Friday, June 30, 2006

Cape Cod: The Flats

Baby periwinkles (Sea snails).

The very best thing about Cape Cod are the flats. When the tide is low, the ocean recedes from the shore for over a mile, leaving behind a "seeming to never end" landscape of sand bars and tidal pools. It is our favorite time to visit the beach, because as you walk out onto the flats you discover many sea creatures:
(Click on subtitles if you want to see bigger versions)

Underside of a periwinkle. When you pick them up their "foot" is huge, but then it quickly shrinks down and is pulled inside the shell.

Spider crab

Horseshoe crab. Notice how far from the shore we are!

Green crab.

Also, hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, star fish, shrimp, minnows,worms (careful, they bite!), clams, and mussels can be found, with a bit of digging, in some cases.

It's great fun, but I must admit I wear water shoes because of all those crabs!

When you finally get out far enough, you catch up with the sea. The water seems so much clearer out there. We then have a great time splashing, chasing schools of fish and trying to teach our dog to swim.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Works For Me Review 5

I loved all of the Works for Me Wednesday posts at Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer!

These are my favorite, "I'm going to try this" posts:

At She Lives you can see a beautiful bathroom and great bath storage ideas. I have been looking for something in which to store my make up on the counter, now that my toddler can get into my top bath drawer. I have had a hard time finding something I like, Carol has expanded my ideas on the possible solution.

Tami has a tasty idea that will help me get more veggies into my picky toddler.

Katherine has tips to making perfect cookies. I'm going to try chilling my dough more and see how I like it.

At Nine Recliners there is a new idea for a less messy way to brown hamburger in bulk. A task I very much dislike.

Maggie put out a request for crockpot recipes. I'm hoping her readers suggest a few good ones. I'll be checking back!

Blest with Sons has a great idea for helping keep track of recipes you want to try. I'm going to use the same technique to keep track of some of my favorite projects and topics in my books.

And in the comments of my post on patriotism there are some additional great suggestions! Thanks Gina, Jettara, and Theresa!

And congratulations to No Cool Story on your first Independance day as an new United States citizen!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Works For Me: Teaching Patriotism

So often, the fourth of July is spent preparing and eating food, spending time with family, and enjoying fireworks. These are wonderful, and the source of great memories. But, often the meaning of the holiday gets lost for us big people, and sometimes is never found for our little ones. A spirit of patriotism is not something that should be left to school teachers to give our children. It is something we should be teaching our children ourselves.

I recently found online a list of ideas to use in helping instill a sense of patriotism in our children. I think the best way to do this is to take your children to historical sites and talk about what happened there and how that blesses our lives today. Unfortunately, that isn't all that easy, especially if you live on the western side of the country. Here are four ideas from the list I found:

-Flag colors and symbols. Talk to your children about the symbolism of the flags colors and symbols. Then, on the 4th of July, have everyone wear those colors. You can buy everyone a new matching article of clothing, use ones you already own, or let them decorate white t-shirts with blue and red fabric pens.

-Have a birthday party for America. Make cards to display on the fourth of July. Include in them your gratitude for our freedoms and a "gift" for our country-something you will do to be a good citizen in the next year. Display these on the fourth. Don't forget to have a cake and sing Happy Birthday!

-Music and Literature. Preceding the fourth of July, take time to learn patriotic songs, especially "The Star Spangled Banner". This is a focus I am working on in my piano practice. Or, memorize a patriotic poem, such as "Paul Revere's Ride", or the Preamble to the Constitution.

-Veteran Devotional. Honor a veteran in your family, or invite a veteran friend to your home for a special devotional. Sing patriotic songs. (This would be a good time to present a patriotic poem you have memorized) Ask the veteran to share their experiences and feelings about America. Be sure to open and close with a prayer of gratitude for our freedoms.

This year, the fourth of July is on a Tuesday. So doing the birthday party or devotional on Monday night for Family Home Evening would be a great way to kick off the holiday! I am planning on doing the American Birthday Party one that night. For more ideas and more information on the idea's above check out LDS Living Magazine.

What have you tried to help your children learn to love their country?

And don't forget to check out the rest of the Works for Me Wednesday posts at Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A True Tale of the Sea

I love this story and read it every time I am on the Cape. To me it epitomizes the romance and adventure of the sea and the great sailing ships, tempered by the harsh cruelty of life at that time:

On a spring morning in 1853, Mary Ann Brown, a slender 16 yr old girl with feminine, delicate features and dark eyes and hair, was married to Capt. Joshua A. Patten. He was a 26 year old ship captain, known for his fine character and fast voyages.

