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NEVERBORED - "Life at home is a series of small things that combine to create an eternal family." - Virginia Jenson

Updated: 2017-11-20T07:04:12.111-05:00


A Bridal Shower


Happy Two Month Anniversary H&M!

Time for another wedding post; this one will be about the bridal shower, which was kindly and thoughtfully hosted by Michelle's sister-in-law (the one with the house in Utah). Thanks, Elizabeth!!

By the Wednesday before the wedding, family had started gathering, which included the nieces from Atlanta. They were pretty excited to see Aunt Michelle again, and maybe even more excited for the chance to have a party.

The party food and decorations were simple and lovely.

Guess who had dibs on the cupcakes with M&Ms?
Michelle's good friend (whom she met when they were roommates at Helaman Halls) was in charge of the game, which involved bubblegum and trivia questions to help us learn more about the engagement story. It, too, was simple and fun. Thanks, Lexi!

Of course, the most important part of the evening, at least for me, was being able to meet wonderful new ladies, including Hayden's mother and aunt, all of whom love Michelle and just wanted to wish her well in this wonderful new adventure.

Saturdays and Holidays in October


Our September Saturdays were quite eventful, and I'll get to posting about them soon (hopefully), but our October Saturdays were quite busy and productive as well. It was nice to have Jeff and his family join us for some of them, and here are the stories for those of you who couldn't be there!October 7 - Jonathan Dickinson State Park - The activity for this visit was to rent a canoe and spend some time on the river. We had a wonderful time - see here.Columbus Day - Cypress Creek - Yes, October is still rainy season, but we thought this hike was far enough from water sources that we wouldn't be sloshing through water. We thought wrong. Read all about it here. However, it was a fairly short hike, and it was a gorgeous day, so afterwards we spent time at our neighborhood pool, and then tried out a new restaurant at the mall - Joe and Ray's Table. It was interesting, but we probably won't go back.I enjoyed the Lamb Gyro Plate, but Wayne's Beef Burger was a bit undercooked. The traditional Egyptian cookies reminded me of Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes or Snowballs; they're known by many different names.October 14 - Stake Conference - Once again we were responsible for the stake choir and once again we were pleased with the results. We have awesome members in our stake who are willing to go the extra mile. And we enjoyed our traditional Panera dinner between sessions on Saturday.October 21- Service Project - One last "Mormon Helping Hands" project to help with Hurricane Irma cleanup. Wayne was surprised to find one of his Boy Scouts from 25 years ago also helping with this "multi-ward across stake boundaries" service project. Grant and his growing family are doing great. What a small world!October 28 - Rainy Day - It was supposed to be a rainy day, so we postponed our scheduled trip to Lantana Beach. However, after breakfast it wasn't actually raining which meant we could work in the yard for a couple of hours. Thanks, Jeff, for helping us remove the stump! Once the rain came we moved indoors, trying a new recipe while watching BYU football on tv. It was nice that they decided to win that game!Halloween - Celebrating our typical traditions meant we attended the ward Fall Festival and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters. You can read all about this year's activities here.[...]

Halloween 2017


This year the youth dance was the same night as stake conference (still trying to figure out how that happened) so we didn't attend. That meant we didn't have to come up with a costume (like we did last year and the year before). That's totally okay with me. However, I did help with the costume for Savannah. Her parents came up with the idea; I just did a bit of sewing.

As usual we participated in the Trunk or Treat at the church, by bringing chili and cupcakes along with a few Tootsie Pop Ghosts. Can't forget Wayne's scary eyes! (Savannah was not a fan of them.) It was a nice activity, and we were extremely grateful it was held on the beautiful Friday evening and not the rainy Saturday one.

We didn't carve jack-o-lantern's, but we did put out a few lights in the yard and hang up our paper plate skeleton, which inspired comments from several of the 125 or so trick-or-treaters that came to our door.

Too bad none of these cuties visited our porch, but that's okay. We're grateful for Instagram so that we can still be part of the fun.

Marshmallow Ghosts and Cookie Spiders


Marshmallow GhostsThis year's "new" Halloween treat comes from Taste of Home. Just melt 6 ounces of white almond bark for 30-60 seconds in the microwave. Then stir in 2 1/4 cups of mini marshmallows. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper, gently form into "ghost" shapes, and use mini chocolate chips for eyes if desired. Let harden and enjoy!Peanut Butter Cookie SpidersThese creations are just our regular Peanut Butter Cookies topped with a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup as soon as they come out of the oven. Press in candy eyes while still warm (so that they stick to the melted chocolate), then let cool and pipe on the legs. I'm trying to decide if I prefer black icing or brown melted chocolate; what do you think?And here are a couple of "old" ones that we're doing again.Sweet and Salty Halloween TreatsPreheat oven to 350.  Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place as many pretzels as you want on the sheet.  Unwrap and place a Hug on the top of each pretzel. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for about 3 minutes, just until the Hugs are shiny.  Pull the tray out of the oven and top each one with a candy corn, pressing down slightly.  Let cool.Tootsie Pop GhostsWrap a piece of white Kleenex (or tissue paper or paper towel around a Tootsie Pop). Tie a piece of yarn under the sucker. Draw on a ghost face if desired. Display by sticking in either a styrofoam cone or a small glass.Jello JigglersAdd 3/4 cup boiling water to one packet (4-serving size) of jello. Stir to dissolve then pour into molds. Chill unto set. If no molds are available, just pour the mixture into a baking pan and then use either a knife or cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes when set.Orange Caramel PopcornBring 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup and 2 drops each red and yellow food coloring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then pour over a large batch (about 2/3 unpopped) of popcorn. Spread on waxed paper to cool. (Can also use brown sugar and omit the food coloring; see original recipe here.)[...]

Cypress Creek - The Third Loop


We decided to take advantage of having a Columbus Day holiday (no work) to return to Cypress Creek and do the thrid loop of the Osprey Trail system. Even though it was rainy season, we thought this trail would be high enough to be dry, and it started off that way. However, we hadn't gone far at all before we ran into water in the ruts of the trail.And after a while, we realized it would be fruitless to try and avoid the water. So, we just made up our minds to enjoy our slosh through this beautiful area. As you can see, there were parts when the trail was actually a creek.You can compare this crossing of Cypress Creek with our earlier ones here and here.Although a bit damp for our feet, the day was absolutely gorgeous!We made it to the canal boundary, but at this time of year there were no crops growing on the other side. The trail there was dry, but right about the time our feet dried, it was time to turn back into the wet trail.Once again we took the little detour to the observation deck.Thought you might like just a glimpse of what our hike sounded like! allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />One more picture of our beautiful day! And, yes, I was there :)[...]

Canoeing on the Loxahatchee River


Jonathan Dickinson State Park - The Ninth Visit, or An October VisitThis turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day, and we were so glad we had planned to head to the local state park and rent a canoe. It was the perfect "stay-cation" activity, and a nice break after the previous weeks filled the stress of travel and hurricanes.After leaving the dock, we headed up Kitching Creek. It was kind of cool to see the observation platform from the other side.Back on the Loxahatchee we passed some wildlife on our way to the Trapper Nelson site.\Hurricane Irma didn't cause any lasting damage here, but the water levels were super high, and the main boat dock was still underwater. That meant the tourist trips were cancelled and we could explore the area without any large groups around. (There was another couple there when we arrived, and a caretaker when we left; much different from the last time we visited.)The return trip was with the current, and although there were some spots where we had to row against the wind, overall this was a very do-able canoe hike and we weren't too sore the next day.After returning our canoe and before driving home, we christened our brand new barbecue grill by making cheeseburgers. Delicious!We're looking forward to our next visit to this beautiful park![...]

The Saga of the Dress


As mentioned in the last post, Michelle and I created her wedding dress together, and it's finally time to reveal the finished product, along with several stories surrounding it and her special day. I'm sure you'll agree that this isn't just a sweet tale, but a very suspenseful saga.We can't leave you in suspense, though; the story has a happy ending.Soon after her engagement, I checked Michelle's Pinterest board and discovered she had pinned only one dress. That struck me as a bit odd, because I imagined most brides-to-be would have a lot that they liked, but it was quite apparent that she knew exactly what she wanted.She had worked with this designer during Provo Fashion Week, and knew that she would be happy with the finished product. While compared to a lot of bridal gown budgets, the price for this gown wasn't too outrageous, it was still a lot for our budget. Besides, in the back of my mind I'd always planned on at least trying to sew our only daughter's wedding dress, which I knew we could do for less money than purchasing one. So, we bought Michelle a plane ticket to Florida and ordered some guipure lace.Our inspiration dress was actually a blouse and a skirt, and originally we were going to do that, but then decided that having the skirt attached would not only save fabric, but would prevent the worry of a blouse becoming untucked. We didn't have the pattern from the designer, but that just made the project more exciting and allowed Michelle to unleash her own creativity. We started with the pattern we did have - the one for my wedding dress.She didn't want ruffles or a long train, and definitely didn't want poufy sleeves, but my old wedding dress was a great starting point and resource for making something that did work.Since Michelle also needed a "regular" temple dress (so that she wouldn't have to rent one each time she went), we thought it might be wise to use that dress as our "practice" dress, so that's what we did.After completing that dress, and being satisfied with how it looked, it was time to create the real wedding dress. I'll admit there was a fair amount of mind changing and picking out threads - and wishing the bride had followed the counsel to not show "in progress" pictures to the groom! - but overall the experience was a positive one, and we met our goal to complete it during her visit.Because the airline had misplaced Michelle's luggage on her flight to West Palm, we didn't trust them to not do that again. Besides, her suitcase was pretty full. We decided I would bring the wedding gown in my carry-on luggage when I went to Utah for the wedding. She made room for the temple dress, which could be a "Plan B" if  necessary.All ready to be packed for the big day!Fast forward a month. Michelle had originally wanted a Labor Day weekend wedding, but we had already planned to go on an Alaskan cruise with Wayne's family that week. So, they picked the next available Saturday, September 16th. Our plan was to fly home from Seattle on the 9th, and then fly to Salt Lake a few days later for their wedding.As we were packing for the cruise, we noticed a little thing called Hurricane Irma forming in the Atlantic, but didn't concern ourselves with it too much because the reports had it moving slowly to the south and we would be home and gone again before it reached Florida. The reports changed, but that story deserves its own post.Bottom line, our flight from Seattle to West Palm on September 9th was cancelled, so we rescheduled it to the 11th. When that one was also cancelled we had a problem. We were in Washington, the dress was in Florida, and the wedding was in Utah.One of Michelle's friends offered to let her borrow a wedding dress. That was super nice of them, and it would have worked as a Plan C, (not sure why our original Plan B was vetoed at the time), but it really wasn't Michelle's style.Since the airlines wouldn't change our flight t[...]

The Tale of the Dress


Happy 35th Anniversary to Us! In honor of this special day, it's time for another wedding story. This year it's the tale of the dress. And this is particularly appropriate because of recent events, to be explained a bit later. Let's start with a bit of my journal entry from 29 May 1982:"I had looked through the bridal magazines and found some dresses I thought were nice so we went to one store. We walked in and there were dresses and things all over the place, but it was kind of dusty and musty. The saleslady also seemed rude; she said it was too late for us to begin looking for an August wedding dress. The experience decided for me that I was definitely going to make my own dress." On that same shopping trip, I found a pattern I liked at Mervyn's, and it was even on sale!A week later it was time to go back to the big city again:"Mom, Holly and I spent another five hours shopping and today we got everything to make my wedding gown - for a total of $110. I wanted lace and we looked all over but I was unable to find exactly what I wanted. Nothing had the look that I had imagined. So, I went with chiffon pleats for ruffling. The sleeves and bodice aren't lace either but a sheer embroidered material over the satin. I had kind of thought about a soft satin, but we finally decided on a stiffer one with more sheen."I originally used the pattern for the dress on the left, although I did raise the neckline a bit and line the sleeves. However, I didn't like the way those sleeves turned out, so we went back to the store for more fabric and I redid the sleeves using the pattern for the dresses on the right. Much better!I no longer have the shoes, and can't even find a picture of them, but they had a story as well. I couldn't find anything in San Jose, which had a plethora of large shoe stores to explore, but did find the perfect sandal in the one tiny shoe store in our small town of Hollister - something similar to this - and also learned (due to the personalized attention and service) that I really was a size 4 1/2, and not the 5 I had always thought.I also can't remember where the idea for the hat came, maybe I just didn't want a plain veil, maybe I saw something in a bridal magazine, but I do remember getting a white hat and covering it with the same sheer fabric and chiffon ruffle that I used in the dress. In addition, I accomplished my goal to finish everything before July! (So there, rude lady in the bridal shop!)Now let's jump ahead 35 years. Our daughter is getting married next month, and she decided that trying to make her own wedding dress would have greater meaning than just buying something. She's right, so she flew home for a couple of weeks so we could do that. Since the first order of business (because she already had a design in mind) was to figure out a pattern, we started with what we had, and that was my old, yellowed wedding gown.She didn't want a long train, she didn't want ruffles, and she definitely didn't want poufy sleeves, but the bodice itself was a good starting point. It was actually wonderful not having to re-create that, and I was grateful that, at least in this case, keeping memorabilia paid off and saved us time and money. You'll have to wait until next month to see the finished product, but I think it's pretty neat that "The Tale of the Wedding Dress" continued on to the next generation.[...]

WFMW - Good Health


I had another idea to post today, but Wayne read this article this morning and I decided to save that idea for next week. It's not procrastinating when it's a conscious choice to do something different, is it? Anyway, this is another "it doesn't really work for us" so I thought it went well with last week's post.

I like the premise of this article, which is that by making small changes and developing good habits, we can change for the better. In fact, I wrote about that here. However, we're doing all of these suggested "healthy habits" and are not seeing any weight loss. What's wrong with that?

These come from an article in the January/February 2017 issue of the Scouting magazine. The author (Jeff Csatari) states: "As we embark on the season of resolutions, here are some simple lifestyle changes for weight loss and better health."

  1. Go for a brisk walk before breakfast.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Pack your lunch every day.
  4. Unclutter your kitchen counter.
  5. Follow the half-plate plan.
  6. Count your blessings.
  7. Go to bed by 10:00 PM.

Wayne doesn't always pack a lunch every day, but he tries to keep business lunches to less than one a week, and we eat less for dinner on those days to compensate. While he walks before breakfast, I walk afterwards; that may make a difference, but maybe not. So, while I agree that all of these ideas are important and helpful, our experience shows that you shouldn't count on them alone to help you with weight loss!
We think these are healthy habits as well, but counting calories is the only thing we've found to help us actually lose weight.

A Day at the Beach


Today's Saturday activity was a trip to the beach, and we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day!! This time it was Lake Worth Municipal Beach, so after enjoying the water and relaxing on the beach, we ate lunch at Benny's on the Beach on the pier. It was nice to be able to share our fun activity with two of our favorite visitors.[...]

WFMW - Procrastination


Every so often these "Works for Me Wednesday" posts weren't actually about things that worked, but things that we wanted to work. I've always struggled with a tendency to procrastinate, particularly on things that I didn't want to do, and this week I felt the need to try harder to not procrastinate. I remember reading a while back some questions to ask yourself to help you get going, so I looked up a couple of articles to see if I could find them again. These may or may not be the same, but they should work. I hope they help me, and I hope they help you!What one thing can I do to get started?What are my three biggest priorities today?How can I make this easier?What will go wrong if I don't do this now?Actually, although those are good ones, I'm pretty sure those aren't the same questions I read before. Neither are these, but they're pretty good ones as well.Should I be doing this?Do I feel overwhelmed with options?Am I distracted?Do I have what I need (skills and resources)?How do I feel?However, I like these two the best.What can I do right now that will make my life more peaceful and joyful later? (Helps with setting priorities.)Will doing this now, rather than later, give me more peace and joy? (Helps with motivation.)So, I've been procrastinating posting this, because I didn't magically change in one week! And while dilly-dallying, I found a few more websites to share. Here's one.This person never got around to checking his spelling or grammar, but if you can look past that, there are some helpful suggestions. This person has helpful suggestions AND proper grammar!Please let me know ways you've found to overcome this problem. I'm hoping that I can turn this weakness into a strength someday before I run out of tomorrows![...]

Another Beautiful Saturday!


