Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Jen flew off to North Carolina to visit her mother for Mother's Day.  I had my booklet, one page for each day she was gone with instructions: address to Blueberry Farm, dentist appointment, pickup and drop-off times.  I was good.  I could do this.

Suddenly Scarlett said, "Daddy, my big robot project is due this week!"  I smiled confidently and flipped through my packet.  There was no mention of robots.  She was quite insistent and after a dig through papers on the desk we produced the neglected task.  It was indeed due Monday morning!

It's okay, we'll keep it simple . . .

Objective / Market / Requirements / Brainstorming
Make a big demo robot with poster and four little robots with four little posters for the robot market.

Concept Selection
We almost went for the little garden helper with grass on his head and a gardener's belt complete with seeds and a water hose.  I was rooting for the glowing mechanical butterfly with the fiber optic wings.  This was the point where Scarlett realized she couldn't make all of these but had to choose.  It was time for some tough decisions.

Preliminary Layout
Scarlett went away on her own and came back with this adorable fellow.  The "go-to-bed robot", note the lighted eyes and the singing along with rocket fire from the bottom or I suggested possibly adding wings.  Either way we had the vision and spent the rest of Friday procuring the needed materials.  Construction would start right after church.

Detailed Drawing
I may have pulled this together at church with my iPad . . . what? I was listening. 
(The rocket fire is last week's father-son upside-down-camping-trip fire.)

With the definitive layout in place it was time for the shop.
Scarlett is doing a great job learning to solder.
Caution: Watch out for flying molten hot metal!


This girl is having too much fun.  She repeatable kept giving me little hugs, telling me how much fun she was having and what a great dad I was.  I'm not going to lie it made me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

It's alive!

Carving his model number

Dream Bot: Little Blue 553

And now a word from the engineer

Project Documentation & Marketing
(No job is finished until the paperwork is done.)

One of the items she was required to put on her poster was the warranty.  After I explained the concept she wrote at the bottom, "Warranty:  if my falt I will fix. if your fault you fix."

Now that the demo model is done, all we have to do manufacture the robots required for her market day . . . there's still time . . . back to the workshop!

She calls the little ones "Mummies"

This girl is ready to share!

All packaged ready for sale!

Good luck Scarlett! I'm sure we will make a profit.  
At least we would if they weren't using fake market money! 
Thanks for letting your Daddy help out. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eggs & Cheese Complete!

Completed the Eggs & Cheese Section, 22 recipes (see far right)

Here are a few pics of some of the recipes.  Eggs Benedict and the Vegetable Frittata were by far the family favorites.

Eggs Benedict

Vegetable Frittata

Eggs with Kielbasa

Quiche Lorraine

Chilies Rellenos Bake

Classic Cheese Soufflé

Broccoli on Pizza! You think I wouldn't NOTICE!

Chunky Vegetable Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

Spinach Phyllo Pie

Great little helpers!

Betty Crocker Cookbook Progress:  
336 recipes complete; 225 to go; 59.9% Complete

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wes's 2016 Reading Pie

Legend: Outer ring to Inner ring
  1. Title
  2. Page Count
  3. Rating (5 is the best)
  4. Genre
  5. Format (not correlated to other rings)
75% Speculative Fiction
21% Non-Fiction
4% Thriller
  • Finally got around to reading the Alcatraz books.  It turns out that Sanderson is a genius at silly as well--lots of fun.  
  • Read Spiderwick to Scarlett and Desmond; although we haven't delivered on our promise to let them watch the movie as it still looks a bit too scary for even for Scarlett. Seems like these books should have targeted an older audience (4th grade maybe?) and been one book.
  • King's 11.22.63 was something new, great read.  
  • Loved my history reads this year; Franklin by Walter Isaacson, in particular was incredible.
  • Siddhartha's The Gene took everything I had from biology and added to it.  Enjoyed how he wove cultural and religious background as context to the scientific developments.
  • Really enjoyed Meyer's book The Chemist in a different field.
  • Another genius installment from the Gentleman Bastards series; looking forward to more.
  • Finished a couple of fantastic trilogies: The Reckoners and Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
  • Marie Kondo might have some sort of cleaning mental illness (my thought not hers) but I did learn a very satisfying way to fold towels and to get rid of things that don't make me happy.

While not 2014, still a good solid year.  I had an uptick in reading magazines in 2015 (not captured in my book charts).  In 2016, I used my new Bose headphones to watch a lot more TV shows.  This year was by far the biggest percentage of audiobooks partially due to working a lot; if not for reading to the kids and a couple ebooks on plane rides I might have been 100% audio.