Friday, May 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

Flashback Friday
The Stories Behind the Names

For a while I've been wanting to see what happens when you click on the "add to your blog" button at Jigzone. Today's daily puzzle picture was titled "Sun Acacia Tree" and that reminded me of a post I read last week about "Baby Name Season" and so I figured the time had come to give this a try.

So, here's the puzzle. I hope it works. Have fun!
Click to Mix and Solve
Why did a puzzle of some acacia trees remind me of the baby name post? Because for a long time Acacia was going to be the name of our second daughter. Just in case the boys have forgotten that, I figured it was a good time to remind them of the "stories behind their names" for this Flashback Friday post.


We had our first baby back in the "old days" (before you were able to choose if you wanted to know ahead of time if you were having a boy or girl), so we had to be prepared with two names. We pored over the list of names, and the only girl name we both liked was Michelle. For every other name there was some reason why it wouldn't work, so Michelle it was. We also had a lengthy discussion over whether or not to choose a middle name, but the side of "girls don't have middle names so that when they get married their maiden name becomes their middle name" won.

Choosing a boy name was a little bit of a challenge. We knew we wanted to follow the tradition started by Wayne's grandfather of giving our first son a "W" name with a middle name of Orson. When you limit the list to one letter instead of all of them, you've dramatically decreased your options! If we picked Wetzel (Grandpa's legal name), we would have been disowned, and we didn't want that. Neither one of us wanted to deal with a Wayne Junior. I think we were trying to decide between William (after one grandfather) and Wilson (another distant family name) when Wayne came home from studying one day and announced that he had discovered another "W" name. The author of his textbook was a Mr. Weston. Immediately we knew we had the right choice!
Weston Orson
Fortunately, choosing the rest of the names wasn't quite so difficult. For each of the next pregnancies, we already had our girl name! I had always liked the name David, and Wayne liked it too. (Just like a lot of other people, as you'll see if you go check the Popular Baby Names site.) We also liked the idea of giving our children names from their family tree. So for the next baby we took the middle name of one uncle (Wayne's brother) and combined it with the first name of another uncle (my brother).
David Scott
One cold winter evening when the two boys were little, we were huddled in the closet trying to keep warm (a story for another day, but at least it was a big closet) and we started brainstorming names with memorable initials. I can't remember everything we came up with, but one of our "BMW" options was Bradley Michael Whitaker. We liked it so much we used it a couple of years later when it was time to name another baby.
Bradley Michael
When you get to a fourth child, you have to become a little creative. After poring over the name book we finally came up with two combinations that we liked, using names that our cousins had - Jeffrey Bryan (had to have a "Y" and not an "I") and Steven Todd (must be "V" and not "PH"). Since we liked them equally, the one we used first is the one that (at least in my mind) completed the phrase "Weston, David, Bradley, ________" best!
Jeffrey Bryan
And that meant we didn't have to do any thinking when the next baby came along.
Steven Todd
To tell the truth, I'm not sure what boy name we decided on for baby #6, and that bothers me now. (See, you're supposed to keep journals!) I think it was something like Daniel Spencer. In the end, though, it really doesn't matter, because we finally got to use our girl name.

Michelle

Now I'm sure you're all wondering why I even considered Acacia as a possible girl's name, so I'm going to tell you. At one point during our "having babies" years, we kept a dictionary handy and someone would read it and learn a new word each day. One time I opened it to the bookmark and saw the word "acacia" which was a type of tree. My sister had chosen "A" names for her girls, and I liked how "acacia" had my middle name of Kay inside it, and I just thought it would make a great name for our second daughter. Then we moved and I actually saw an acacia tree. It was planted in our neighbor's yard and hung over our fence, and it had thorns!!! So, no longer was it a candidate for a cute little girl's name. But that's okay, because we never had to name a second daughter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WFMW - 72 Hour Kit

Works for Me Wednesday
72 Hour Emergency Kits

The other day I was reminded that hurricane season starts next week. And that reminded me of the experience our family had to be on the news a few years ago - our "15 seconds (not minutes) of fame!"
The church was promoting a preparedness fair, and our family was asked to share what we had done, mainly how we put our 72-hour kits together. It wasn't a stress-free opportunity, but it was a good one. And, as you can see, Brad and David had a great time hamming it up in front of the camera!

We made our first emergency kits 25 years ago when my mom sent us a list (which I'll post at the end). At first I just concentrated on the food items. As the years have gone by, we've added the other items. The containers have changed over the years as well. When we lived in earthquake country, we had a mini-kit in each car, along with the main ones at home. When there were eight of us at home, the supplies were kept in bins to be added to the car in case we needed to evacuate. Last year I finally gathered some old school back-packs so now they're even more portable.

It doesn't matter where you are now. Just do one little thing to improve your preparation. The peace of mind that comes from knowing we've done something to be prepared for an emergency works for us. Let it work for you too!

To see what works for other families, check out We are THAT Family. You'll find some great ideas!
works for me wednesday at we are that family

My mom's list:
(Remember that this is years old, but I'm sharing it because it was my catalyst to actually do something. There are a lot of places that you can go to find more current information. See some links at the bottom.)