This was the era of clipper ships. The large multi-masted ships that when fully set carried over an acre of canvas. Speed was very important for these ships, delivering their cargo as fast as possible over long voyages. Competition between ships for the reputation of being fastest was strong, and represented fame to the captain at the helm.

Newly married, the young couple set sail on the new clipper ship "Neptune's Car". For the next three years the young bride stood alongside her husband as his reputation for speedy voyages continued. It was not unusual for a captain to bring his wife along, despite the old rumor that a woman on ship was bad luck. What was unusual was the tutoring of navigation young Mary received from her husband.

On July of 1856, at the age of 19 and pregnant with their first child, Mary boarded Neptune's Car and set sail out of New York, bound for the west coast, via the southerly voyage around Cape Horn. It would be her final voyage.

During the journey, the first mate put the ship under shortened sail and fell asleep, while on his watch, on more than one occassion. Finally, the captain had no choice but to depose his first mate for insubordination. The second mate did not know navigation and so it became the captain's duty to navigate around the clock. After days of no sleep he suffered from the strain and the fatique and became delerious with a brain fever.

With no captain and no first mate, it came to the decision of finishing the voyage or of heading for the nearest safe harbour. Mary, believing she was following the wishes of her husband, resolved they would finish under her navigation, as dangerous as that decision might be. The first mate, appealed to the captain's wife to be restored to duty. Her reply was, since her husband did not find him qualified to act as first mate, she did not find him qualified to be captain. He then tried to rouse the crew to mutiny against her. She gathered the crew together and appealed her case to them. To a man they resolved to stand by her.

The next weeks were grueling. Now it was the pregnant Mary who did not sleep, splitting her time between nursing her sick husband and doing the calculations necessary to guide the ship on its course. Her husband's condition worsened, as he lost both hearing and sight. They reached the icy waters off the horn and spent 18 days battling cold and howling winds and 60 foot waves. Finally, after 50 days of constant duty and several days of being stuck in fog outside of San Fransisco, Mary took the helm and steered the ship into port. In honor of their brave young captain, the crew had polished her from bow to stern, and no ship could have looked in finer condition upon entering the harbour. Thus ended a 136 day voyage, beating another clipper ship that had set sail at the same time by 11 days.

Mary was hailed as a heroine. The financier's of the voyage wrote her a letter of gratitude and praise, including a sum of $1,000. Many felt it should have been five times that sum, due to the value of the cargo and ship being over $350,000. Mary, however, modestly accepted the money and letter, pointing out the indespensable efforts of the crew and second mate in their success.

Four months later, she gave birth to a son, named Joshua after his father. The captain took great delight in his child, but, before the year was out, the new father passed away. The flags of Boston Harbor were flown at half mast in his honor. A few years later, 24 year old Mary died destitute of Tuberculosis. She was buried next to her husband in Woodlawn cemetary in Everett, near Boston, their graves marked by two plain headstones that relate nothing of their love and heroism.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


When I return from a vacation, I am always amazed to see the growth that has occurred in my garden in my absence. This is what I found this time. They are radishes. Some are 4 feet tall! I had no idea they could do that. They were overwhelming the peppers and basil trying to grow behind them.

And I found these had started to bloom:

We also discoverd the cherries were ready to harvest. I took this picture yesterday morning. But, by the end of yesterday, the birds had had a feast and they were gone. My only consolation is the fact that they were pie cherries and I'm not terribly fond of pitting enough cherries to make a pie. Okay, that was a lie. I would happily have done so, because, well, I like pie THAT much. Darn birds.

Next year we need to plan our vacation time better. We left in the height of the strawberry harvest and had to sacrifice the last pickings to the neighbors. So, I won't be making as much strawberry jam as I had hoped. I'm not going anywhere during the raspberry harvest. I guarantee it!

Of course, the posts on the blogs I read had grown much like my radishes. Getting caught up on everyone is taking some time. I missed two Works for Me Wednesdays, and the idea of going through all of them is also overwhelming. But, if I don't, how will I know if I am posting an idea that has already been posted? And what if I don't read and miss something that would've completely changed my life for the better? The laundry was less intimidating.

We had such a great and bloggable time on the Cape. I have a myriad of posts milling in my head, and pictures, and I don't know where to start. I am really excited about sharing about so many things that I love. Of course, they may be very boring to others. So, if you don't like beaches, the sea, history, architecture or antique clocks, I apologize in advance!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We're Back!