It's Florida in the summer, so once again there was rain in the forecast, but we figured if we got an early start we could stay mostly dry, so we did. And we successfully completed the second loop of the "east" side of the Cypress Creek Natural Area (otherwise known as the Hammock Loop Trails) before the rain arrived. The last time we went it was still in the dry season; it was interesting to see the difference a few months makes. Fortunately, although there were a couple of streams to jump over, we didn't have to go slogging through any marshes.Since this trail was round-trip and less than 10 miles (4.69 to be exact), I went on the hike as well.This time Cypress Creek actually had water in it.We took the detour to the overlook once again. I expected more water there, but there was some.Along the way we passed another little lake.And we made it to the canal on the border, to find a new set of crops growing on the other side.It was an absolutely gorgeous day!We drove home through a couple of heavy thunderstorms, replaced the downstairs thermostat, celebrated with a new recipe, and are looking forward to visiting with friends at a wedding reception this evening. We hope you each have a pleasant Saturday as well![...]

Our Finished Closet


Just as a reminder, here are the before pictures:Contents removed, shelves removed, holes patched and everything painted.First order of business was to unload all the components and carry them upstairs. That took a good couple of hours!The fact that the system rests on the floor, as opposed to hanging from the wall, was one of the main reasons for going with this company.At the end of the first day - everything but the handles (which were left at the factory/showroom) and the counter (which was meant to be done later).Wayne did a good job of inspecting, found a couple of minor issues (which were fixed the next day), pronounced it overall very good, and decided the first items to be returned were the suitcases.He didn't like the fact that the top looked unfinished, but that's the way it comes. However, with a little bit of elbow work (and supplies already in the garage), everything is shiny and white, even if no one else will ever see it!For 35 years we've used a laundry basket for a hamper. Personally, I don't mind that because it makes trips to the laundry room easy. However, one of the things we're looking forward to using is the built-in hamper. Hopefully it lives up to our expectations!The finished product - just waiting for our clothes and shoes and momentos to find a new home![...]

Stone Mountain


After a day of driving and a day of church we were ready for a day of playing before the second day of driving, and we had a great time exploring Stone Mountain. We didn't have a great time finding the correct parking lot (the GPS sent us to a side entrance, not the main entrance, and the signs weren't terribly clear), but once we got started on our hike up the mountain we had a great time.Hiking to the top of the mountain is a pretty straight-forward one mile path, and since we took it at a two-year-old's speed, it didn't really require any exertion at all.I enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my mom, but was also grateful for Brad's strength and patience, since when you're 75, maybe a two-year-old's speed is still a bit too fast.Brooke found just about every single puddle and enjoyed splashing in them. Because it had rained overnight, there were quite a few! It was also cloudy and overcast for our hike that morning, but that was nice because if the sun had been shining, it would have been hot. There's not a lot of shade to be found on a large granite rock.The hike was not wheelchair compatible, so a few of our family members rode the tram to the top. (The whole group shot was not on my camera, so hopefully I'll be able to add it later.) We arrived about the same time and enjoyed the view together, then they rode back down, along with my mom and the little girls.I'm always intrigued when I find things growing in the crevices of rocks. I'm sure there's a good gospel lesson there.As you can imagine, it didn't take us nearly as long to return to the car.After exploring a bit at the bottom of the hill, and watching a short movie explaining the carving process, we drove to the playground area to have a picnic lunch.That was the end of Stone Mountain, but it wasn't the end of our fun day! Brooke got to go on her special ice cream date with Grandpa. You can guess how she felt about that.The rest of us had fun with Robyn's toys.And then it was time for an early-birthday dinner, complete with a cake that reminded me of the ones my mom made for me growing up.One last story -And one last picture taking session before leaving!Thanks for helping us create some wonderful memories![...]

