One more golf game

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Spencer, Grandpa Dibble, and I woke up early today to play one last round of golf before flying back to Germany. Spencer went with grandpa several times, but I was too busy with packing up the house, so I only made it today. We had great weather, and all had a great time. The highlight was probably Spencer’s 250 yard drive. Thanks for taking us Dave!

Cake Maker

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Meg has been wanting to learn how to decorate cakes. Our friend Sarah is very good at it, and volunteered to teach her. She made a fantastic lemon cake with raspberry jelly filling. Sarah’s daughter Natalie and their friend Sofia helped a bit as well. To give you an impression of how good the cake was, note that even Spencer liked it, who usually only likes ice cream cake. Thanks Sarah!

Building a PC

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Spencer has been wanting a gaming PC for probably close to a year now. He has been saving up his allowance and birthday and Christmas money. Clare and I decided to also chip in some, and that it would be fun to build a PC instead of buying one pre-made. We also decided to do it while we were visiting the USA, since electronics are generally cheaper there. Spencer and I both did a bunch of research, and ended up putting together a decent PC. We put it together with his uncle Drew, who has quite a bit of experience building PCs.

RGB is all the rage these days, so there is as much RGB as possible! – 3 fans in the front of the case, the RAM, the CPU cooler, and even the power supply. We did get a bit unlucky with the graphics card. The first card we ordered on Amazon.com got cancelled. Then we decided to order one on Newegg.com instead. We ordered it on July 3rd. It said that customers typically receive it in 5-17 days. A label was created on July 9th, but no other status updates yet. If we don’t get it by the time we leave for Germany, we will have to cancel and order one in Germany I think. Luckily uncle Drew let us borrow one from his gaming rig, which he doesn’t spend too much time using these days, since he is busy wrangling his three young children. We made a few mistakes along the way, like installing the m.2 SSD into the wrong location on the motherboard, and not ordering a Wifi/bluetooth module. Drew fixed the first issue, and we are still waiting on an order for the second issue.

Specs:

Case Corsair airflow
CPU Intel Core i3 10100f LGA 1200
CPU CoolerVetroo V5 White CPU Air Cooler w/ 5 Heat Pipes 120mm
Graphics card MSI Nvidia GTX 1650 dual
Motherboard –ASUS Prime Z590-P LGA 1200
RAM Corsair vengeance rgb pro 16GB (2x8GB)
SSD Western digital blue 1tb m.2
Power supply Corsair CX650F RGB

So far Spencer was able to get about 85 or 90 FPS on Fortnite, which is a big improvement over the 30 FPS playing on the Nintendo Switch. We decided to spend more on the motherboard and less on the CPU, so that it would be easier to upgrade in the future. Hopefully it will last for a number of years. Spencer was very excited to show his friends his new PC.

Golfing with Sadie and Grandpa Felty

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Spencer was very excited to go golfing with Grandpa Felty. We carved out some time to go on Friday, while Meg, Clare and Grandma made a tasty tart.

We played nine holes at Wyandotte shores. I was really impressed at how good Sadie has gotten. Thanks for taking us dad!

Felty group photos

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It wouldn’t be a visit without capturing a group picture. We tried a couple different spots around grandma and grandpa’s new condominium. Still not certain what the best option is. I finally had to replace the batteries in my remote control after 12 years or so. That little remote was a great buy! Which picture is your favorite?

It was really great to get together. We have really missed the Feltys. Hopefully it won’t be two long years again before we see them. In the meantime, we are thankful for the modern technology of video chat.

Meg’s 4th grade graduation

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July 2nd was Meg’s last day of elementary school. In August, she will be heading off to the Gymnasium for 9 years, and then likely off to university (perhaps in Paris) where she will prepare to be a programmer for space ships (unless she changes her mind along the way). Several of her classmates will be joining her at the gymnasium, while some will be going to different schools.

This is my second elementary school graduation ceremony so far. Spencer had his two years ago. That was before Corona, so it was quite different. In spite of Corona, the school was able to put together a very nice ceremony for the kids. The class performed a cup song, which was very cool.

In addition, Meg got a certificate for a Math competition she entered. She made it to the third round (along with 1000 other kids out of 23,000 who entered from North Rhine Westphalia). We are very proud of her. (Spencer also did really well in the math competition he entered (49 out of 50 points).

