June ’24

The highlight of the month was at the end, but we also started the month pretty nice with a healthy dose of creativity. We made a couple of beautiful coco-orchids. One for each kid, and they turned out spectacular!

The kids started their summer break! First they will spend two weeks near home where they will spend one week doing a canoe course. The weather during the canoe course was not the best, and a couple of days there was even a bit of rain.

It was also a month filled with birthdays. First Ana, than me. This time my birthday is extra special. It will be my last birthday in my 40’s. Next year I will start with my fifties. Time is going so fast! To celebrate I planned a weekend in Tenerife, where Ana and I will visit the concert of Ed Sheeran! First we will fly to Tenerife, where we will arrive pretty early. After arriving we will go and check out our hotel and leave our bags. Get some food and relax a bit, then we can go to the concert. After the concert we spend the night in the hotel, and the next morning we have to wake up quite early to fly back home.

Coco orchid

Coco orchid!Step one was a coco box with coco cookies. It was a great project, the cookies taste great and the coco box was a nice decoration. Still, I had the idea that we could improve the concept. After some mind-storming the coco orchid project was born. There are three parts. A coco that we use to hold the plant. A base to hold the coco, and a pretty mini orchid to provide some stunning beauty.

1. Cut/saw the top of the coco. Clean the inside and let the coco dry.
2. Smooth the edges of the coco, and smooth the outside and the inside with some sandpaper.
3. Lightly oil the inside of the coco, with a little bit of oil, to make the coco a bit more water resistant.
4. Make the base, cut a piece of plastic from a bottle, and wrap it with brown wool. The brown wool combines well with the color of the coconut.
5. Buy a mini orchid, and transplant it into the coco. Add some additional material to surround the base of the orchid to it does not move around, but there should still be lots of air/space around the roots.

Enjoy!

Mini orchid: 16 euro, coconut: 1.50 euro, water bottle: 1 euro, a ball of brown wool: 1 euro. Total: 19:50 euro
Enjoy a beautiful orchid every time you come home: Priceless!

May ’24

The month started with a weekend all-in in the south of the island. It was mothers-day so we booked a nice hotel with a couple of friends. Ana got a really nice tide clock and a couple of smaller heartfelt gifts. We only spend one night but it was a very enjoyable stay.

As easy as it gets… Well, I do think there are a few aspects that can and should be made even easier. My passport will stop being valid in a couple of months, so I needed to get a new version. For this I needed to travel to Madrid, and make an appointment with the Dutch embassy. After creating a new account on their website I could print a form, which I needed together with a couple certificates and some photos. With all the paperwork I can travel to Madrid, and ask it they can send the passport to my home. That will save me from taking another day off and buying another ticket to Madrid. Then after going home I will need to send in my old passport and then wait nearly two months for my new document to arrive.

Combining tedious/mandatory tasks with a bit of fun is one of the enjoyable things in life. Simply ‘making the best of any situation’ is a very important ability. Once mastered it allows you to greatly enhance the feeling of happiness in your live. This trip is a perfect example. Instead of thinking about wasted holidays, wasted money for tickets, and wasted time I will spend the weekend with Miguel, my kids godfather, pan-godfather and a very good friend. This is bound to be a happy weekend.

It was probably not the smartest impulse I have ever had, but I did it anyway and signed myself up for the Bestial Race. I am going to try and finish the ‘6KM – Hell’ category. I am grateful that I have until December to prepare myself.

Coco cookies

Coco cookies!Super easy, super tasty and super fun to make. What else could you ask for.

Ingredients:
– A package of cookies
– Condensed milk
– A package of coconut powder

Step 1: Throw all the cookies into the blender and mash them up into a fine or semi-fine powder.
Step 2: Mix the cookie powder with a part of the coconut powder and the condensed milk. Mix it all up, and then make small balls of the mix.
Step 3: Roll the balls through the coconut powder and lay them all out on a big plate. When you have all the balls place the plate in the refrigerator. After the balls have turned more firm in the fridge they are all done!

