Irn-Bru

My favorite drink In The World is Irn-Bru. It’s a Scottish soft drink with a unique flavor. What is the flavor of Irn-Bru? I like to describe it as an orange cream soda.

I first had some in Scotland back in 1995 when I was 19. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. My favorite part about traveling in Scotland was buying Vodka and Irn-Bru at almost every pub. I brought some bottles home to share with friends. The soda didn’t last long as everyone enjoyed it. It took me a few years to find it here in Canada.

When I did find it for sale- boy was I excited! I bought it every chance I got because of the scarcity of it. Oh, and the cost was a bit ridiculous for a soda, so I limited my purchases. Paying $10 for 2 liters is a bit much or $4 for a small bottle. The problem now is that I introduced my kids to the drink, and they love it too!

Today I found a neat looking bottle of vodka that I had to own. And what better way to enjoy the vodka with than some Irn-Bru? Tonight I’m enjoying a vodka and Irn-Bru. It brought back some great memories. Perhaps one day I’ll share with my kids some vodka and Irn-Bru. Until then, this is my treat.

Perler Beads

“How do you use Perler Beads?”

That was the question I asked back in August 2010 when I first discovered them at a convention. Eventually we bought a few of the crafting sets and learned how to use them. It was an easy process and soon we branched out and began to focus on some other creations.

What are Perler Beads?

Perler Beads are small plastic beads that you lay beside one another to make an image, followed by melting them. There are clear plastic plates with tiny pegs which you use for the projects. They are about 4 inch square. Using tweezers to place the beads in formation- eventually you get an image.

Most of this craft is counting and separating coloured beads. Once the image is done- you use a wax style of paper and iron gently in order to melt the beads together. We liked to melt them only slightly to keep the the image, while I have seen other melt them flat, thus “bleeding” the beads together.

Today I discovered a set of coasters I had made years ago. Perler Beads are perfect for recreating 8 Bit or 16 Bit video game characters. Artistically- I found each image needed a bit of “shading” to make the images pop. By “shading” I used a colour that was similar but a tad bit darker. Greens, blues, red, yellows, etc.. all popped around the black frame.

Our kids used the coaster video game characters as templates and made numerous magnets which they would sell at conventions in order to earn some spending cash at the shows. They also made Hello Kitty hair clips and keychain Mine Craft tools which were very popular.

My favorite that I have made to date, also happens to be the largest. We bought an oversized plate and I filled it up with beads to create a Jack Skellington for the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. This particular creation took me about 5 hours and 3500 beads to complete.

Making Perler Bead creations was a fun family hobby when the kids were younger. We still have a metric shit-ton of the beads in all sorts of colours. After discovering my original coasters- I have a feeling that the kids may want to start making them again once more.

Or I could be terribly wrong and our kids will go on to be teenagers and grow their social lives. But I still like crafting and may return to it soon.

Snow Day. S’no Way!

Yesterday the kids had a snow day from school. I also had a rough time trying to get out of our neighborhood to go into work, so I ended up having a snow day as well. The downside to that is I’ll be making up my work day but my kids won’t have to. So what did I do to my kids? I made them work in the snow!

Our driveway and back deck needed shoveling. A couple of times. I also had the kids gather up firewood in order to keep the house warm. Understandably there was a fair bit of grumbling to be had. But I made them some pizza bites and hot chocolate for lunch.

By the afternoon it had cleared up somewhat. It was now just very windy and much colder than before. Our little cul-de-sac and nearby side streets were still being ignored by the plows and salt truck. The kids don’t have a sled or any nearby hills to enjoy but they wanted to go outside.

So they pulled out our old inflatable boat and bombed up and down our empty street in it. They got the idea from me when I was talking about a bad snow storm from back when I was about 19-20 years old. I talked about my sister’s boyfriend at the time who had a 4×4 truck and he dragged me in a sled up the street doing about 60km/h.

Our kids did something similar, but not at the same speed. Much, much slower. Their fun only last about 30 minutes because of how cold it was. But their ingenuity and joy made me happy for them. I opted to remain warm.

How do you spend your snow days? Do you stay warm inside or get out and have fun?

Winter Hats

Who makes the best winter hats? Clearly I’m going to tell you it’s my wife! She has been making fleece hats for almost fifteen years. So she knows a thing or two about what she’s doing. She’s the definition of a “Mompreneur”.

What does the Fox say?

As a family, we’ve had so much fun because of her small business. From sporting these great hats to attending a Multitude of Comic Conventions. Nowadays, my wife and I are far too busy to attend those shows, but she still makes hats from her online store- Ningen Headwear.

So while your stuck at home and despising the weather- surf the Internet and check out Ningen Headwear . My wife would be happy to make custom colored hats to keep you warm this winter!

Property Value

Here in British Columbia, homeowners have been receiving their 2019 property assessments. According to news reports, it sounds like values have decreased slightly across the Lower Mainland.

In my opinion, I’m hoping the trend plateaus now. The decrease doesn’t bother me since we bought our home almost 13 years ago. Sure, I want to see the value increase- that just makes me “house rich and cash poor.” Every so often, I search for other listings in the Lower Mainland- future prospects for houses or neighborhoods. The “ideal” home for us once our children become adults.

Only, I don’t know what our kids will do in the future.

Will they move out or will they need their own suite to live in? Or should we look at a home that eventually our kids can take ownership of? Or do my wife and I just look out for ourselves and downsize?

I don’t know at this time. So that means- we will stay put for a few more years. And it doesn’t matter whether the assessment of our property increases or decreases. What matters now is- what will our property taxes be?

More BC Winter Games Excitement For Our Family

Besides the awesome news that our son will be competing at BC Winter Games (read about it here: 2020 Skating Journey), we received some other news yesterday as well. Our daughter Darwin is also attending! However, she won’t be skating competitively, she will be there in a different role.

She applied for and was accepted to take part in BC Speed Skating’s Young Officials program. That means as a young official, she will receive officials’ training and will officiate at the Games (primarily as track stewards), as well as serving as athlete mentors to the skaters competing at the Games. This is a perfect position for her since she was once a cheerleader and has always supported our club in many aspects. She is a junior coach a couple of times a week and has volunteered at numerous meets throughout BC.

Young Officials also get to travel and be with the athletes throughout the Games. My wife and I will be attending as spectators during the BC Winter Games. We will be hiding in the audience as our children take center stage ice. This event is exciting for us all and kind of a big stepping stone for the future of our children.

Thanks for reading this proud parent post. Be aware that many more are still to come!

Yo-yo Yo

Last night my son asked me if I knew how to yo-yo. A couple years back I donated some Puzzles and wooden yo-yos to him. He never really cared for the yo-yos before but loved the puzzles.

His fascination with the yo-yo kind of started a few days ago when we were watching a collection of Vine videos on YouTube and one of them involved Tom Smothers aka “The Yo-yo Man”. This clip is from back in the 80’s- which was around the time I used to watch “The Smothers Brothers” when the show was revived in 1988-1989. That was when I became interested in the yo-yo but it never blossomed into much.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that I really fell in love with yo-yo. Put it up there with hackysack as useless but fun pastimes which I excelled at in the mid 90’s. So I naturally jumped at the opportunity to show off some of my lame dad skills to my son last night.

I started with showing him the basics of the yo-yo. String, wax and the wooden classic yo-yo. My son took my “well loved” green yo-yo and I used my more pristine red one. I showed him some basic tricks like “sleeping”, “forward pass”, “walking the dog” and “around the world”. It’ll take me some more practice to dust of my other skills to get back to things like “rock the baby”.

Hopefully my son enjoys this useless pastime like I did. Looking online, there are plenty of YouTube videos teaching people how to yo-yo. I even found a video available on Amazon of Tom Smothers on VHS!

Did you ever enjoy this simple toy? Or did you get into some professional style ones? Let me know in the comments.

Eating Healthier

Over the winter break, there is an over indulgence in eating. Lots of treats and rich foods that show up during that time of year. With a New Year comes all those plans to start eating better and live a healthy lifestyle.

Yesterday my wife went out and splurged on fruits and vegetables. I say “splurged” because it’s winter and many of those foods are greenhouse grown this time of year and cost far more than they do any other time. But it’s back to school time today and the kids need balanced food groups. Some favorites are in our home- such as apples, oranges, and bananas- all for consumption to offset those cookies from last month. My wife even bought a dragonfruit- a family favorite.

I’m not sure how to explain her purchase of “Oreo Flavoured Candy Canes” though. Perhaps a little bit of sugary treats are still desired. I guess she can’t expect us to go über healthy all at once, right?

Classic Disney Films

Over the winter break, the family and I have been enjoying Disney+. Besides enjoying some of the newest content like The Mandalorian or Jeff Goldblum- we’ve been watching some of the oldest films in the library.

Last night was “Journey to the Center of the Earth“. I don’t recall ever watching it before. It wasn’t what I expected considering what my mind perceives Jules Verne works to be.

The other day, I made the family sit through “The Blackhole“. This was my choice after my wife had us watch “The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes“. Both were rather bad.

But when you look at the original release years of these films- they are ahead of their time in special effects, even if the dialogue is more poetic and theatrical. We have a few other films that we will watch as we jump around the various decades of movie magic that Disney has to offer.

A couple weeks ago the kids did enjoy “The Flight of the Navigator” and I happened to notice some other Live Action Disney films that we may need to have a viewing of. “The Rocketeer” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” are in our queue already.

Have you been watching some old content from Disney+ lately? Let me know if some of those films and tv shows hold up. I’m pretty sure “Ducktales” does, but “Hanna Montana” may not.

Brain Power

Yesterday was rather windy. Living in a neighborhood filled with trees and power lines- it was only a matter of time until our power went out. I’m glad it happened after dinner at least.

Our fireplace kept us warm during the outage.

I had started a fire shortly before dinner to begin warming the house. As soon as the power went out, the kids sprang into action and gathered up candles and flashlights. I headed outside and turned on our portable generator. We connected a small space heater and a couple of table lamps.

The kids have decided that during power outages we need to play a board game to pass the time. Last night’s game was Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition. To my surprise our oldest daughter ended up winning the game and my wife came in last. Going through the questions I realized that I don’t know much about sports or recent historical events.

It was a fairly good evening as we hung out as a family without a screen being on. But almost immediately after our game ended- the power returned. Then we went to the living room and streamed some Disney+ before retreating off to bed.

How do you handle power failures? When was the last time you played Trivial Pursuit? Let me know in the comments.