife and I were both able to see him receive an Academic Excellence award. We are very proud of him. Way to go, dude! Keep up the good work. It will pay off!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Got a New Toy Today -- Corel Paint Shop Pro X

Oh. My. Gosh.

I am in love with this program. Here's something I came up with after only a few minutes of fiddling around.

Just think what I can do after I read the user's guide!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Oh the weather outside is" .... really warm!

The weather has been totally un-seasonal here in northern Indiana. We took advantage of the 60 degree temps and did some more outdoor Holiday decorating. It was a also a great day for picture taking. I'm trying to learn more about my "old" digital camera. I see so many really great photos on the blogs I visit. There are some very multi-talented folks out there. And I applaud you! Here are some shots of various trees and bushes that live in our yard.

Here's my youngest son (in the yellow jacket, sitting under the fort). He's busy whittling a stick using his new Cub Scout pocket knife. Speaking of Cub Scouts: I was SO proud of him last night. We had a Pack Meeting and toward the end of snack time, one of the boys thought he'd play a little joke and knock off the Scout cap one of the other boys was wearing. doing so he caused the boy to spill his drink all over the floor and all over his shirt. Here's the cool part: My son ran to the back of the room to grab a roll of paper towel, brought it over and started mopping up the floor! I was (am) a very proud father! He had nothing to do with the incident but wanted to help. On the way home I told him how proud I was of him, to which he replied, "Well, Dad, that's what Cub Scouts do." You bet it is! Love ya buddy!

[Click on the picture for a larger image]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Favorite Tree Ornaments

This one is actually one of my wife's favorite ornaments. Nothing fancy or frilly. No glitter or glitz. Just a simple pair of snowshoes. They make her smile. And that makes me smile.

This is our first "married couple" ornament. The annual tradition is for us to place it on the tree together, before any other ornaments are allowed on the tree. And, it's the last one off the tree at the end of the Holiday season. Silly. But sweet.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tree Lighting Ceremony

We've officially kicked-off the Holiday season at our house. The tree is up and the lights are on. All 1,200 of them to be exact.

I know: the normal way to put lights on a tree is the "around-and-around" approach, right? Well...last year (for some reason) I decided to try something a bit different. Rather than go around the tree, I placed the lights on each individual branch. Here's what I do: I start at the trunk of the tree and work the lights to the tip of the branch, then (still on the same branch) take the lights back to the trunk. Then it's over to the the next branch, up to the tip, back to the trunk. As you can imagine, it takes a lot more lights for this application. More than you think.

I really like the way it ends up though. The tree is absolutely beautiful -- full of light. It may seem a bit bright in the photos, but by the time the ornaments are put on, it's just right. out to Target or WalMart today and stock up on lights. C'mon, try it!

Ready for lights!

After the first few strands of lights.

Almost done!

Voila! The tree of lights.
(Notice the reflection in the French doors?)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving ...

...and all through the house there was food, food and more food!

:: Making Cranberry Relish ::

I started with cranberries.
And added a few other ingredients.

The turkey in the family room kept an eye on me the whole time I was cooking.

:: My Wife's Wonderful Pumpkin Bread ::

Pumpkin breads in the oven.

Pumpkin breads out of the oven.

Let me know if you want the recipe for either the Cranberry Relish (it's easy) and/or the Pumpkin Bread (super, super yummy).

:: Gather 'round the Table ::

The kitchen table ... where homework, bill-paying, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a hundred other things take place. Here are a couple photos of a quiet time (pretty rare event).

Whew! It's 11:37 p.m. And to all a good night!

~-~-~-~-~- Happy Thanksgiving! ~-~-~-~-~

Two Small Projects -- 100% Finished!

Finally, I finished something. It seems there is hardly enough time in the day to get it all done. But somehow I managed to crank out two little projects last night. And here they are:

I am very thankful for SO many things. But especially for a wife who puts up with a crafty husband. Honey, I really do appreciate my 'craft' time.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Morning

== Need I say more? ==

Last night I undid the 'hat' that I've been crocheting for my youngest son. We were at Hobby Lobby on Saturday and took a stroll through the yarn aisles. Wow...quite a selection! He saw a skein of variegated yarn and said, "Dad, can you make me a hat out of this?". To which I replied, "Well, sure." Uh-oh! And then, not to be out-done, my oldest son quickly chimes in with "I want one too. Let me pick out some yarn." Double uh-oh! What have I gotten myself into?

I've never made anything 'in the round' but didn't think it would be rocket science. I found a couple simple hat patterns on the Web and had printed them out a few weeks ago. Cuz it's getting cold out, and everybody should have a handmade hat, right?

My first attempt at the stocking cap was awful. And no, I didn't take a picture. (I have some pride, you know.) It's been frogged and turned into Mistake No. 2. The first "hat" was way too small. I have no idea what I did, but it ended up looking more like a small Easter basket than a hat. Figuring out that I didn't increase my stitches enough (duh!), I tried again. This time I ended up with what looks like a big, wavy, green flower. Oops...that's not a hat. So...third time will be charm. God help me!

I really think I understand the instructions now. I found a sample video online that made the light bulb come on. So...tonight might be the night. Stay tuned for further developments.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Weekend Warrior

It's the weekend. Woo Hoo! And it's time to get all those things done that didn't get done during the week. Sound familiar? We'll be grocery shopping, taking Holiday wreaths to the cemetary, cleaning house, doing laundry, and (hopefully) making a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to grab the winter edition of Cutting Edge magazine [Hillary, from Wee Wonderfuls is featured in this issue] and get some yarn (it's on sale).

Speaking of yarn. Here's why I don't think knitting is my cup of tea:
(the photo quality is about the same as the knitting quality -- poor!)

And here's why I prefer crochet:

(Just a swatch - I like this pattern)

Here's another reason:

(Dishcloth I finished last night)

And in non-yarn-related news, here are some WIPs:

(The two on the right are actually 99% complete)

Okay...time to get moving on today's tasks.

Have a good day!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Still Here!

Hey all! It's been a long time since my last entry. I've been very busy with work and things at home.'s just been a crazy time. And with the Holidays approaching, it could get worse. Eeeeooowwwwww!

The knitting thing has been put on hold. I got really frustrated with it and decided to just put. it. away. I've become best friends with my crochet hook and have been making a few things to give as Christmas gifts. Nothing fancy, but handmade says "I made it with love." And you can't beat that, now can you?

Have a great weekend. I'll try to sneak back in here a.s.a.p.