Genealogy and motivation for family connection

In a way, the declining health of my parents and my husband’s parents has had a beneficial effect because it has motivated me to sit down and enter family information that has been accumulating and languishing for years in folders and envelopes.

Yes, it would have been better to do it before, but everyday family demands, homeschooling, and my freelance job were more than enough. Now that the children are older and more self-directed in their work I have started using this “spare” time to enter what I have; I want to be able to quickly send it off for feedback, further information, or whatever I can learn.

We plan to visit my in-laws soon and I wish to be able to give the gift of a collection of what I have so far. Because of the geographic distance between us, I cannot be as involved in his family as the others; I am also not the best daughter-in-law in the family and I hope to do something to give something truly valuable back to the family who has given me such a wonderful man. This should spark conversation and help me fill in even more blanks, giving me the chance to make their history even more complete.

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In Praise of Frugal Pleasures

It’s not necessary to have new things, formally planned events, or spend much money in order to enjoy yourself. Today we just stayed home and did necessary projects while the kids had time with their friends. Then we decided to grill and eat outside and later had friends over for monster marshmallows. The priceless pleasure of the evening was accomplished with mostly free or cheap items.

  • A Canopy. The greatest pleasure and most often used! We put it up on our driveway over a month ago because it’s very hot there in the afternoon and it gives a protected place to eat outside, work, park the car, etc. We liked it so much that we weighted down the legs and left it up. It was free. A few years ago neighbors were getting rid of two damaged canopies, so I cobbled one good one together from the two and in one (long) afternoon we had a working canopy.
  • Round grill. Picked up curbside one garbage day. It was in very good shape (and better than the one we had).
  • Wood (including the kindling). Collected over time from our black walnut tree and other wood from our property. Very dry, no fire starter needed (just some newspaper).
  • Four plastic chairs. Curbside castoffs because they had UV discoloration. I used a stainless scrubby one very rainy afternoon and made them look like new. Added to the two we already had we now had enough for family plus some friends.
  • Aluminum folding table. A garage sale find – a few dollars. Great for leaving up outside because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t rust.
  • Floral lights. Also a garage sale special, and strung around the edge of the canopy makes it very festive at night.
  • Citronella bucket candles. Curbside collections after a family moved.
  • Metal stand. Curbside treasure. Put a citronella candle on it.
  • Three Hurricane lamps (use candles). Garage sale finds. The candle were free.
  • Zucchini. A garden gift from a friend. Sliced lengthways, Italian dressing poured over them and grilled.

Things purchased new:

  • Steaks and marshmallows (both on sale).

The evening – priceless.

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