Tis the season… to be absolutely super friggin busy. Yes, it’s that time of year when my calendar gets crazy. Besides my regular duties as a stay-at-home dad, chef, blogger, and chauffeur for my kids, there’s all this dang holiday stuff going on.
There’s multiple Christmas parties to attend, Christmas trees to put up, kid holiday events, presents to make (and wrap), AND we have guests staying for Christmas this year. This means I need to have a super-spotless house and a bunch of high-quality meals planned-out and provisioned ahead of time.
Whew! I’ve got my plate full for the next couple of weeks. Whomever said “once you retire from a full-time job your schedule is going to clear-up”, was totally lying. I’ve never felt more busy.
That’s why today’s post is just going to be a “photo dump” of what’s been going on this last week.
First, we had to get the tree up. The kids really enjoyed helping with this. We use the same free hand-me-down tree every year.
We’re total nerds, so our tree is decorated with a ton of nerdy Christmas ornaments…
For fun, I couldn’t resist a M.C. Escher style “self portrait” using one of the reflective ornaments… luckily the camera managed to hide my identity.
We don’t have many presents under the tree (yet), because I need to get my butt into gear and finish making them. This year I’m making board games for the kids, and picture frames for all the adults.
In the picture below, you can see they’re not quite done yet… but I’m nearing the final stages. Here’s a picture of the picture frame “glue-up” in progress…
The frames are made from maple heartwood, which is itself a fascinating natural phenomena. Normally maple is a much lighter color, but the heartwood is dark. Like walnut. To make the frame more interesting, I added some inlay using the spalted maple leftover from the cheeseboard project.
The contrast turned out pretty nice. This is the first time I’ve made a picture frame with inlay, and it definitely makes the construction much harder. The inlaid miters have to match up extremely precisely, or it looks weird.
As I’ve mentioned before, we’re big on making gifts (whenever possible). Sure, it takes more time and effort to produce a gift, but I think the results are going to be worth it.
Unfortunately my garage is a complete disaster as I try to get all the gifts done before Christmas. Cleaning the garage has been put much lower on the priority list. Somewhere under this mess of cutoffs, saw dust and piled up tools, is my table saw. Maybe I’ll find it again in January.
Beside making gifts, I’m also trying to make plenty of good meals for the family. The weather has been cold, so the menu has included plenty of soups, stews, and hot food.
This first dish is one of Japanese origin called “Hayashi rice” and the soup is Mrs. Tako’s cucumber soup.
I also recently made a delicious chicken and shrimp pho, using my blog recipe. It’s a big hit with the family on a cold night.
On top of all that, I’ve been roped into housing construction lately too. The kids are having their Christmas parties, and I get to “help out” with gingerbread houses. You can see a little of my handiwork here:
I’m not sure if they’re up to the proper building code, but my kids were happy. Obviously I WON’T be starting a career in homebuilding anytime soon…
That’s it for today folks! I clearly didn’t have time to plan and write a cool post for you today. If you were looking for a post on investing money, tips on saving money, or even just one of my frugal recipes, I’m sorry to disappoint. Check-out the blog archives if you haven’t already read all of the old posts.
Due to all of the holiday festivities, I’m going to be slowing down the blog posts over the next few weeks. The kids will be off school, and we’ll have relatives visiting, so I definitely won’t have time to write as frequently.
Not to worry though — I’ll still try to squeeze out a new post (or two) before the end of the year! Regular posting should resume in 2019!