Category Archives: Family

A Big Day & Some Great Lessons

Today was a big day at our house.   Our youngest graduated from 5th grade and our oldest from 8th grade.  Since it’s also dance recital week I used some vacation and took the whole week off.

I’m glad I did, too, because I was able to attend and really enjoyed both graduations for different reasons.  One was a little less formal and one was more structured like what you’d expect from a graduation.

The fifth grade one was pretty laid back.  My wife and I sat at a table in the lunch room as my daughter and her friends got their certificates saying they were done with elementary school and would be middle schoolers in the Fall.

It was fun seeing how happy and carefree they all were! I miss that last day of school/start of the Summer feeling and excitement.  I tried to come up with the adult equivalent but came up short.

Next was the 8th grade graduation.  I didn’t have high hopes for the event based on my own experience but tried going into it with an open mind.

There was a processional into the auditorium to Thunderstruck… an AC/DC tune chosen by the class.  There was also a slideshow with baby and current day pictures of the class and the walk across the stage by everyone to get their 8th grade graduation certificate.

All those things were great but my favorite part was the short talk given by the middle school principal.  He’s a younger guy and it was clear that he has a way of communicating and relating to the current generation.

I’m not sure in the excitement of the day if the class got much out of his talk but I sure did.  He made some great points.  I made notes so I could remember them later.  It was really good stuff!

The first was to “Control Your Controllables”. To emphasize the point he shared an acronym: APE.

A = Attitude  P = Perspective  E = Effort

These 3 things are something we each have control over every day… and in every situation. This wasn’t a new concept for the students. They got rubber bracelets earlier in the year with APE on them but I never took the time to fully comprehend the meaning until today. That’s my bad.

The principal shared another acronym: WTD.  It stands for Win The Day.  I love this concept.  Focus on the day.  Win enough days and you’ll start winning weeks, months, and years.  It all starts with one DAY!

To close his talk he played a YouTube video of Naval Adm. William H. McRaven on the importance of making your bed.  It seems like a strange idea at first but having watched the video it makes a lot of sense.

The video speaks for itself so I’ll share it below.

Today, I was reminded once again, not to let my past and preconceived notions cloud my thoughts and instead enjoy each experience on it’s own and for what it is.

Today was a big day… and it was a great day!

A Big Day And Some Great Lessons

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Memory Monday – Memorial Day

Heading into this Memorial Day Weekend I was thinking about the holiday and what memory I would recount on Memorial Day Monday. Turns out I really didn’t need to come up with one.

My brother took care of it for me!  He shared his thoughts on Facebook…. and with his permission, I’m re-sharing them here.

Here’s my brother’s Memorial Day memory:

As a little boy I always looked forward to getting up early on Memorial Day weekend and helping the local Legion Post raise the flagpoles at the cemetery.

American Flags Flying In A Cemetary

I remember the first time Dad let me help and asking him why we were doing it. He explained in great detail what the holiday, the flying of the colors, and the programs were all about.

Memorial Day Flags in Cemetary

Today, as a small business owner, I look back at that day and that explanation my Dad gave to me and am thankful for all those who have passed giving and protecting the very things we tend to take for granted.

So parents, make sure to take the time and explain the true meaning of this holiday to your children. Have a great and safe weekend… and don’t forget amongst all the fun what we are celebrating this weekend and Memorial Day.

Who taught you the meaning and importance of Memorial Day?

American Flag

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2016 Family Garden Kickoff

It took awhile but we finally got our garden in the ground! Between our busy schedules and wet weekends I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen.

To be honest, I thought about skipping it this year when I realized how much work it was going to take to get it ready. We never cleared it off last Fall and let the weeds take over this Spring.

It’s a little embarrassing but here’s what it looked like when my youngest and I started in on it this past Saturday.

Garden overgrown with weeds

Like most things getting started was the hardest part. Once our hands were dirty and the sweat was flowing it really wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was actually kind of fun.

Girl weeding a garden

We made short work of the dead growth and waist high weeds. I raked it off showing a blank dirt patch.  Then it was time to loosen the soil by turning it over.

It’s a hard, physically demanding job doing it by hand instead of using a tiller but I kept telling myself, and my daughter, that it’ll make us really appreciate the produce our garden will yield this Summer.

You can read more about this stage of our garden process here and the lessons I learned during it.

Garden dirt turned over

Four hours after we started the garden had been cleared, raked, turned over, raked again, and was ready for planting. The garden was ready but my daughter and I where not.  We were beat and didn’t have any seeds or plants.

Rest and a plan were needed. We talked about what we wanted to include in our garden and decided to get it all the next day.

Armed with our list we headed to the store on Sunday. We brought my oldest along because she had plans for an herb garden this Summer. That will be her project and I’m guessing she’ll be guest blogging about it in the future.

While we were there I also got a forgotten part I needed for my rain barrel water collection system I’ve been working on. There are still a few things I want to tweak on them before doing a full write-up about them here on my blog. Here is what one of the two barrels looks like so far.

Rain barrel water collection system

Armed with a bunch of seeds and plants we headed home and got to work. The first thing we did was map out where we thought things should go. Then we put everything in the ground.

There is something really satisfying about planting a garden… especially after working so hard to get it ready.

So, what did we plant? Here’s the rundown:

Our 2016 Family Garden

1 or 2 jalapeño peppers – One of the plants when we got home had an orange bell pepper tag in it even though we grabbed it from among the jalapeños.

Orange bell pepper plant in a garden

We planted it any way. If it is an orange bell pepper it will give me an excuse to try making stuffed peppers. I do plan on picking up another jalapeño plant. I need to be sure we have enough jalapeños to make my favorite grilled jalapeño poppers.

4 beefsteak tomato plants – I like these for making BLT’s and fresh pico de gallo. I also like to have extras to give to garden-less friends.

1 grape tomato plant – I love the sweet flavor of these. They’re great in salads and for making my BLT appetizer bites.

2 long rows of stringless green beans – I could eat these raw right out of the garden but they’re also good grilled, steamed, or in salads.

2 short rows of red onions – These weren’t originally part of the plan but they had a bag of onion sets marked down to 50¢. For that price we figured it was worth a shot. Plus, it’ll go good in the previously mentioned pico.

1 trellis with sugar snap peas on both sides – Another favorite veggie that’s great raw or cooked.

2 hills of slicing cucumbers – My youngest has really taken a liking to cucumbers. She loves dipping the slices in ranch and putting some in water.

2 hills of lemon cucumbers – We got these for two reasons. The first, again my daughter loves cucumbers and lemons. Second, they looked cool on the seed package. Turns out the only resemblance to lemons is in color and size. Other than that they’re like a mild, single serve cucumber.

My daughter and I were both pretty proud of our efforts and stood there for a short time admiring our work.

2016 Family Garden

As proud as we were… we were equally frustrated to see that by Monday night a rabbit had breached our fence and chewed off one of the beefsteak tomatoes.

rabbit chewed tomato plant

Fortunately, the beefsteak tomatoes came in a six pack of plants so we had a leftover one we could immediately replace the chewed one with.

Guess I’ll need to get my pellet gun ready for bunny patrol/control.

That’s how our 2016 Family Garden has started out. I hope to share some updates as the season progresses.

Did you plant a garden this year?

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