January 7, 2006

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WELCOME BACK:  Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2006, can you believe it? Where does the time go? We're off to sort of a late start because the first weekend of January falls on the 7th and we always send our newsletter on the first weekend of the month.

We hope your holidays were great and your new year is starting with a bang. We had a really nice Christmas and Santa was kind. We were even luckier because Ken's brother Ron and wife Lolli made it up for the Christmas and New Year's celebration. That plus they are staying over to see the birth of their new grandbaby around the 10th of the month. His son Jeff and wife Trina are expecting their third. We were expecting our third grand baby but Ken's daughter and husband lost their baby just four day's before Christmas. She was about six months along. That's a tough way to start the holidays but the good news is that Jenni seems to be doing OK.

The New Year is a time for reflection on the past year to help focus on what worked and what didn't, what should change and what should remain the same. As we look back over the year we had a wonderful vacation through Yellowstone, Grand Teton's and other wondrous places. Since that was so much fun we plan to do the same this year only to a different part of the country. We published twelve RunnerDuck newsletters and made lots of new friends over the Internet. We hopefully provided some neat projects that you and your family found fun to do. Since that worked we plan to continue publishing once a month. We didn't get out on our boat last year and that needs to change. We have a nice cabin cruiser tied to our dock in Bellingham, Washington just waiting to go explore the San Juan Islands, we plan to get out on the water this year. The list goes on but you get the idea. We are going to be selective and focus on doing more of the things we really enjoy. We hope that you will too and have a great year!

The New Year is also a time for resolutions. We always promise to do something differently in the months to come like loose weight, exercise more, stop drinking so much coffee and things like that. We are going to try to do all those things but more as a way to improve our lives rather than to keep a promise. It seems like a "resolution" is something that hangs over your head until you break it and then everything is better. We think that if you just make up your mind to do something and stick with it you'll be a lot better off. Save the resolutions for things like "I'll make the world a better place to live" or other grand things and make your mind up to do the things that truly effect your day to day life.

Hard Maple Kitchen Wares

Bob and Jean at Woodn Wares worked their poor fingers to the bone over the Christmas season. They had a bunch of orders for their kitchen utensils and spoon oil. They filled all the orders and are now ready to take more. If you didn't get that wonderful hard maple, hand crafted kitchen utensil for Christmas then take the plunge now and order your own. You can read all about Bob and Jean's spoon making in our travelogue of Yellowstone at www.runnerduck.com/vacation05/vacation_2005-05.htm

All of the great products that they make are on our web site at www.runnerduck.com/woodnwares.htm. Not only are the spoons great but the Spoon Oil works wonders on all wooden kitchen surfaces like butcher blocks, cutting boards and other wooden utensils.

Thank you,
Ken and Marilyn

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What's New?   For Christmas Ken's brother Ron got him a radio controlled electric model airplane. He's been wanting one and Ron is a big RC flying nut. He has about seven airplanes in varying sizes all the way from small electric's to large four cycle gas planes. He thought it would be fun to share the sickness ;-)

They put the plane together over the Christmas break but the weather in Western Washington has not been kind. These small electric airplanes, called Park Flyers, don't fly well in the wind. Anything above about three miles per hour and they can be a handful especially when you are just learning to fly. We did manage to get out long enough for Ken to stuff it into the ground and break the prop. After a quick fix at home we took it out again and actually made a take off, circled around a few times and the most important part made a landing!

On the PT Cruiser front we pretty much have the exterior looking the way we want it. The last addition was the white wall tires which are pretty cool. Here's a picture of it the way it stands. If you see it driving down the road be sure to give a big wave, it really makes Ken feel good!


Batteries are the life blood of all your portable digital devices. Nothing more frustrating than to turn on your digital camera or your MP3 player only to find the batteries dead or only get a few pictures or a few minutes of sound before it dies. In the cold of the winter things get even worse for batteries. They really don't like the cold and cold temperatures will reduce the effective operating time for them. So what's a person to do?

First of all make sure that your batteries are fully charged before you venture out into the cold. Find a warm place for your device as well as your spare batteries. If you have a good insulated camera bag, keep your camera in it while traveling in your car. For your smaller things like pocket digital cameras and MP3 players, keep them next to your body. When you actually head out into the cold on foot keep your camera under your coat and keep your spare batteries in your pocket.

You'll find that if you make every attempt to keep your batteries warm you'll get a lot longer usable life out of them and not miss that perfect snap shot of uncle Barry with his head in the snow and his butt in the air!