Food - 3 day supply of food requiring no refrigeration or cooking, such as -
  • canned tuna or pork and beans (1/2 pound per person)
  • nonfat dry milk powder (1/2 pound per person)
  • graham crackers (1 pound per person)
  • dried apricots (1 pound per person)
  • canned orange or tomato juice (46 ounces per person)
  • peanut butter (1/2 pound per person)
Water - 1 gallon per person

Bedding - blanket, cloth sheet, plastic sheet

Clothing - one change for each person

Personal Supplies and Medication - toiletries, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies

Fuel and Light - matches, candles, flashlights, signal flare

Equipment - can opener, dishpan, dishes, utensils, ax, shovel, bucket, battery powered radio, paper, pencil

Infant Needs - diapers, etc. if applicable

Personal Documents - scriptures, genealogy records, legal documents (will, insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds, passports, etc.)

Money - cash

a list from the Red Cross
FEMA's list
72 hour kits at about.com
72 hour kits in a can
ideas from Provident Living
"prepare before the storm" - lots of links here too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trophy Time

"BSHS 2010 Junior Math Excellence"
"BSHS 2010 Outstanding 11th Grade Science Student"
"BSHS 2010 American History Student of the Year"
Is it okay to say we're proud of this young man? Because we are!!
We're so happy he's worked hard in the classroom. Now he could use some encouragement to meet his next goal - Eagle Scout. (Any project ideas, anyone?)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Remembering

Memorable Monday Moments
The Importance of Journals
One family night topic that we've discussed many times over the years is the importance of journals. Today we received a reminder of one of the blessings that comes when we keep a good record of our life. Go read Elder Whitaker's email here to see what it might be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cuyahoga National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #23
The beautiful Cuyahoga River runs through Cuyahoga Valley between Cleveland and Akron in Ohio. It was actually a very beautiful park, with plenty of picnic areas and hiking trails.
The park has a paved "tow path" trail meant for bicyclists, but that didn't stop us from "hiking" on it! Over a hundred years ago, it was a dirt path made by the animals that hauled the canal barges.
Some trails went by ponds. This is Horseshoe Pond.
And some trails went over beautiful grassy dams, that formed the ponds.
Some trails crossed little creeks, with and without bridges.A lot of trails were through grassy meadows.
And some trails climbed to the top of ridges.
Our favorite section of the park was called The Ledges.This would be a great place to do some rock climbing!And once you got to the top of the "ledges", the view of the valley was beautiful.
For the first time ever, we had a "national park" vacation without camping! (It was cheaper to drive the small car and stay at a hotel than to drive the big car that could hold all the camping equipment.) However, we still had a picnic lunch and barbecue dinner every day. And when we were done eating, there was time to do some running around!
Delicious food, lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, and great company = wonderful memories.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WFMW - The Many Uses of Rock Salt

Works for Me Wednesday
Rock Salt

Until a couple of weeks ago, I thought the only thing you used rock salt for was to make ice cream. However, I learned that it also makes a wonderful centerpiece! Fill your vase with rock salt, adding a battery-operated tea light near the top, but covering it with more rock salt. The light glows through the salt and looks really pretty.
Of course, I didn't come up with this idea on my own, so thank you David's mother-in-law for letting me borrow your idea! With everything already on hand, this is the perfect no-cost centerpiece accent.
And our rock salt must be years old, because it's been forever since we've made homemade ice cream. However, that brings back lots of fun memories, particularly from Cub Scout Day Camp. Here's the recipe we used then.
Combine 1/2 cup cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a quart-size ziplog bag. Zip shut and place in another quart-size one. Then place that in a gallon-size ziplog bag filled with ice cubes and 3 tablespoons rock salt. Close tightly, then toss and shake until it turns into ice cream. This is the perfect activity/treat for a hot summer day!

You can do even more things with rock salt; here's a link to find more ideas.
And I even have a "flashback" memory. I remember that the "in" thing to do when I was in 3rd or 4th grade was taking a small bag of rock salt to school, and then sucking on it during recess. I think it had something to do with home water conditioners being the new "status symbol," but I can't really remember for sure. Did any of you ever do that? Rock salt, Pokémon cards, Silly Bandz - I guess there's always something!
I hope you enjoyed learning about some uses for rock salt. Be sure to check out We are THAT Family to find tips and hints that can really help you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Our Refined Heavenly Home"

Memorable Monday Moments
Lessons from BYU Devotionals

One of the main purposes of having family night every week is to help prepare our family to be together forever. Jeff reminded us of this in his email home today. (You can read the email here.) In it, he mentioned finding an article by Elder Douglas L. Callister in the June 2009 Ensign. A year or two before that issue came out, we had a lesson on the original talk, which was a BYU devotional. In fact, Wayne was so impressed with the talk, that it became the subject of a very effective Bishop's Youth Discussion. (As part of the evening, he played a snippet of an old 70's rock song and a young Beehive covered her ears and kept saying "turn it off, turn it off!" I'm glad she got the message, and hopefully the others did as well.)

Here's how the talk begins: "The nearer we get to God, the more easily our spirits are touched by refined and beautiful things. If we could part the veil and observe our heavenly home, we would be impressed with the cultivated minds and hearts of those who so happily live there. I imagine that our heavenly parents are exquisitely refined."

I was blessed to have a grandmother that was the epitome of refinement, and so I learned very early how important developing that quality is. Just like we're trying to do, she raised a houseful of boys. That was very encouraging to me as we tried to help energetic young men realize that it's okay to appreciate beauty and culture.

Elder Callister covered several aspects of this in his talk -

Language - "God speaks all languages, and He speaks them properly. He is restrained and modest of speech. . . . We will feel more comfortable in Heavenly Father’s presence if we have developed proper habits of speech."

Literature - "I don’t know whether our heavenly home has a television set or a DVD machine, but in my mind’s imagery it surely has a grand piano and a magnificent library. . . . If we know the books located at the bedside, we know much about the man."

Music - "If we could peek behind the heavenly veil we would likely be inspired by the music of heaven, perhaps more glorious than any music we have heard on this earth. . . . Brigham Young said: 'There is no music in hell, for all good music belongs to heaven.'”

Beauty, Order & Cleanliness - "We must not 'let ourselves go' and become so casual—even sloppy—in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us. . . . Need you dust, clean, and rearrange before you invite the Spirit of the Lord into your apartment [or home]?"

"You are children of an exalted being. You are foreordained to preside as kings and queens. You will live in a home and environment of infinite refinement and beauty, as reflected in the language, literature, art, music, and order of heaven. I close with the words of President Brigham Young: 'Let us . . . show to the world that we have talent and taste, and prove to the heavens that our minds are set on beauty and true excellence, so that we can become worthy to enjoy the society of angels.' Even more, that we may enjoy the refined society of heavenly parentage, for we are of the race of the gods, being children of the Most High." Coincidentally, in our last Sunday School lesson, we were given the following assignment to complete in a family home evening:

List paintings, pictures, posters, musical recordings, books and other objects that you have in your home. Label each item with a "+" or "-" indicating whether it is likely to lead your heart closer to God or further from him. Discuss the result and make changes as needed in your home environment.

When our oldest was a young teenager, his best friend's family did a similar activity. They were amazed at the things that were thrown out and the difference it made in their home. Just her sharing that with me made a great impact on our family. We have total control over the books and music and pictures we allow in our home. We can enjoy a refined and lovely atmosphere. Having the practice and experience now will make our celestial home seem warm and comfortable and familiar.

One final note: This seems like a good place to record a quote I love, and used often when trying to convince our children to make their beds and clean their rooms. I'm always reminded of it when I read Jeff's story (referenced in his email link above).

“And while he is about it, he should learn that the dusty, ill-kept room with its unmade bed is the devil’s best means of discouragement.” S. Dilworth Young

Friday, May 14, 2010

Congaree National Park

Friday Flashback
National Park Series #22 We're nearing the end of the National Park Flashbacks, because this vacation took place after this blog was started! You can find the original entries here and here.
It was a typical camping vacation, so we enjoyed some Dutch oven dinners.And went on lots of hikes. This is the one park where every family member who went hiked every mile of trail!
It's not quite the same with only half the family, but we still had a great time. Stay tuned next week for the final (at least for now) installment of the series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WFMW - Freezing Leftovers

We had a lot of yummy food at the open house, and since we prepared more than we knew we'd need, we also had a lot of yummy leftovers. So, I put my freezer to work. We've had great success freezing brownies and mini cheesecakes, and chicken bites and kielbasa, even strawberries and pineapples. However, I've never frozen grapes.
After a quick internet search, I found dozens of testimonials saying that not only was it possible, it was a delicacy. And if you hadn't tried it yet, you definitely should! So, I did. And it was really quite simple.
Wash and "de-stem" the grapes. Pat dry and spread on a cookie sheet. Stick in the freezer for an hour or two. That's called "flash freezing."

Take them out and put in a freezer bag or container and return to the freezer. That's it!
It works for all types of grapes. They make a terrific, low-calorie snack on hot summer days. Just eat directly from the freezer like a mini-popsicle.

Not wasting food works for me! Be sure to check out We are THAT Family to see what works for everyone else.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time to Relax?

What with Relief Society meetings this week, a stake Priest/Laurel trip in a month, and a couple more new additions to the family soon after that, I'm not counting on any time to relax. But there is time to satisfy your curiosity and post some pictures of our wonderful time celebrating David's marriage to Elizabeth.Just in case you didn't know, I have a very handsome and debonair son! And he chose a beautiful young lady to be his gorgeous bride. The wedding day was gorgeous and beautiful also. It was a treat to be able to go back to California and the Oakland Temple after 10 years in Florida. In between taking lots of pictures and getting mild sunburns, we enjoyed laughing and visiting and getting to know each other better. Elizabeth's family did a great job on the reception, and even Steven had a nice time. (It helped that he didn't have to stay until midnight to clean up!) And even though he had to do more work for the open house in Florida, he gets to help eat all the leftovers, so that's okay. Congratulations to a delightful couple! We miss you already, and wish you an eternity of joy and happiness.