Monday, December 30, 2019

Five Tips for the Best Fire in the Fireplace (Including How to Make Homemade Fire Starters)

We have had a chilly, rainy winter in Phoenix. Last year I had, at most, a dozen fires in my fireplace. This year, we have had fires on a regular basis. We have also yet to turn our heat on, which I take as a win considering that it is the tail end of December. So aside from the nice ambiance of a fire in the fireplace, fires also have given us warmth to get through the chilly parts of the day.

I never seem to have a problem starting a campfire. In fact, about 18 years ago I built an epic campfire that still lives in family lore, through which I am certain I conjured the Bolrog. And yet I often seemed to struggle with getting a fire going inside a fireplace. This became evident when my wife and I bought our first house with a fireplace. Fires would smolder and fizzle, but seldom would blaze.

At some point, when time travel becomes possible and I can send myself information, my past self will be grateful to learn some tricks and tips to build a perfect fire. But for now my present self will be content to sit and read, blog, or watch a movie in front of a blazing fire in the fireplace.

So here are my tips on getting that perfect fire in the fireplace (or fire pit), based on hundreds of failed fire attempts.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christmas Movie Jeopardy

Nothing prepares me more for the holidays than curling up on the couch with a fire in the fireplace, cuddling with the family, and watching a wonderful Christmas movie. Our family has a pretty significant Christmas Movie Canon, and it is now to the point that we have to schedule out our movies to make sure we have time to watch them all. Needless to say, we love our Christmas movies.

For a teacher party, I recently made a Christmas Movie Jeopardy game. It was a huge hit, filled with some more difficult movies and some that may or may not be on your particular Christmas movie list.

So gather your friends, fill up your moose-head glasses with eggnog, pour some syrup onto your spaghetti, light up the Christmas tree and challenge your friends. And you may just end up with a new Christmas movie to watch this season.