We pulled into the driveway last night after 11, back from a vacation to Cape Cod. Now we face mountains of laundry and a car that looks like multiple bags of chips exploded in it. Not to mention no milk for breakfast. Thankfully, the fish and garden are still alive. We brought tanned kids, rocks and lots of photos back. I'll post with details as soon as I've regained control over my immediate environment. Or at least after making a brave hearted attempt!

Friday, June 9, 2006

Strawberries, Rain and a Break

The Strawberry Harvest has begun! This was our first real picking, a bowlful last Saturday. We've had about 5 smashed cups each day since. We chose to celebrate by making Strawberry Shortcake for Family Night treat. Yummy! Unfortunately, we've had a lot of rain, which is great for the rest of the garden, but has given us some problems with fungus. It seems to like the ripest berries, so I've started picking them a bit earlier than usual to try to get them first. I'm hoping to make several batches of jam, so I've just been throwing a batch amount of smushed berries in a freezer bag and throwing them in the freezer. Once the harvest is over, I'll thaw them out and make the jam.

But, summer rain can be so fun. It's been warm enough that the girl's can play in it without getting chilled.

Also, Wednesday was the last day of school for my kids. So, I am going to take a blogging vacation for a bit. I'll be busy either making jam or making memories with the kids for the next couple weeks. I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Works For Me: Review 4

So, I don't forget, here are my favortie WFMW, so I don't forget to actually do them!

Monica shows a very inexpensive, cute way to make notecards. I love the envelopes, especially. I am thinking this would be a great YW project to do with the girls at church.

Jenn suggests a space saving way to store DVD's that I have been wanting to do. I'm going to start looking for what I need to do it now.

Gina Has an idea to make for babies. We've had a baby boom around here, so I am going to keep this in mind as a possible gift making idea.

Cmommy has an idea for a paint preserving paint palatte that I am thinking of trying for my paints, as well as the kids.

Works for Me: Candy Cans

It's Wednesday, and time to participate in Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer's Works for Me Wednesday!

Here is yet another idea for containerizing "Stuff".

The Problem: Holiday Candy

It isn't uncommon for parents around here to send goody bags for all of their child's classmates on holidays. And I'm not just referring to Christmas and Valentine's. Were talking Halloween, St.Patricks, the start of summer name it and it is an opportunity to help your child make more friends via bribery. I'm sorry, that probably sounded a bit annoyed. It adds up to a lot of candy. And to be honest, I must admit to adding to the mass of holiday candy here at home.

I'm one of those mean mommies that refuses to let my kids just eat their candy to their hearts content, or rather to their stomach's belly ache. And I don't eat their candy. Unless it is chocolate and they are offering it of their own free will. I expect them to respect what is mine, so I don't just take what is theirs.

I have fond memories of getting my plastic pumpkin or Easter basket down from the top of the fridge for a treat. Thus, the source of our tradition of candy on top of the fridge. Unfortunately, displaying Halloween pumpkins on top of the fridge at Christmas goes against my aesthetic sensibilities. So, once the holiday is well past, but the candy still lingers, we start using candy cans:

They are just decorative tins leftover from gifts we've received. Not earth shaking or terribly significant, but:

Works for Me!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

YW Idea: Fundraisers

Summer is here and our Youth group is gearing up for several activities. Besides the usual girl's camp and Scout Camp, we have a ward Youth River Rafting trip and a Tri-Stake Youth Conference planned. Unfortunately, it all costs money. Not wanting to burden families with the costs or spend a lot of time and effort on fundraising, we have tried to come up with one good, easy fundraiser each year.

Years ago, when I was serving in a youth group elsewhere, we made a cookbook of submitted recipes from the members of our church congregation. It turned out to be a great cookbook (I love that kind of cookbook, anyways) and was well received. Unfortunately, it was also a lot of work as we did all of the publishing and assembling ourselves. It did almost entirely pay for the girl's camp fees.

In that same area, the scouts had a great annual fundraiser going. They rented an areator and aerated people's lawns. They charged a very reasonable price and would take orders for a specific Saturday. They tooled it around the neighborhood, using marker flags to mark and avoid hitting sprinkler heads. They usually got quite a few more orders by asking the neighbors as they went along. Aeration is an important thing to do living in low water areas, but a pain to remember to schedule, so I think everyone really appreciated it. Fortunately, low water is not an issue where we are living now. So, this fundraiser wouldn't be as productive here, I'm afraid.