Meg’s 4th grade art

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I think that Meg’s art teacher in elementary school has been really great. She has introduced them to a bunch of different artists and techniques. My only complaint is that we never see most of the art until the end of the school year. Meg brought home all her creations this week, and I decided to digitize them as well as hang them up on our walls. Meg’s favorites are the one of the moon and the earth, and the waterlilies in the style of Clause Monet. My favorite is their school building in the style of Hundertwasser.

If you click on the individual images there is some more information about each creation.

Father son weekend

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Last weekend I spent some extra time with Meg. This weekend she was on a camping trip with the scouts, and I got to spend some extra time with Spencer. We had beautiful weather! We slept in a bit on Saturday, and then had breakfast on the balcony. Our friends Thomas and Ulli are plant sitting for us while we are in the USA, so we brought the rest of our house plants to them at their garden plot and had lunch. We brought our new table tennis paddles with us and played for quite awhile in the nearby park. We also enjoyed the zip line there, which is one of the best around.

The European cup soccer matches are going on right now, so in the evening we watched Denmark against Wales, and then Austria against Italy.

Spencer and Rob say cheers
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On Sunday we had more great weather. We had breakfast on the balcony again, and then went to the park to play a little bit of soccer. I fell at some point and seemed to injure my toe a bit. Getting old is tough. Spencer then had a soccer game with this team, the first in about 10 months. It was just a friendly game against the 2008 team from his club, VfR Würselen. Unfortunately I ended up missing a bunch of the game because I had to pick up Meg from her scout trip, but I did get to see him play for about 30 minutes. It was the first time they played a game with 11 versus 11 on the full field. Some of the older boys were a good head taller than the younger boys. Nevertheless, they played very well. Spencer’s coach commented to me personally afterward that Spencer did very well. He has grown so tall in the last year. In another year, he might be taller than me!

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Meg’s future

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Meg recently had an assignment at school to make a drawing of how she saw herself in the future, as if looking through a keyhole. She plans to be a programmer for NASA. She drew herself watching a rocket launch.

Looking into Meg’s future as a NASA programmer

Her class also made drawings to represent them leaving elementary school to go off to secondary school in the fall. Their class mascot is the penguin. They voted to make the best picture the official one. The voting turned out to be a tie, with Meg and Felix winning. They then worked together to incorporate the different elements of their pictures together. Meg was not excited to have to work together with Felix, but she handled it well. The end result was actually better than I thought it would be. I had imagined that having 2 people work on the same painting would end up looking like a painting drawn by two different people, but they did a pretty good job of matching styles to make it look coherent. Here you can compare for yourself (drag the arrows in the middle to switch between Meg’s original on the left and the final result on the right).

Meg’s drawing vs. the final image after collaborating with Felix

I think Meg’s penguin is much cuter, but I do like some of the elements from the final result, like swapping the subject names for the names of the kids in the class. Subject names as stickers on a suitcase makes a little bit more sense in my opinion, but having the kids names is nice as a memento. I think Meg is going to miss Mrs. Gehrmann. She was really a great teacher. It is amazing to see how much Meg has grown in 3 years.

Good Friday = Hot cross buns

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One of the great traditions I learned from my mom is hot cross buns. I have taken the tradition from her and been making them with the kids for several years now. As a kid I remembered having them for Easter, and at some times during Lent as well, even though one should technically be fasting. The last couple years I had been waiting until Easter to have them, but I learned last year that I had been doing it wrong – they should actually be made and eaten on Good Friday, so that is what I did this year.

Meg and I had lots of fun making them. Spencer helped out with the frosting part. I also decided to put the recipe on the website too, in case you want to try it at your house. They came out particularly good this year.

In addition to hot cross buns, we also made cream cheese mold cookies. I am actually not sure what they are called. My mom made them with Meg a couple years ago when we were visiting them in Michigan, and Meg thought they were super cool. My mom gave us a couple of her candy molds so we could make them ourselves. Clare tried to make them with Meg once last year, but they ran out of powdered sugar and gave up. We also used up so much powdered sugar that we had to ask a friend for some more for the hot cross bun icing.

Cream cheese mint delights
Cream cheese mint delights

We made green mint trees, lemon yellow stars, orange sunflowers, and red almond roses ( and also some yellow roses, because the stars didn’t come out very well). I remember my mom making these for church events when I was young, but I don’t really remember helping. After some trial and error with the consistency, I realized that I needed to take the mention of “play-dough” in the recipe seriously. The dough needs to be quite stiff in order for it not to stick in the molds.

In addition to tasty treats, we also have been enjoying all the magnolia trees in bloom. Clare and I took a long walk today while the sun was peaking out and snapped a few pictures.