Have you played at all with Google Maps or Google Earth? Talk about fun! Many of you probably use Map Quest or Maps.com to find locations or directions but you might want to consider Google Maps as an alternative. When you go to Google Maps you get a map of the United States and Canada and there is a box at the top. You can enter the address you are looking for or you can enter your location, the word "to" (no quotes) and the address where you want to go. A map will pop up with the route and a box with directions. It's simple and works great! Just go to http://maps.google.com/ and start traveling.

If you want to be a little more adventurous you can go to Google Earth and download the 11.5 Meg file. It's recommended that you have a broadband connection such as DSL or Cable. The instructions for using the program are on the Google Earth site and are really quite simple. Once you've installed the program and launched it you can type in an address and get a satellite image of that location. When we zoomed in our address we can see the path, pond and waterwheel in our back yard. Now that's pretty amazing. You can also tilt and rotate the image to get looks at it from different angles. You'll find Google Earth at http://earth.google.com/. Load it up and visit some of the places in the world you've always wanted to see up close and personal.


Marble Refrigerator Magnets

This project came to us in the form of a Christmas present from Ken's daughter Jenni. She had seen this somewhere and went out and got the pieces to make these cute refrigerator magnetics.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Clear Marbles that are flat on one side
  • Small round magnets
  • White glue
  • Permanent adhesive
  • Small pictures or printed letters
Using one of the marbles place it over pictures to find ones that will work. Or print out letters on your printer that will fit behind the marble.
Cut them out to fit the back of the marble.
Glue the pictures to the back of the magnet with a small amount of white glue. Let dry.
Glue a magnet to the back of the picture using a permanent adhesive. Let dry.

That's all there is to it. If you use letters you can spell out different words on the refrigerator. You can also use this idea to ornament other things in your house and use bigger flat sided marbles to make drawer pulls, pins, pendants, hair clips, etc.

Have fun with it and thanks Jenni for the neat idea!

     We hope you enjoy Marilyn's Corner and look forward to all the fun things she brings you each month. If you have a fun project that would be suitable for our newsletter we'd love to share it with our readers. Just contact marilyn at runnerduck.com and we'll do the rest.

Remember we have all of our past projects archived on our web site at www.runnerduck.com. Just click on the Projects or Kids Only Eggs.

Kids Stuff


We've just added tons of new toys to our Toys Outlet. Check out all the deals--with savings of up to 60%--on brands including Fisher-Price, Hasbro, LeapFrog, and Mattel in Toys Outlet.

The Tempos
News and CD of the Week

The Tempos big swing band want to wish you a very happy New Year and look forward to entertaining you throughout 2006. We have finished up the mix on our new CD, "Big Swing", and are working on the graphics and printing. We hope to have some CD available for your purchase in the near future.

In the mean time check out The Tempos music from our "Swing Set" CD on line! That's right, you can listen to The Tempos anytime just by going to their web site. The music files are MP3's and some are as large as 9 MEG but we think they are well worth the download. If you like traditional old swing music then you will probably enjoy our CD. Just go to www.runnerduck.com/tempos_cd.htm and click on any song title.

The Tempos big swing band is available for hire. If you have a special event that could use the wonderful music of a classic sixteen piece big band be sure to contact kennyb@runnerduck.com. We perform all over the Seattle area for all sorts of events.

Album Pick of the Week

"The Legendary Lou Rawls"
By Lou Rawls

As many of you may have heard by now Lou Rawls lost his battle with cancer yesterday and died at the age of 72. He leaves behind a lifetime of wonderful music and movies. He first came onto the music scene is 1962 and never looked back. Today we seem to have so many singers that all sound the same but Lou Rawls was one of a kind. We will never forget him and his smooth jazzy style will be with us forever.

This CD is made up of some of his most famous hits. I'm sure you all remember Tobacco Road and Willow Weep For me and my favorite God Bless The Child. They are all here to help make the memory last.


Be sure and visit the RunnerDuck Music Store for great savings on just about anything.


Our gas fireplace insert fan motor went out a few weeks ago and boy did we see a difference in our gas bill. We have about a three thousand square foot house and the way we heat it is with our gas fireplace insert. Of course that does not heat the whole house but it heats the main portion that we spend most of our time in. We close off the rooms that we rarely use and we keep the thermostat turned down to about 63 degrees F during the day. We keep it closer to 58 at night. We turn off the fireplace at night and use a blanket and comforter on the bed. In the morning the furnace comes on for a little bit to take the chill off and we fire up the fireplace again.

