Thursday, July 29, 2010

83. Make something using the wood from Melissa's grandpa

I finished one of my woodworking projects.  This one isn't a big one, but it is one that I am proud of doing.  As I wrote about not too long ago, I was given quite a bit of wood from Melissa's Grandpa. A lot of that hoard of wood is oddly shaped wood that I am not creative enough to come up with a lasting purpose for.  I decided to tackle something smaller as a beginning on something that I hope will be special for the kids in years to come.  Here's the finished product (1 of 3):

It's a piggy bank!  And it is perfectly timed.  Tonight we had my mom and grandma over and my grandma gave the kids their first pennies.  We will have to wait awhile until they can put them to good use though.  They will be gifts for the kids' birthdays coming in October (don't tell them).

This was a fun project to make because it wasn't too difficult to make.  I posted pictures before of what the pieces looked like apart.  Here's another one that I took after glueing one of the sides on:

It's hollow on the inside and a cork stopper is in the bottom to be able to remove their coins they so diligently saved.

Around the pig you can see some of the scraps of leather that I used for the tail and the ears.  Melissa found a bag of scrap leather at Michael's for a couple of dollars and it worked out perfect.  The hardest part about working with it was that I couldn't find anything strong enough to cut the leather.  I finally decided to put the band saw to use and was able to make the cuts that I needed.

I am really proud of these three piggies.  I'm hoping to be able to put more time out in the garage before school starts back up again to work on some more projects.  Hopefully I will be able to finish my goal of making toys for the kids.  I've got plenty of ideas.  Now I just need to put the ideas into reality.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm loving summer

Nothing really about the goals, but I had to share these pictures.

Putting it simply, I am loving summer.  I have taken the girls out on the bike two or three times a week to run errands and to give Melissa a chance to have some quiet time when Charlie takes his morning naps.  Another bonus to me going out on the bike is that I have only used my car once in the month of July.  The total amount of miles put on the car this summer is just over 200. The van has many more miles than that, but it is nice to not rely on both cars all the time.  Plus, there's no air conditioning in the car.  It's cooler riding a bike in 90 degree temps than it is sitting in a heat soaked car.
With all of my time on the bike this summer I think I'm going to try to do a lot more riding to work when school starts back up again. We shall see how long that really lasts.

This morning I went out to try out a different trail, but I stopped by a local popcorn shop before heading out.  The girls loved it!  They each got their own bag and they were given their own hats. They even shared some of their popcorn with some ducks we found along the path. We had a good time!

I made it over to the blood bank yesterday. When I showed up to donate, I found out that they needed to email out to the hospital to let them know that my blood would be heading their way.  Having rare blood (O+ with some added enzymes) makes me feel even more motivated to donate blood.  Out of curiosity I asked how much I have donated to Heartland Blood Center over the years.  The girl looked it up and said I was a little over 2 gallons.  I'm proud of that.  Hopefully there will be many more to come. It went well.  Three times left to go.  Next time I can go is September 21st.  That means that I should be able to finish that goal early in February.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

42. Take Melissa to see a Broadway show

Last night Melissa and I had the opportunity to go see the musical Wicked.  This is a show that both of us had heard a lot about and we were both very excited to see.  I know that Wicked was in Chicago for well over a year, but I lost track of time and when I finally began looking for tickets, the show was headed out of town.
Here's the only picture we took of our night.

We were lucky enough to have my mom come to watch the kids for the night while we headed up to Milwaukee for the night.  We began the night with dinner at Water Street Brewery which was about two blocks from the theater. The food was really good. We finished our dinner with just enough time to stroll up the block to see the show.
As far as my enjoyment of the show....I hummed the tunes the whole way home and have continued to do so all day today.  I'm looking forward to picking up the soundtrack at the library to be able to hear it all again.  I think I'll even check out The Wizard of Oz while I am there to help me connect all of the dots.
This was my fourth broadway style show I have seen and by far it was my favorite.  I told Melissa that I'm looking forward to seeing another show again some time soon.
I'm glad I put this one onto the list. It will definitely be on my next list to make sure that we do this again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

64. Go to a Cubs game with Matt and Casey

Putting this goal on the list was due to the fact that Casey has been a close friend of Matt and me for our entire lives.  Our history of going to games together goes back awhile:

We didn't have tickets lined up until the day of the game and I was pleased with what Matt came up with.  I haven't been to the upper deck in a long time.   We even had a view all the way to the lake.

It was a great game.  The Cubs played well enough to win.  That hasn't happened enough this year.  The best part of going to the game was the way that it ended:

What a great night.  Hopefully there will be many more games to be visited over the coming years. Thanks Casey for helping Matt and me achieve this goal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

17. Rubik's 4X4 is solved!

It's been awhile since I have blogged. I really haven't been doing much.  I have done little things, but those fit into the area of, "no one would care about this post" territory.  This one might also be in that category.  All I know is I was super excited when it happened and figured that it was something notable, and thus blog worthy.

Disclaimer: I do a lot of nerdy things.  This definitely fits into that category.

After learning how to do the 3X3 cube last year I have really enjoyed playing around with it. I even brought it into school and showed my students that I could do it. The next day, 4 kids brought in their own cubes to try to solve, and ultimately to have me solve.  Those students made me laugh.  They would carry their cubes around before and after school as trophies, because most people that own rubik's cubes only have them solved for the first two minutes.  After that, they remain unsolved forever.  They really were a hit in my class.  At one point I counted 22 out of 24 of my students that bought rubik's cubes for themselves to learn to solve.  Two of them learned how to do it by the end of the year with a few others just a step or two away.  Hopefully they have figured it all out by now.

For Father's Day Melissa bought me this.
This was the view of it about 10 minutes after I took it out of the package.

I spent a lot more time that I would like to admit on this thing trying to figure it out.  I even had a night where I didn't go to bed until 1:30 because I was stuck on one part.

One month later (today), this is what it looks like:

When I was about fifteen moves away from solving it I got really excited.  I knew I would be able to get it finished.  I know really nerdy. I took the luxury of saving you 10 minutes of watching a video of me getting it done.  I don't quite have it down as fast as I did with the 3X3. I'm sure with time it will get faster.  Solving the 4X4 is similar to doing the 3X3 which made it take a lot less time to learn.

Next up:

Should be fun!

UPDATE: After playing with it for no more than 5 minutes I solved the 2X2. Here's the finished product: