Friday, June 30, 2017

Weekends in June

We always manage to keep busy on our weekends, even when hikes are rained out. A majority of our activities are church-related - service projects, baptisms, even seminary graduation - but we also find time to make progress on projects at home. We've tried new recipes (here, here, and here) and new restaurants, finished preparing the closet for new shelves and started preparing for a September wedding. Don't forget a friend's birthday party and Father's Day. We even managed to get in the next hike. Lots of good memories!
The holes got patched and the walls got painted.
All ready for the closet installers!
Cheddar's Restaurant
Happy Birthday!
Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WFMW - Summer Activities - Trips

Most of our summertime activities will need to fit around the daily tasks of cooking and cleaning and refereeing. However, the more memorable days will probably be ones where you set that aside and get out of the house for an entire day. I have fond summer-time memories of my mom taking us to first pick berries or spend an hour or two at the family history library, before going to the beach for the afternoon. Then there would be the two-hour drive (where we all napped!) to arrive home for dinner with dad at the normal time. What will your children remember about this summer?

Short Trips -

Take a day trip to the zoo or the aquarium or to a living history park. For example, while Lion Country Safari is close to our house, Springton Manor is close to one set of grandchildren. If you just look, I'm sure you can find something within driving distance of your home. Maybe there will be an admission cost (Lion Country Safari), but maybe not (Springton Manor). Our daughter-in-law discovered that they can check out a free family pass to the Atlanta Zoo; maybe your library has a similar program.

Longer Trips -

Part of the fun of a family vacation - whether it's camping at a national park, renting a cabin on the beach, staying in a hotel in New York City, or visiting DisneyWorld - is preparing ahead and building excitement. Take some time during your normal schedule to make lists of things to pack, read books on what you might discover, put together a schedule or itinerary, or do jobs to earn money for souvenirs. Then go on your vacation!

Taking a trip down memory lane on our drive across the country last summer!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Corbett WMA - Hike #1

The morning we had planned to do this hike it was pouring down rain. If we were camping, that wouldn't have deterred Wayne, but I guess we're getting a little soft in our old age, and so we stayed home and did some stuff around the house instead. The next free Saturday, rain was in the forecast, but not until the afternoon, so we got an early start and hoped we'd beat the rain. We did.

This hike is a portion of the Ocean-to-Lake Trail found in the Corbett Wildlife Management Area. We had a beautiful drive to the starting point. 

When we visited the area last time, the "low water crossings" were dry, but this time they weren't.

The trail intersects the dirt road. The plan this time was to head west; next time he'll do the east section.

All ready to go!

He had about 20 feet of dry trail before getting his feet wet. It is the rainy season, after all, and that's what he expected. It was a 14 mile round trip, and 12 of those miles were in ankle to calf deep water. Everyone asks if he was concerned about gators or snakes and the answer is "no" - they really don't like people and scurry away when they hear splashing.

While he hiked, I did a bit of exploring near the car (and read some books). I love spotting cattails. There were beautiful wildflowers, and even an intriguing grasshopper to keep me company.

Happy hiker!

We'll be back, although we might wait until the dry season!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WFMW - Summer Activities - Indoors

It's the longest day of the year. We should probably celebrate it by doing something outside. However, some days are just too hot or too rainy and so it's nice to have indoor alternatives. Who knows, maybe this list of activities will be handy in the wintertime as well!

#1 - The County Library
While we tried to visit the library on a weekly basis throughout the year, in the summertime it was almost an imperative. It's important to keep reading skills going, and new material certainly helps with that. In addition, often libraries will have summer reading incentives and other programs. (The Palm Beach County "classes and events" for children can be found here.)

#2 - Museums
Most of these will charge admission, so they're not necessarily frugal. However, if it's something you're really interested in, you could get a family membership, maybe even as a birthday or Christmas present. Or you could become friends with someone and go as their guest. Or you could look for Groupon deals or "Free Friday" promotions.
#3 - Indoor Exercise
  • Ice Skating
  • Roller Skating
  • Indoor Playgrounds
Aquarium in Draper Utah
#4 - Crafting
  • Paint your own Pottery
  • Kids' Workshops (Home Depot)
  • Camp Creativity (Michael's)
  • Cooking or Sewing Classes - These can even be done at home!
Making something new is fun at any age!
#4 - Movie Theaters 
#5 - Malls and Shopping
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Dollar Store - A great place to find reading reward incentives!
  • Mall Treasure Hunt
  • Window Shopping - You don't necessarily have to buy anything!
  • "Get Ready for School" Shopping
What would you add?

One of my favorite bloggers just posted a great list of things to do at home - including masking tape roadways, binocular scavenger hunt and paint chip stories.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Rainy Morning at the Park

When scheduling some Relief Society summer get-togethers at the park, we specifically picked a time in the morning to avoid the regular afternoon thunder showers. Well, Mother Nature had the last laugh, choosing to send rain 24 hours a day for a week or two. A couple of us went to the park anyway, and I enjoyed exploring for a bit. As you can imagine, I had it pretty much to myself. The only other people I saw were those catching the bus at the adjacent bus stop and some maintenance men. It spite of the gray clouds, it really was a beautiful day, although I am looking forward to going back on a sunny day.

Veteran's Park - Royal Palm Beach

Monday, June 19, 2017

Thoughts on Productivity

This was actually quite an interesting article, and since I'd like to remember the principles and be able to find it again, I'm posting it here.

A Forbes reporter recently interviewed over 200 ultra-productive people (including seven billionaires, 13 Olympians, 20 straight-A students and over 200 successful entrepreneurs), asking a simple, open-ended question, “What is your number one secret to productivity?” After analyzing all of their responses, he coded their answers into 15 unique ideas.

Secret #1: They focus on minutes, not hours.

Average performers default to hours and half-hour blocks on their calendar. Highly successful people know there are 1,440 minutes in every day and there is nothing more valuable than time.

Secret #2: They focus only on one thing.

Ultra productive people know their Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for one to two hours each morning, without interruptions.

Secret #3: They don’t use to-do lists.

Throw away your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar, using 15-minute blocks of time.

Secret #4: They beat procrastination with time travel.

What can you do now to make sure your future self does the right thing? Anticipate how you will self-sabotage in the future, and come up with a solution to defeat your future self.

Secret #5: They make it home for dinner.

Highly successful people know what they value in life. There is no right answer, but for many, values include: family time, exercise, giving back. They consciously allocate their 1,440 minutes a day to each area they value (i.e., they put it on their calendar) and then they stick to the schedule.

Secret #6: They use a notebook.

Ultra-productive people free their mind by writing everything down.

Secret #7: They process email only a few times a day.

Ultra-productive people don’t “check” email throughout the day. Instead, like everything else, they schedule time to process their email quickly and efficiently.

Secret #8: They avoid meetings at all costs.

Meetings are notorious time killers. They start late, have the wrong people in them, meander in their topics and run long. You should get out of meetings whenever you can, hold fewer of them yourself, and if you do run a meeting, keep it short.

Secret #9: They say “no” to almost everything.

Remember, you only have 1,440 minutes in every day. Don’t give them away easily.

Secret #10: They follow the 80/20 rule.

Known as the Pareto Principle, in most cases 80% of outcomes come from only 20% of activities. Ultra-productive people know which activities drive the greatest results, and focus on those and ignore the rest.

Secret #11: They delegate almost everything.

Ultra-productive people don’t ask, “How can I do this task?” Instead they ask, “How can this task get done?” They take the “I” out of it as much as possible. Ultra-productive people don’t have control issues and they are not micro-managers. In many cases good enough is, well, good enough.

Secret #12: They theme days of the week.

Highly successful people often theme days of the week to focus on major areas. Batch your work to maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.

Secret #13: They touch things only once.

Highly successful people try to “touch it once.” If it takes less than five or ten minutes—whatever it is—they’ll deal with it right then and there. It reduces stress since it won’t be in the back of their mind, and is more efficient since they won’t have to re-read or evaluate the item again in the future.

Secret #14: They practice a consistent morning routine.

Most people I interviewed nurtured their body in the morning with water, a healthy breakfast and light exercise. They nurtured their mind with meditation or prayer, inspirational reading, and journaling.

Secret #15: Energy is everything.

You can’t make more minutes in the day, but you can increase your energy which will increase your attention, focus, decision making, and overall productivity. Highly successful people don’t skip meals, sleep or breaks in the pursuit of more, more, more. Instead, they view food as fuel, sleep as recovery, and pulse and pause with “work sprints.”

I'll have to test these out myself, though, because here's another article where the very first suggestion is the exact opposite of the one above. I wonder which tip really does work best! Some of the other are similar, though, so I imagine we can find something useful in each list.

Tips from successful people to guide you to a more fulfilled life:
1. They Make Lists
2. They Maximize Down Time
3. They Reflect on Mistakes & Grow
4. They Limit Technological Distractions (schedule email times)
5. They Forget About Perfection
6. They Collect Their Thoughts Immediately (keep a notebook)
7. They Do Nice Things, But Don’t Tell Everyone
8. They Remind Themselves of Death (imagine future self)
9. They Define Success Themselves
10. They Outwork Everyone
11. They Don’t Envy Others
12. They Heed Danger in Lounging
13. They Believe That Fate Is Fake
14. They Are The Man in the Glass
15. They Embrace Criticism
16. They Always Finish Strong

Next time you’re in the situation of becoming your own worst critic, remember that “The road to personal excellence has no end.” Trust in yourself, keep your head down, and keep moving forward no matter what.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! Aren't these pictures terrific? I'm so proud of the fathers my sons have become. I just love their enthusiasm and excitement. It's been fun watching these cute boys grow into awesome men! (No pictures of Steven and his baby yet - have to wait until November - but we know he'll be a great dad as well.)

We usually have the camera out for vacations and hiking, so that's when most of the father/son pictures are taken! I love this one of the boys following in their dad's footsteps.

He has a daughter as well!

I came across this picture of Brad with his brothers-in-law. Isn't it wonderful that the next generation realizes the importance of fathers spending time with children?

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WMFW - Summer Activities - Beaches

Our Favorite Beaches - 2 years later

A couple of years ago as part of a Relief Society activity lesson on things to do in the summer, I wrote about some of our favorite beaches. You can find that post here. We have gone to the beach a few times since then, so I figured it was time to update our findings. I don't know if we have a new favorite beach yet, but we do have a lot that we'd be happy to visit again. Maybe you'll like one of them as well, so here you go!

Riviera Beach Municipal Beach - behind the Ocean Mall on Singer Island - 6/10/15
They gave it 4 suns, we gave it 4 suns also. You can read about our visit here. There's not a lot of parking, so it spills over into the shopping center parking lot, which then means you have a hike to get to the water. However, parking is free and there are covered picnic tables and grills and a playground and a sand volleyball lot and grass before the dune which separates all that from the beach.

Midtown Beach - east end of Worth Avenue, stretching from Royal Palm to Hammond Streets - 4/30/16
They gave it 1 sun, we gave it 3. The beach itself is quite nice, and even great and beautiful. However, it doesn't get a "5" because parking is $5/hour and there are no restrooms.

Phipps Ocean Park - 2201 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach - 8/6/16
They gave it 2 suns, we gave it 3. We figured it was a nice, average beach. There is free parking (for 2 hours if you go before 1 PM) and there are also restrooms.

Richard G. Kreusler Park - the far east end of Lake Worth Road (on the left side) - 3/18/17
They gave it 2 suns, we gave it 3. This is also a nice, average beach. One huge plus is that it's the closest to our house, so it's the best one for a quick trip. Parking is $2/hour. Currently the restrooms are being remodeled, but that doesn't interfere with getting to the sand and water.

We still haven't "officially" visited Lake Worth Beach, but it's next on the list. However, Michelle and I had another "unofficial" visit when she was home for Christmas a couple of years ago.

Whether you go for the sunrise, the sunset, or sometime in between, I hope each of you get the chance to visit your favorite beach this summer. Have a great time!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WFMW - Summer Activities - Parks

Our Favorite Parks - 2 years later

A couple of years ago as part of a Relief Society activity lesson on things to do in the summer, I wrote about some of our favorite parks. You can find that post here. We have gone to the park a few times since then, so I figured it was time to update our findings. I don't know if we have a new favorite park yet, but we do have a lot that we'd be happy to visit again. Maybe you'll like one of them as well, so here you go!

There are a lot of things to do at state parks - maybe that's why they receive that designation. One of the closest ones to us is Jonathan Dickinson State Park. We enjoy taking the different hiking trails, watching the movies in the visitor's center, and grilling delicious lunches. One of these days we'll even rent canoes and explore the Loxahatchee River some more. Here are posts describing our recent visits:

Although not as large as state parks, county parks also have enough to do to merit multiple visits. Dyer Park is a good example. We've gone there to take a summer hikea fall hike, and have a barbecue picnic. Now we're trying to schedule visits to Glades Pioneer Park. We've done a couple of hikes (see here) and want to go back to check out their pool. Unfortunately, that isn't necessarily easily accomplished. The pool is only open from Tuesday through Friday during the summer. That conflicts just a bit with Wayne's employment. However, if that's not a concern for you, go enjoy it and let us know how much fun you have!

Our city's parks are mainly small neighborhood ones with playgrounds, but that's just perfect for a Saturday picnic in between other chores and activities. Recently we've visited a couple.

Here's a list of fun things to do while at a park, or even in your backyard.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of things to do this summer! Let me know if you have favorite parks of your own, here or somewhere else.