Last fall, we did a chicken roast. A local gentleman has the equipment to roast chickens, and he is willing to lend it to any youth group looking to raise funds. He even hooks you up with a wholesale chicken supplier and teaches you how to do it. You just have to purchase his secret recipe chicken rub to put on them. (At a reasonable price.) A local shopping center lets you set up and sell on a highly visible spot on their property. Since groups regularly take this great opportunity, the chickens have gotten quite a following in the community and are an easy sell. We made a few hundred dollars, but it was a great deal of work. Working the pits was a hot, miserable job, and everyone in contact with the chickens had to get food handler permits in advance. Plus the stress of wondering if we were going to really sell all those chickens we upfronted cash for wasn't fun.

This last Saturday, I think we found the perfect fundraiser. A Burger King, on one of the busiest roads in town, let us do a car wash. They had two water faucets that, with the addition of two "T's", let us hook up 4 hoses. We made assignments of who would bring buckets, hoses and rags, and then picked up some appropriate soap. For our mutal night, we made about 6 signs out of poster board. That was all the prep we had to do. We ran it from 10 to 3 as a "Free car Wash, donations appreciated." We made over $450! It worked out to about 5 dollars an hour for every youth that was there. And I'm sure we would have made more if it hadn't been threatening rain all day. Further, the kids had a great time doing it. I think this is a fundraiser definitely worth repeating for next year.

Edited later: Go check out TXMommy's garden stone fundraiser. Very cute idea that'd be a great activity, even if you didn't sell them!

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Blogging Privacy

I really should have called this "blogging without privacy". When I started this whole blogging thing, I really didn't think through all the repercussions. I just thought it sounded like a fun thing to do. And it is. I'm loving it! I really didn't expect to have anyone pay any attention to my blog, except my sister and her friend, who were starting blogs of their own. Then I told the rest of my family, thinking they would like to hear what is going on with us, since we live so far away. The surprise is all the friends that I have made out in the bloggy world that I didn't know before. It's not just family, but people whom I have never met that are reading!

Then last week, my son introduced my blog to his friends at school. They needed a picture of him for a project they were working on, and my son knew where to find one: on my blog. So, a couple of his friends came to my blog for a visit and did a little perusing. I wasn't sure what to think of this. When I blog, I try to take into account who may be reading. I never dreamed my "audience" would include the neighborhood teens. Not that I expect to have any teen regular readers other than my son. This is definitely not a private diary!

I must say, I haven't made it known locally that I have a blog. Other than a couple neighborhood teens and a couple friends, no one knows outside my immediate family. I don't know why. Maybe because I don't want to explain something that may seem geeky to anyone who has yet to discover the wonders of blogging. Maybe because I'm not sure I want the real world to know as much about me as I am willing to let the virtual world know. Maybe it is because I don't want people I know to know so much more about me than I do them. How weird is that?

I have always tried to write as though anyone I was writing about might possibly read what I have to say. Which is a rule I probably ought to better apply in my real speech, and not just the virtual.

Even though I did start this impulsively, I did think hard about safety. I have decided not to say where I live, or my or my husband's names. Nettie, for those who've wondered, is not my real name. I'm also hesitant to include any photos that would make it possible for someone to identify our home or my children's school. I did choose to call my children by their real names, because I'm partly doing this as a record of family history. It would be nice if there were official guidelines for how to do this, wouldn't it?

I blog publicly. I suppose the only audience I should keep in mind is possibly anyone with an internet connection. That will limit what I share. Not that I ever really had an urge to write about the intimate details of my life. I kept a journal as a kid. And I remember my Dad saying once, "You shouldn't write anything you don't want anyone someday reading." That advice probably holds especially true for my blog.

Maybe this will make me feel distant to those who read here. I won't be sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings. I won't be venting. You will have to trust me when I say that I find being a woman and mother in today's world as challenging as you do. No details. Sorry. The irony is I tell myself I am partly doing this to express myself. I guess it is just my public self I am expressing after all.

So, who knows you blog? Does your husband read it? Do your kids? Do the neighborhood teens? Do you feel that you restrict what you might say, knowing who might read? What guidelines or rules do you follow to protect your families safety and privacy? If you were to start over, what would you do differently? Yep, I'm being nosy again! But, mostly because, in some ways, I'm still trying to figure this whole thing out for myself.