Friday, February 26, 2010

Biscayne National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #15

National parks in the southeast are VERY different from national parks in the west! For starters, we knew it would be miserable camping in the summer, so we had to move our traditional camping vacation to spring break. Even that was cutting it close some years - because of the bugs. I had never heard of no-see-ums before moving to Florida, but they exist and their bites are awful. We would have packed up and gone home after one day, except that in Biscayne, you don't drive up to your campsite - you take a ferry - and it wasn't coming back for us for a week!
Fortunately, they had these cool vehicles to transport our gear from the dock to the campsite. And because we didn't know any better, we set up our regular camp. (You will notice in future posts that we invested in a screen tent before we went camping again!)However, in spite of the bugs (poor Steven was literally covered in bites, that then got infected and scabbed over), we had a good time. There were some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets to watch. Because there was only one hiking trail (6 miles running the length of Elliott Key), there was plenty of time to play in the water - snorkeling, boating, and just relaxing.Maybe we would have enjoyed it more without the bugs, but at least we had a memorable vacation in 2001 - and they're good memories!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WMFW - Flipping Mattresses

Works for Me Wednesday
Flipping the Mattress

The other day as I was changing sheets, I decided it had been a while since I'd flipped the mattress, so I did (waiting until someone with muscles came home from school to help), and I realized that sharing my system would make a great "Works for Me" idea. I hope it helps someone!
Fifteen years ago we needed to add a bed to our home in preparation for a new baby. Instead of buying a kid's bed, we decided to get a new one for us and pass everything else down. (That worked for us too!) We found something we both liked (firm yet soft) and I decided that I wanted to take good care of the mattress so I wouldn't have to go shopping for a new one for a long, long, long time. To me, that meant rotating and flipping it on a regular basis.

At the time I was using a card-file housecleaning system, so I just added a card to help me remember. But to help me remember which way to flip or rotate, I got out a sharpie and wrote on the mattress itself. I put a #1 in the center of the mattress near the headboard. When I flipped it a few months later, I put a #2 at the "new" center top. A few months later I rotated the mattress and wrote #3, and then finally put #4 in the last position.

Once I did that, I didn't have to remember whether it was a "flip" or "rotate" time (although there's a great idea for that here - spin in the Spring, flip in the Fall), I just moved the mattress so the next number was on top at the head of the bed. When I took the sheets off this time, #2 was at the top. and #3 was at the bottom. That meant it was time to "rotate".So, now #3 is at the head of the bed, and I can forget about it for a few months and just enjoy my "good as new" nice, comfortable bed each night.

That's what works for me. Have fun discovering what works for others over at We Are THAT Family!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memorable Monday Moments
"I Love You Because . . . " This is a family night activity that we've done several times. And it brings such warm feelings into our home, that every time we do it I wonder why we don't do it more often!! It's a pretty simple idea - just pass out pieces of paper (they don't have to be fancy heart shapes) so that each family member has enough to write a note to every other family member. Then write them and give them to each other. As you can see, they meant enough that we saved them and pasted them into scrapbooks.We did them again this year to include in Valentine cards, because most of our family isn't living at home any more. Here are some of my favorite statements (see if you can guess who said it to whom!):

I love you because . . .
You are my brother and I love all my brothers.
You are enthusiastic and loving.
You compliment me on things and make me feel happy.
You have a great sense of humor and fun.
You can make being at college forever seem natural and you can take a joke.
You make me smile all the time, even just by thinking about you.
You can accept all these corny cards from people you have yet to meet in person.
You are faithful and true at all times.
You are a good teacher.
You are marvelous.
You give me free video games.
You allowed all the pressure to get my Eagle and go on a mission to fall on me.
You have left so many good memories in our home that just about everything reminds me of you and makes me want to be more like you.
Although it makes a great Valentine's activity, it's totally appropriate any time of the year, so don't feel you have to wait until next February to give it a try!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sequoia National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #14
What's a post about a trip to Sequoia National Park like without a picture of the famous General Sherman Tree? But of course I couldn't take one of the whole tree, so I had to borrow one from the park website.I did get my own picture of Moro Rock, though.
And the steps on the climb up, and down. This was a light hiking year; Wayne only did 36 miles in the week. And most of it was hiked at 4-year-old Michelle's speed.
In addition to the General Sherman Tree and Moro Rock, we were able to see Marble Falls, Tokopah Falls, and Crescent Meadow.
And of course we enjoyed time to relax in our campsite at Buckeye Flat. We had a great vacation in 1999.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WFMW - Saving Time and Frustration

Works for Me Wednesday
Using Internet Resources

Anyone who's reading this probably already knows that using the internet has great benefits. One of the things I love about it is that often it can help lower my frustration level. For example, just in the last week or two, here are things I was able to do that I couldn't have (without expending a lot of time and energy) just a few years ago.

Ordering Aida cloth in a size and color that the local store didn't carry.
Looking up possible ancestors on old census records.
Figuring out what to do when I discovered the van was leaking gasoline.
Sharing what a new song, "Be Strong", sounded like with someone without a piano.
Finding the actual quote I heard referenced in a talk at church.
Posting it so I could find it again someday!
Doing the same with a talk Elder Jeff mentioned in his weekly email home.

Of course, there are all the other benefits such as online banking, communicating with far-flung family and friends through email and blogs, getting new recipe ideas, putting books on hold at the library, and keeping my brain sharp with a daily puzzle (or two, or three, or more!) at JigZone. I like living in the 21st century. I hope you do too!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Part of celebrating Valentine's Day is remembering "our story" and since it's been a while since I wrote those posts, I thought it would be a good idea to put the links all in one place. So, here you go:

Part One: The Beginning
Part Two: Judge and Doris
Part Three: Judge and Louise
Part Four: Vernard and Ethel
Part Five: Auntie
Part Six: The Phone Call
Part Seven: The First Date
Part Eight: The Big Surprise
Part Nine: Valentine's Day
Part Ten: It's Official
Part Eleven: Meeting the Parents
Part Twelve: The End

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kings Canyon National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #13
Even though they're administered as one park, technically they're two, so we spent a whole week at Kings Canyon in 1998 and returned the next year to visit Sequoia.We went on several family hikes, and Wayne took each of the kids on their own hike.And we had fun climbing all of the giant trees and tree stumps. What a fun vacation!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WFMW - Putting First Things First

It's time for another "Works for Me Wednesday" over at We are THAT Family. I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's ideas, but I'm going to be careful not to get sucked in too deeply, because what works for me this week is remembering my priorities. The phrase "putting first things first" comes from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits book (here's one website with a summary). I guess I was reminded of this from last week's post mentioning that over 20 years ago we wrote our own mission statements (as a result of Wayne taking some seminar at work).

Then I spent hours this week focusing on daily scripture study (in preparation for teaching a class at church), which is one of my "first things" to put first. I love this quote by Ezra Taft Benson: "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."

And I love this one by Richard G. Scott: "In quiet moments when you think about it, you recognize what is critically important in life and what isn’t. Be wise and don’t let good things crowd out those that are essential."
Remembering the "Parable of the Walnut" helps me to set my priorities each day. So does remembering the "Baking Analogy." Maybe they can help you too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Family Almanac Revisited

Works for Me Wednesday
Our Family Almanac
I've posted about this before (click on the "family almanac" tag), and I was thinking about sharing something else for Works for Me Wednesday, but when I read today's card, I decided my other idea could wait a week.

Here's what the February 3rd card says:
1986: Weston's first dentist visit (due to fall)
1989: overnight date - write mission statements
1990: buy gray suitcases - David will go on a mission now
2000: Wayne top braces on
2000: David gets driving permit
2007: Jeff takes 2nd place at district wrestling tournament
2007: Steven comes home with 1st, 3rd, and 7th trophies from Math Counts competition
2008: Jeff and Steven do 3 fast offering routes
2009: Food Storage Kick-off - twice - good turnout

I guess all of those entries have a story to go with them, but today the one for 1990 jumped out at me. For some reason, whenever we'd talk to David about serving a mission when he was bigger, he'd say he didn't want to go because he wanted to stay home. Remember he was 4 or 5 years old at the time. We'd reassure him that leaving home was part of growing up, but he was adamant that he would live with us forever. Well, one day we needed new suitcases and so came home with a couple of these:They were cool and David really wanted to use one right away. We told him they were for people going on trips, and he wasn't old enough to do that yet, but he could use them for his mission when he was bigger. That's what it took! All of a sudden he was excited to serve a mission. When the time came 14 years later, we gave him the option of using those old, heavy, hard-sided suitcases so that we could keep our promise, but he decided that some new, up-to-date luggage would be a wiser choice. The important thing is he did serve a mission, and we're proud of him.And having this little memory jog sitting on the kitchen table still brings back great memories. Go here to find the instructions if you want to make your own family almanac. And go here for lots of great ideas for having fun with your family.