The federal Child Tax Credit in 2021 is better than 2020, but it’s NOT new! I keep reminding myself that we received a $6k (3 kids >5 * $2k / child) credit in 2020 and 2021 will only be $3k more ($1k / >5 child). It’s also going to start coming monthly…but that’s just early $$$ (that I can’t expect when filing taxes next year).

Compare Child Tax Credit 2020 to 2021

  • there’s more newness in 2021 for other people (child under age 6 more $$$, older dependents, refundable credit, etc.) – do your own homework!
  • 2021’s changes don’t carry over to 2022 – unless laws change again


Office gossip, the weather, politics and sports are fun conversations outside the office with co-workers…for about 15 minutes 😉 Board games are a great way to provide structure and guided collaboration for a social/networking event.

If the group has limited experience with board games or even just limited experience gaming with each other then someone needs to be the host. The host will plan and facilitate the gaming.


Tips for the host

  • pick a couple short, basic games
  • coach the group that errors will be made…and we’ll roll with it
  • know how to play the games prior
    • plan to spend at least 15 minutes learning even the simple games below
    • like poorly run meetings, skipping your prework wastes your whole team’s time and sucks
  • really THINK about how you will teach the game
    • teaching/learning the rules is collaborative exercise in knowledge transfer
    • expect questions
  • expect you will not do well in the game
    • you should be focusing on if others are “getting it”


Game options

Consider player count, duration, event time vs teach/play time, the serious/silliness of the game

  • Skull – Amazon Affiliate Link
    • almost purely a bluffing game – fun to call BS on your co-workers
    • 10 minute teach, 5-10 minute rounds – great for a starter/ender
    • 4-6 players
  • Wits & Wagers – Amazon Affiliate Link
    • betting/trivia gameshow feel, don’t need to be a trivia expert
    • 10 minute teach, 45 minute game
    • 5+, more is better!
  • Codenames – Amazon Affiliate Link
    • word association, can be thinky (i.e. less party-ey)
    • need 6+ players – unlimited players
  • Santorini tournament – Amazon Affiliate Link
    • a two person knife fight that could be used tournament style…but probably too long/thinky/mean for most crowds 😉
    • consider timed, speed games
    • tournament rules
    • 10 minute teach, 15 minute games

Why share?

I’ve always enjoyed consuming and processing information. As a pre-teen boy in small-town Iowa I spent weeks creating a fantasy baseball leagues from scratch – the draft process, the point system, everything. I didn’t share with anyone…and I remember it as great, a time of flow and fun!

So why share? Brandon’s Baseball League had notebooks of rules, modifications, scores, learnings, and general organic messiness…and they are all gone. Today a few minutes of digital photographs would capture the information, but a minimal amount of presentation/documentation effort would be needed to make it understandable to my future self. My current self is lazy…so putting ideas in public is an attempt to force some amount effort on presenting (and not just slapping everything into Evernote/roam/binders).

I will take what I’m learning, consuming, processing and make it understandable to my future self (and maybe other people). Understandable is required, but not enough to be useful. Useful will be up to future me (or maybe other people).


Not on a social platform?

For me the public pressure for understandability is high enough that it’s not a goal to be read by anyone in particular nor a certain number of readers. I plan to review my words later and I have no interest in a platform influencing me when I look at my own works. So I went to the hassle of spinning up WordPress (which I don’t love). My preferred workflow starts in emacs…and right now I haven’t invested in making it easier to get to WordPress 😉


At some point in 2020 my wife and I decided homeschooling our 3 boys was a good idea (along with many other people it appears). It’s been an adventure… After even a little research I found there are many styles, formats, and approaches to homeschooling. Iowa has a few options that provide different balances of support from the public school system and more oversight – we chose the most permissive choice since we wanted to have as much optionality as possible during the pandemic. That left us looking for what and how to teach. The Well-Trained Mind became the starting point for most of our curriculum and we’ve been quite happy with most of the choices. As the “school year” closes we’ll be reflecting more on our choices, the results, and plans for next year (current plan is some form of dual-enrollment for at least band).

Questions on first time homeschooling are welcome 😉

In Progress


  • Halt and Catch Fire – All seasons – very, very entertaining drama
  • The Morning Show – Season 1 – weird mix of humor and seriousness, will continue watching when next season comes out
  • Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business, by Paul Jarvis
  • The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer