Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Computer's Been Busy,

which means I don't have a lot of time available to keep updating this blog, but I finally got a few minutes. (Or, at least, the little bits of time have finally added up to equal a post.) So, big brothers, here's some of what's happened recently.

Report cards arrived. An F with an asterisk on the final exam in Driver's Ed means automatic failure in the class, even when every other grade is an A. Good thing it's a data entry error and will eventually get corrected. (By the way, AP Exam scores and FCAT results came too, but they weren't as much fun to share.)
Jeff's room is no more. Sorry, Jeff. You can at least be grateful it took a whole year before Michelle decided to do some rearranging. I suspect the air conditioner going out in her old room had something to do with the timing.

In between her organizing, Michelle finished round two of her Personal Progress. We're so proud of her! Here she is putting the final stitches in her final project - a cross-stitch of the Salt Lake Temple.
It was a LOT of work, but turned out beautifully.The computer's been busy because the kids have been working on some online courses for school. However, for one of the assignments for his government class, Steven needed a field trip. We spent the morning observing a court session. He thought it was kind of boring, but I found the whole process fascinating. (Probably not something I'd want to do all day, every day, though.) We were there for a sentencing hearing and it was great seeing the principles of justice and mercy in action. It also took a full 90 minutes for the judge to basically say, "I'm sorry, but the jury already found you guilty, and my job now is just to tell you for how long you're going to jail." (That's why Steven thought it was boring.) We also listened to some pre-trial motions and got to see justice from the other end of the court process. Maybe someday we'll go back for an actual trial.
Finally, we made a trek to the beach to see for ourselves that there is no evidence of the oil spill on our pristine beaches.
Just lots of white sand. And warm water.
Perfect for a game of catch.
Which works up an appetite for dinner.And the opportunity to try alligator bites. (They're actually pretty good, a bit rubbery, but even better than the calamari she tried last year at the beach.)
We hope you're having a fun summer too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WFMW - Family Information Binder

Our Important Information Binder
(also known as a Household Notebook or Alien Abduction Binder)
I originally wrote about our Family Binder several months ago, but we were talking about it again last night, and I figured it was time to update it and maybe add a bit more detail. This is basically a place to keep all the information that someone might need if I (or whoever else knew the mysteries of household life) wasn't around. Here's the list I used to gather information (not everything will pertain to everyone):
  • Personal Information (names and addresses of friends and relatives)
  • Legal Items (birth, marriage, death certificates, social security cards, passports, citizenship papers, automobile titles, military documents, organ donation information, power of attorney, wills)
  • Insurance Information (medical, dental, life, disability, auto, homeowners, government benefits)
  • Financial Information (budget, credit cards, bank accounts, mortgage, property information, property tax, stocks/bonds/investments, contracts, tax records, retirement)
  • Historical Information (photos, genealogy)
  • Funeral Arrangements
  • Household Care Information (utility and repair companies and phone numbers, location of shut-offs for water, electricy, gas, etc.)
Our binder also contains driver's license numbers, the kids' school student numbers, names and addresses of our doctors, computer log-in information for various accounts, the contents of our filing cabinets, combination to our safe, immunization records, a guide to our breaker panels and sprinkler system, car maintenance/repair schedule, etc.
Here are a few links so you can get an idea of what others might have done:
Family Emergency Binder Instructions
Household Notebook
Emergency Binder Forms
Planning ahead and having an Emergency Binder brings me peace, and that works for me! For more ideas of things that work, visit We are THAT Family!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WFMW - Easy Summer Recipes

This weeks "Works for Me" subject is easy summer recipes. Here's one that we tried for the first time recently, and we'll definitely have again. You can't get any easier than this!

Roasted Corn on the Cob

Take the corn out of the farmer's market basket and stick it in the oven.
Turn the oven on to 350°.
30 minutes later turn off the oven and remove the corn. Pull back the husks and eat it. (You can add butter and salt and pepper if you want.) That's it!

Here are a few more of our favorite summertime recipes:

And be sure to check out "We are THAT Family" for even more ideas.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

It feels a little uncomfortable to post this, but this is part of our family history, and because we want the older brothers and their wives to feel a part of our celebrating, I'm going to share with them. (The rest of you can click the "X".)

