Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rolfs In The Spotlight

It's been pretty quiet on the TEAM Rolfs blog front lately. You may not have noticed - everyone is pretty busy during the holidays.

We are pleased to announce that we enjoyed a fantastic winter break. Two full weeks of family bliss. At home. Without tragedies.

The family only made me leave for one hike. The other hikes that I managed to enjoy were voluntary. You can read about those over on the Big Rock Excursions blog if you haven't already seen them.

The first part of December, back in the days of school and work, the girls both performed a bit of holiday singing.

Alexia was the head angel in Salem's Annual Sunday School Christmas pageant. I guess you could say she wasn't the Star, but she sure is an Angel. (Be sure to comment on this post if you rolled your eyes just now).

She did a fantastic job.

Here are a couple videos - the first one is of Alexia (and friends) while the second one is just the younger kids singing Away In A Manger. I'm including it because I'm pretty sure it's a requirement to include that song in at least one holiday blog post.

Alexia's performance was followed by Mikayla performing with the MVHS Treble Choir group in MacIntyre Hall at Skagit Valley College.

That's all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read/watch this post.

More holiday pictures will be coming soon.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holiday Creativity

It's common knowledge that Tanya is a pretty creative person. One look at her classroom (and the the 41 scrapbooks I can see from the office) are plenty of evidence to prove that.

No one has come right out to say it, but I'm pretty sure they consider me to be 'less creative' than they are.

Maybe it's true.

Then again, maybe I only like to show my creativity around the holidays.

Looking back over the last few weeks, I decided to pat myself on the back for all the creative projects that started in my noggin and ended up becoming tangible objects.

As you can imagine, not all of my creative projects came out as winners.

Nevertheless, I hereby present to you my 2011 Holiday Creativity Masterpieces.

Just for kicks, I'll rank them in descending order from 'the best' down to 'what were you thinking'.

Top Item (and my favorite):
The 2012 Weekly Planner: "Contemplating Adventures"

I put this thing together in just one night, kind of a spur of the moment project. The problem is that 'spur of the moment' lasted from about 9pm to 2:30 a.m.

The other problem is that I wish it was a spiral bound book instead of a 'spine' book so it would lay open, flat. Kind of hard to write in it near the center.

Also, it would have been better if it had pictures on the weekly pages too (but I didn't figure out how to do that until a week and a half later).
At least now I know better. The 2013 version is already in the planning stages (submit your orders now!).

I don't expect anyone to actually buy this (except for me) but I'm excited to start using it next week (since it just arrived in the mail today). Mostly, it's a gift for myself, but if you happen to be in the market for a custom (and rather pricey) 2012 weekly planner... I know where you can get a pretty cool one.

Holiday Masterpiece #2:
This special project came about unexpectedly one day when I decided to apply my pine cone gnome skills that I learned through a 4-H Forestry program (at about the age of 10) plus the entertainment of Marcel The Shell videos which have been circulating on the internet.

Here is a sample pine cone gnome I made a couple years ago for one of the kids:

Here is a Marcel The Shell video, which you really should watch if you haven't seen it before.

Everyone in the family laughs at that video - but part of the fun is laughing with (or at) Tanya who can barely breath at points in the video (particularly the very end) due to her intense laughter.

So, it seemed an appropriate use of my "talents" to convert a snail shell found on a recent hike into our very own Marcel The Christmas Shell (with shoes). Complete with a little lint dog on a leash.

Surely it will become a family heirloom.


Maybe next year I'll make a Marcel The Christmas Shell video.

Holiday Masterpiece #3

Another creative skill that I learned years ago (1983 or so) was how to cook. The fact that I managed to get an 'A' in Cooking but could only manage to get a 'D' in Wood Shop was my second indication that not everyone is good at everything.

My first realization of that came in 7th grade Art Class. Those skills were only slightly better than my Wood Shop skills.

One of our Cooking projects in my first cooking class was to make spaghetti.

Never one of my Top 20 foods, cooking spaghetti wasn't really something I cared to know how to cook.

Much to my surprise, THIS spaghetti was FANTASTIC (well, except for the chunks of tomato and the onions). This receipe was immediately folded up and taken home... and subsequently adopted as our family spaghetti recipe.

When I went to college, the recipe went with me (mentally).

Eventually, it dawned on me that if something dreadful should ever happen to me, this secret recipe might be lost forever. So, I wrote it down on paper... but I wrote down the modified version to make sure no one ever screwed it up by using chuncks of tomatoes or onions.

Amazingly, that piece of paper survived the college years and found its way to the house on Harstene Island. The Parents still use this recipe when they have spaghetti - well, that's what they claim, anyway.

Sometime last year they handed me the hand written recipe from the college years. My memory recalls that they were hoping I'd re-write it (probably on a piece of paper that wasn't oily and stained) so it would continue to live on for years to come.

Months later I found the recipe on the top of the fridge and figured that was as good of a time as any to do something with it.

My handwriting is notoriously awful, so re-writing it wasn't going to do a lot of good. Instead, I decided to take a picture of it, thinking the image of the stained paper could live on while still carrying the evidence of its years of use.

Right away I ordered an 8x10 (or four of them) of the picture from Costco.

The next day, Tanya and I had a phone converstation that might have gone something like this:

E: Hey, are you going to Costco today?
T: Yes, right after I take the dogs to the groomer. I need to pick up my $19.23 of scrapbooking photos there and buy a fourth kind of dog food so the dogs stop throwing up in your shoes.
E: Oh. That's nice. Would you mind picking up my pictures while you are there?
T: Your pictures? Pictures of what?
E: It's for a Christmas project I'm working on. They're a few 8x10's.
T: WHAT? 8x10's? How much is THAT going to cost?
E: About $4.
T: Unbelievable!

--One hour later--

Ring Ring Ring
E: Hello?
T: You took pictures of a spaghetti recipe?
E: Yes. It's for The Parents.
T: I do NOT want to be any part of this plan.

The 8x10 pictures looked ok, but they clearly wouldn't last long in a kitchen environment; and Tanya had a point that not everyone really wants to look at my chicken-scratch writing. She might have suggested my penmanship may not be something we want to pass down from generation to generation.

Eventually I typed up a large font / fancy version of the recipe and then laminated the two together. One side is the original image of the recipe and the other side is a respectable (presentable) legible recipe.

When guests come over, the hand written side can be put face down. If desired.

See... I am creative.

Valentine's Day is coming right up... maybe there will be a few more creative masterpieces to share with you by then.

Stay tuned... more posts are coming soon.

Thanks for sticking around.