Friday, April 30, 2010

Mammoth Cave National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #21
Mammoth Cave 2007 was a typical family camping trip - posing by the entrance sign - waiting for Dad to read all the signs in the visitor's center - fires and foil dinners - exploring and hiking!
To get to a lot of the hikes, we had to cross the ferry. That was always a fun experience. The hikes in the woods were gorgeous, but the hikes in the caves were awesome. And sometimes, even a bit tight-fitting!
It's important to take the time to record where you've been so you can be already to plan the next trip! (Eating some lunch is a good idea too.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Congratulations Brad and Cody

We finally got the okay to share another one of the important April events: Brad's fianceé got engaged.
We're excited for them. Don't they make a cute couple? (Or, as Brad put it - "She's cute, and I make it a couple!") Congratulations to you both!

Maybe Jeff will be able to come up with something interesting for the Christmas newsletter this year. At least his brothers are doing their best to give him some great material to work with!

Happy Graduation!

You may have noticed that there haven't been as many posts recently. We've had a busy month preparing for an especially important event, in addition to all the normal activities. However, in spite of that, other very important events have occurred as well. So, I guess I better record some of them!Last week Elizabeth received her nursing degree and Weston received double master's degrees - in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. We're so proud of them of them for their accomplishments. (You can read all about Weston's big day here, and I'm sure David will update his blog in the next month or two!)

Congratulations Graduates!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WFMW - The Dictionary

Works for Me Wednesday
Looking up Definitions

When I was 12, I received a dictionary from my parents for Christmas. Even though it is now falling apart at the seams, it still sits on the shelf next to our kitchen table. You'd be amazed at the number of times it gets pulled out in a month. A couple of days ago someone read a comic with a joke about a scrabble game and wanted to see if the word "za" was in our dictionary. It wasn't. (Like I said, it's an old dictionary!) However, we did learn that "zigzag" is a compound word; "zig" is going one way and "zag" is going the other.

Not only does the dictionary help with homework (think English vocabulary), but it also helps in ordinary conversations. It's nice to be able to solve a dispute or enlighten understanding right on the spot. If we had to leave the dinner table to grab a dictionary (or look something up on the computer), we'd forget and never do it. And it's also a great conversation starter when no one has anything to say. Just open it up and ask, "What does "luciferous*" mean?"
To find out what works for others, be sure to check out "We are THAT Family."

* luciferous: bringing light or insight, illuminating. And that reminds me of this post - Lightbringer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Florida Trail - Segment 3

A Memorable Monday Moment
or "How to have fun during Spring Break"

Last year for Spring Break, Michelle went to Girls' Camp and the boys hiked Segment 2 of the Florida Trail. This year was a repeat, except they continued on to hike Segment 3. Because part of the trail went through the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, we took advantage of gaining some cultural education.When we arrived at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, it was suggested that we do the outdoor nature trail first, because rain was expected. When I asked, "How much?" the answer was "A lot." They were right. And we would have been able to complete the short trail, except there were too many signs to read along the way. Just as we reached the pavilion it started pouring down rain, and 15 minutes later it wasn't letting up, so we continued on our way, getting soaked. (This would be the Memorable Monday Moment.)At least we dried out eventually.And then it was time to set up camp and eat the best hamburger I've had in a long time. Thank you, Wayne! The next day the three of us hiked a 15-mile loop that started at the I-75 rest area, where Segment 2 ends. It was a beautiful day, and we were able to see turkeys, snakes, alligators, turtles, and lots of birds and butterflies. And we didn't even get our feet too wet!Here's a close-up of the alligator that was blocking our trail. It may not look it, but it was at least six feet long. We just didn't want to get too close!
We finally convinced it to creep away back into the brush by thunking on the ground with Wayne's hiking stick.
The next day I took them back to the rest area and they hiked the 20 miles into our camp, and the last day they started from camp and I picked them up 12 1/2 miles later at the L-3 Canal where Segment 4 starts. Most of the "trail" was walking along dusty, shade-less, roads, so every little cloud and bit of breeze was greatly appreciated. In spite of being out in the middle of nowhere, they counted 314 vehicles along their way. That sounds like a lot to me!

In the meantime, Princess was having a nice time hanging out with her friends and increasing her princess qualities and skills. Didn't you know that every princess needs to know how to shoot a rifle and ride a horse, create a new dress and decorate a cake? Ask her if she feels badly about missing the opportunity to log 50 miles on foot!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hot Springs National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #20
Hot Springs - 2006Once again, time for more hiking. It's easier when you can be plugged into your music!Part of the "hiking" included exploring the spas, which is why Hot Springs was built. It was actually a weird feeling to be hiking and camping in the middle of a town. And don't forget the wonderful feeling of running out of water (because it was just supposed to be a short hike, yet it was very, very hot) and having to refill canteens at the water fountain in the visitor's center.Then it rained,and rained some more.And we smiled to let Elder David know that we finished hiking all the hikes in this national park,before moving on to a nearby state park and getting on a boat for an hour or two.That wasn't strenuous enough, so someone had to try eating two twinkies all at once,before packing up to drive home.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WMFW - The Handy Dandy Egg Slicer

A while ago, I posted some lunch ideas, and I thought I had already shared my thoughts on that lowly kitchen gadget - the egg slicer - but I couldn't find the post. So, you get it today!

First of all, since I don't use it a lot, it can't take valuable "A" storage space, so it's tossed in my kitchen gadget basket. Because I'm short, I have to reach a bit, but then I can grab the whole basket and it just takes a few seconds of rummaging to find what I want. (Note: I also use this same system for rarely used - that's the red basket. And the "A" utensils are just thrown in the drawer next to the stove. It works well for us.) Second, years ago I learned that it was easy to get chopped egg for egg salad by slicing the egg in two directions. First, put the whole, peeled egg in the slicer and slice. Then carefully remove it, turn it 90°, and slice it again. Voil√° - diced egg!

And lastly, egg slicers work on other ingredients as well, like mushrooms. What else do you use your egg slicer for?? Or what essential utensil should I get for my basket?

I'm linking up at Works for Me Wednesday, which is hosted by Kristen at We are THAT Family. It's a "greatest tips" edition this week and I'm looking forward to gathering lots of ideas from others over there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Shenandoah National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #19
Shenandoah - July 2005 Time for more hikes in the forest - And to the tops of mountains - And relaxing around the campfire - And even surviving Tropical Storm Cindy which dropped 8" of rain on us one night.
What a beautiful place!