WFMW - Three-Day Weekends


We've been fortunate that our children have been willing to plan their baby blessings around 3-day weekends if at all possible. Since none of them live nearby, that helps minimize the vacation time needed to visit, and that works great for us. We had a long weekend this week (and actually did take a vacation day to turn it into a 4-day weekend) and had a wonderful visit to Atlanta. We had so much fun - which translates to "I took a lot of pictures" - that this will probably turn into two posts!Once we arrived, the first order of business was to meet baby Adam and watch the girl cousins get reacquainted. Savannah's grown a lot since the last time they were together.Wayne likes to do something "touristy" when we visit our kids, and this time his choice was to have dinner at the iconic Atlanta landmark - The Varsity. The reviews we read said you really go for the experience and not the food, but the food itself was better than I expected - I tried an orange frosty and a chili slaw dog - and it was a fun place to visit. The line to order was long, but there were plenty of places to sit and we were able to get our group of fourteen in adjacent booths. It was a bit on the noisy side, but we were there with little kids so that was actually a plus.Robyn was fascinated with the giant gumball machine, and fortunately was easily distracted when she wasn't allowed to get a piece for herself.The Varsity is a place suitable for the young and the old, although it may be best for the college-aged crowd, which really was its original target market.Atlanta is a college town, and Brad is a student at Georgia Tech, so Wayne had to take advantage of getting a picture with the Rambling Wreck.After dinner there was time for a quick swim at the hotel pool, and then Brooke got to ride the elevator to the 8th floor for a quick look out the window. I was surprised that the window could be opened! Fortunately, it could only be opened a few inches, and that meant Brooke could surprise her parents down in the parking lot.The next day was Sunday. I'll have to add the "whole group" picture later because there's not one on my camera, but it was a beautiful day, and I do have some pictures to share now. I missed being in our home ward, but we've visited the Atlanta Ward several times and it was great to feel at home there as well. We enjoyed our mini miracles of seeing Wayne's cousin and Elder Parker (who visited our stake conference a couple of months ago) and the opportunities we were given to serve ourselves. The testimonies and lessons were great and spirit-filled. I'm so grateful for our world-wide church!We had a nice afternoon relaxing and visiting (sorry for the glare in the pictures), before enjoying a delicious dinner (curried chicken, rice and creme brulee).Boys and their toys!Then our wonderful day was over, but not before a pleasant walk back to the hotel with an exuberant companion. I hope Adam remembers his special day, or at least we remember to share it with him in the future. We're so glad he's a part of our family now![...]

Happy Birthday to Me!


The plan was to spend Independence Day on the road, so I had my actual birthday cake the day before, thanks to Brad's family. It was delicious, and a great reminder of some of the ones I remember my mom making when I was a young girl. Thanks again!

Picture from the trip up when Jeff was with us.
On the actual day, we stopped at Burger King for lunch (our normal on-the-road choice), but part of my birthday present included dinner at something a step above fast food. A big step above. I thought it was appropriate to spend our country's birthday enjoying some of our beautiful country, so wanted a place with a view. 

Jetty's in Jupiter, on the Jupiter inlet and across from the Jupiter Lighthouse was the perfect choice. We enjoyed our dinner. We enjoyed the view. We enjoyed each other's company. What a beautiful day!

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 RestaurantHappy Birthday!Happy Father's Day![...]

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!

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![...]

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 LibraryWhile 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 - MuseumsMost 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.Flagler MuseumNorton Museum of ArtMorikami MuseumYesteryear VillageLake Worth Historical MuseumBoca Raton Children's MuseumLoggerhead Marine Life CenterJupiter Inlet Lighthouse and MuseumSouth Florida Science Center#3 - Indoor ExerciseIce SkatingRoller SkatingIndoor PlaygroundsAquarium in Draper Utah#4 - CraftingPaint your own PotteryKids' 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 See earlier post.#5 - Malls and ShoppingGrocery ShoppingDollar Store - A great place to find reading reward incentives!Mall Treasure HuntWindow Shopping - You don't necessarily have to buy anything!"Get Ready for School" ShoppingWhat 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.[...]

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

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 practic[...]

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![...]

WMFW - Summer Activities - Beaches


Our Favorite Beaches - 2 years laterA 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 - 6/10/15They 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 - 4/30/16They 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 - 8/6/16They 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) - 3/18/17They 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![...]

WFMW - Summer Activities - Parks


Our Favorite Parks - 2 years laterA 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:June 2015August 2015January 2016May 2016January 2017May 2017 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 hike, a 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.Wellington Patriot Memorial - 12198 Forest Hill Blvd.Scott's Place - 12190 Forest Hill Blvd.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.[...]