If you have a way to heat just the area that you are mostly in and keep the furnace turned down for the rest of the house you'll will see a dramatic savings as we do. Of course sweaters and sweatshirt's are a good hedge against the lower temperatures also.

If you have a conservation tip please send it to kennyb at runnerduck.com and we'll post it in our newsletter.

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Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen.

MAN: "Hello"

WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"

MAN: "Yes"

WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat. It's only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"

MAN: "Sure, ..go ahead if you like it that much."

WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2006 models. I saw one I really liked"

MAN: "How much?"

WOMAN: "$90,000"

MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing. The house I wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000"

MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer of $900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand. If it's really a pretty good price."

WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you so much!!"

MAN: "Bye! I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape.....

He smiles and asks: "Anyone know who this phone belongs to?...."


Cheese and Chili Appetizers

The Super Bowl is coming and these appetizers will make a great addition to the festivities. You can prepare them in the morning and then bake them just before you plan to eat them.

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Chopped Green Chilies
  • 8 ounces Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 40 1" Cubed Cheddar Cheese
Combine Butter, Garlic Powder, Worcestershire Sauce, Hot Peppers and Green Chilies.
Separate the dough into two long rectangular pieces.
Separate the triangles on the perforated lines and then reattach them by slightly overlapping and pressing them to the piece you separated it from.
You should now have two long rectangles with no separation lines.
Spread 2 Tablespoons of the mix onto each rectangle of dough.
Starting with the long side roll up the dough into a log.
Cut into pieces 1/2" thick, it should make about 20 pieces per log.
Place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Press a Cheddar Cheese Cube into the center of each piece.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 9 - 12 minutes.

This recipe makes 40 of these bite size treats. Now pop open your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy the game.

Remember, if you have a recipe you'd like to share please send it to marilyn at runnerduck.com. We'd be happy to post your favorite recipe on our Kitchen site or in our newsletter and give you credit.

     Every month we post a new recipe on our web page. Be sure and check out the New recipe at the RunnerDuck Kitchen Store.


"Complete Idiot's Guide to 5-Minute Appetizers
by Tod Dimmick


For more really creative and fast appetizers check out . A reader for Natick, Maine reviewed this cookbook and wrote, "I love this book! Not only are the recipes easy and quick, but finding the ingredients will be no problem, (if you don't already have them in your fridge or pantry). The ideas are fresh and simple. I often found myself saying, "Now why didn't I think of that?" The point being that I didn't.
I brought the sun-dried tomato and kalamata olive spread (served on toasted whole wheat pita wedges) to a party. They were a huge hit! I only got one bite before they disappeared.
If you want to serve delicious appetizers that are fast and easy to make, this is the "cookbook" for you."

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Drill Press Table/Fence

I've seen lots of fancy drill press tables for large drill presses but never anything for the small bench top presses. I decided to take it upon myself to design and build my own. It looks very similar to the big ones and I've used some of ideas that looked like they would fit a small table. I use it on my 9" Delta,

so your dimensions may be a little different. The result have been a table/fence that fits good and works good.

Here's what you'll need:
24" X 16" X 3/4" plywood
16" X 1" X 1/2" plywood
T-Track Kit

4' T-Track Kit
4' T-Track Kit

Mark the center of the table on the back 16" side. Mark 1" in and drill a 2" hole. This will be to clear around the post of the drill press.
Cut straight in to the edges of the hole.

Mark the centers of the T-slots 3 1/2" in from each side.
Use an Incra Bend Rule to mark 3/8" on each side of the center line around the edge.

INCRA Precision Bend Rules
INCRA Precision Bend Rules

Set your dado to 1/2" deep. To make setting the height easy I use a Combination Square and Height Gage.

12'' Combination Square 12" Combination Square Hi-Gage Square Attachment Hi-Gage Square Attachment

Measure T-Slot Height Measure Blade Height

Set the height gage to the T-track and then transfer that setting to the dado blade.

To see the rest of the instructions for this project go to www.runnerduck.com/drill_press_table.htm.

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If you have a project that you would like to share please send us an email and we'll help get it published in the RunnerDuck review. We are looking for woodworking, gardening, crafts and kids projects so send us your thoughts at kennyb@runnerduck.com.

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