Extra (will take a lot more time preparing):
– Buy one or two coconuts to present your coconut cookies in style.

Use a saw to cut the coconut in half. Use only the part without the three marks, and try and give this part the ideal size you prefer. One of the three marks can be easily pushed in, push a hole in this mark to get all of the liquid out of the coconut. Once drained saw the coconut in half carefully. Take out the white insides with a spoon, and leave the coconut a white so it can dry. Now you need to make the inside and the edge smooth using sandpaper.
You can leave the outside a bit rougher if you like, but it will make the coconut more difficult to clean. I smoothed the top two centimeters of the outside, so it will be nice when using the coconut for drinking. In this case we will not drink from the coco; we will fill it up with the coco-balls we created. The perfect presentation.

Costs: Cheap package of cookies: 1.20, condensed milk: 2.50, coco powder: 2.00, two coconuts: 2.00. Total: 13.97.
Homemade coco-balls presented in a fantastic coco-cup: Priceless

Tide clock!

Tide clock!I bought the mechanism for a tidal clock. Basically a regular clock, but instead of showing the hours it will indicate the time it takes to reach high tide and low tide. We love visiting the La Laja beach with low tide, so this is a perfect ‘thing’ to place on the wall. I only bought the mechanism, so I will need to make the entire clock myself. I could have bought a finished product directly, but I did not like the versions that were available. I thought I could do better myself.

A tide clock is specifically designed to track the motion of the tides, which are influenced by the Moon’s position relative to the Earth. A tide clock typically completes one cycle every 12 hours and 25 minutes, reflecting the average time between two high tides or two low tides.

  • Get the tide mechanism. Note that there is only one dial! There is only one dial needed to indicate the water is going up or going down. There is no need for a dial indicating minutes or seconds.
  • Get a regular clock. Try and find a cheap one where you can more or less easily disconnect the plastic front panel, and disconnect the clock mechanism.
  • Dismantle the regular clock. Remove the mechanism and remove the backplate. We only need the outside frame and the plastic front cover.
  • Create a new backplate, and put it in the clock. The backplate has the term ‘High tide’ on top. Then to the right a countdown to low tide. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. At the bottom we have the text ‘Low tide’ and on the left of the backplate we have a countdown to high tide from the bottom to the top. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
  • Place the tide mechanism in the clock, and the tide clock is finished!

Costs: Mechanism 3.47, Clock: 8.50, Paper/decoration: 2.00. Total: 13.97.
Having a beautiful homemade tide clock on the wall: Priceless

April ’24

Business Run 2024!In April I had to flame. At a business run I ran 10K with some colleagues through Las Palmas. I had been training for the last couple of months, so the actual running went very well. I was aiming at finishing in less than an hour, hopefully close to the 50 minutes mark, but that depended a bit on the traffic at the start of the race. Sometimes it takes a while for the masses to disperse, which makes it hard to run the first few kilometers. In the end I was very happy with my time. I finished in 45:39 (in part because the distance was a bit less than the advertised 10K, according to my own measurements the track was almost half a kilometer to short) :D.

Our friend Begonia and her partner were visiting Gran Canaria with their boat. They were docked in the harbor, so we had a perfect reason to visit. The kids loved the ship and all the stories of adventure. Later at home we watched the documentary that was made about their previous ship, the ‘Gandul’, and the adventure that lead to it sinking in the middle of the ocean.

March ’24

Grandma Nel is visiting us for nearly two weeks. We played a few colonist games. Ate delicious paling, and lots of different Dutch treats. We visited the cave of Guayadeque. Observed Alan’s football match, observed Alex’ tennis training. We had fun with a balloon. We relaxed and enjoyed the Doramas park. A couple of days we had drinks at the windy park (parque del viento), we visited la Laja beach, sadly suffering a bit of damage, but even considering the damage we had a good time.

In Spain we celebrate fathers day the 19th of March. Sadly, it was not a good day for me. I did not get an ashtray, nor a macaroni necklace… nothing. I got nothing and that hurt. They used to make something at school, but this was stopped because some kids have two mothers, or only one parent, and to avoid confusion I got nothing on my day. Luckily I still had some beer bonbons from Grandma Nel to make me feel better.

The Orville!This month we finished our first series of the year. Since January we have been watching all the Orville‘s. We had some great times relaxing on the couch with some popcorn, watching all the adventures. There was only one episode that was maybe a bit to scary for the kids, the rest was great. In our home we now frequently hear phrases like “Can you open that jar of pickels” and “You! Be silent!”.

After grandma’s visit we had another visitor. The kids godfather and pan-godfather, Miguel. With Miguel we visited the Aldea, the ‘barranco de las Vacas’, the dunes in the south, the natural reserve Azuaje, and we had a fantastic experience at a teppan-jaki restaurant. We also watched all the Kung Fu panda movies, because the forth movie was just release and we went to watch it in the theater.

February ’24

No snow?!This month we are going skiing. For me it has been about 15 years since I last went on a ski trip. I’m not sure I remember, but I am sure hopeful I will pick up the pace quickly. Alex has had some indoor practice, and for Alan it will be an all new experience. Ana is like me. She is experienced, but her last trip was also years ago. There was some uncertainty about the availability of snow on the piste. At my work it lead to a couple of laughs and even involved some AI. A couple of days before leaving some snow started to fall, but it was not enough to have white snowy pistes. In the end only some pistes with artificial snow could be used.

Skiing was fun! We started out in ‘La Molina‘, and visited ‘Marsella’, and ‘Les Angles’ in France. Skiing was like swimming. Almost right away I remembered how to do it. I was afraid I had forgotten, but the memory was still there. The kids also learned a lot! Alex can now safely go down a red piste, and is starting to ski in paralel. Alan can now easily go down green and blue pistes.

Hobby

I am a big fan of the game where you need to push big piles of coins from a plateau. A so-called ‘Pusher’. I have thought about buying a game a couple of times, but I always resisted. A pusher game is expensive, and it take a lot of space. I thought of a new approach. I bought the plans for the machine, and ordered the pieces to be laser cut. When they arrive I will only have to put the pieces together, and then I can do all the hardware myself. A small computer that drives a small motor and some lights, and manages some bells and whistles. If it works out I hope to improve the plans, and maybe make a transparent pusher.

January ’24

We started the year with Ana’s family visiting us. Juanjo put a very nice impression on how 2024 started for us on his YouTube channel. A few days later we had a visit from Marco and his family, which was fun. We went to Guayadeque for a small walk and some food in one of the caves. Afterwards we visited our home and has a stroll in the Doramas park, where I learned the magical words to get a nice picture with the kids: ‘Backs strait!’.

I, once again, paid Apple 99 euro to be able to develop iOS apps for another year, but my first app is still not done, even after being in the pipeline for over a year. I will see how it goes. Maybe this year I will find some time.

Casa de los Enigmas!Our apartment entrance is right next to an escape room. It started a couple of years ago, and now we see big crowds standing in front of their door every now and then. This month it was finally our turn to try and escape. Well, we did it, with only seconds on the clock we managed to escape the room within the hour. It was a fun adventure, something different to the things we normally do. The kids told us they had fun, although I did notice some agitation during the game, probably caused by the stress about wanting to escape as fast as possible.

Agenda

Agenda?!Keeping an agenda is a very simple and effective way to keep track of things you need to do. You make plans, and you write them down on the date for which they are meant to be finished. This way you can select any day and see what needs to be done on that day, because all the plans you made in the past are written down of the day the plan was for. Logical.

Well, it seems that the logical way of using an agenda is not so logical after all. Our kids are learning something different on their school. All their tasks and appointments are written down on the day they initiated, with an indication for what day they are for. For example, the entry for today could be: ‘Tomorrow read biology page 64’, ‘Next week, on Wednesday, exam language’. The result is an, as I see it, useless agenda. Every day you need to look back for one or two weeks to see if there are any tasks for tomorrow. A terrible way of using an agenda, and a terrible thing to teach the kids.