You'll recall that Mother's Day was swallowed up a bit with wedding festivities, yet while I was at a meeting on Friday, and before they went birthday shopping, Michelle had help to finally finish my Mother's Day gift, which they presented to me when I came home. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) Didn't they do a great job making a display for our missionaries' flags? And they even planned ahead and drilled a hole for Steven's. While I stayed after church for another meeting today, Michelle baked a cake. And then she frosted and decorated it all by herself.
I guess if I'm going to make others pose for birthday cake pictures, I have to acquiesce to the request as well.And that goes for the "sit on the fireplace by the presents and smile" shot as well.Because we're usually camping on my birthday (which, just for the record, is something I find pleasant and enjoyable -- as long as it's not raining), it's been a while since I've actually got to open presents on my birthday. The family was quite pleased with themselves for remembering and planning ahead! And they did a great job. The older brothers will be pleased to know that on future visits they don't have to worry about the ironing board's tendency to collapse without notice. However, don't you think they should have figured out a way to wrap it??
It's been a wonderful birthday. Thank you to everyone for the beautiful well-wishes. Each of you make my life richer and I appreciate that. I hope you've had a wonderful day as well.

Flatwoods Trail - part three

It may seem as if every Saturday is filled with church activities, but we found a free one this month and went back to Flatwoods Park. (You can find a brief description of visits one and two here and here.) This time we started at the parking lot on the north end, went down the trail to the main loop, turned around, then veered off onto the jeep trail, which took us to a beautiful little lake, and finally returned following the "Panther" trail. It was a gorgeous, sunny and warm, not too humid although still sweaty, day. Paradise is beautiful. And Wayne can add another seven miles to his hiking tally.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nauvoo - The Temple

Of course, the highlight of the trip was the opportunity to do baptisms for the dead in the Nauvoo Temple. And it was a special treat for both Wayne and I to run into someone we knew from our teenager years in California. What a small world!
The best way to end the day in Nauvoo is watching the sun set from in front of the temple.The view is gorgeous whether you're facing east or west.
It would have been tough to leave this behind, but when you have enough faith to follow a prophet, you can do it, whether it's in the 19th century or the 21st.

Nauvoo - A Super Activity

Here's the proof that 1) we actually left home, and 2) that teenagers know how to be helpful. Atlanta
Tennessee St. Louis
Crossing the Mississippi RiverOverview of the Mississsippi River Lunch #1
Lunch #2
Lunch #3
Lunch #4
Lunch #5Unloading luggage from the trailer at the hotelWaiting for everyone to gather before having a giant family prayer
These enthusiastic and happy young people made all the hard work worth it. Thanks for making this a great and memorable experience.

Nauvoo - Trek, part two

Blogger deleted this from the last post and I figured it would be easier to just create a new one rather than drag it to the bottom. As you can see, I took a lot of pictures on the three-mile handcart trek. (And, yes, I did help with some pulling and pushing, and leading and navigating, and encouraging, and applying bandaids.) Have fun playing "Where's Waldo?"

Nauvoo - The Trek Experience

It took me until this morning to finally get around to cleaning my boots, but I'm so grateful I packed them, and that they stayed on my feet for the whole three miles. Some people weren't so lucky!The handcart trek starts with an orientation before the carts are passed out to groups of four youth.And you start right off with getting your feet wet -unless you take advantage of a ride.It takes teamwork to turn a corner through a gate.Don't let the beautiful scenery fool you.The rain that turned the leaves green, turned the clay dirt into slick mud.It's hard to keep your footing in that gunk.And it doesn't come off the wheels, even during the grassy parts.
This is hard work, but they can do it!
Some must push and some must pull.

Down, across, up!
When the end is in sight, there's great rejoicing.
Everyone made it!
Back at the starting creek, it was time to wash the mud off a bit.
Thanks to our fearless leader for a successful activity!
Proof that the sole to his boot disappeared, buried in some mud along the way. I guess Steven will need new boots before we visit Big Bend National Park next month!