Gift Idea #47 – Travel to Family History Site

idea numbers47How about planning a trip to a place where your family came from. It could be across the ocean or just across town. The distance isn’t so important as having the purpose of the trip to learn about your family’s past. Just pick a place, do some research and plan an itinerary. One word of advice, be flexible and don’t over schedule your trip. This isn’t about packing it so full that you can’t enjoy the time with family members and learning about the past.

So you have something to wrap up, you could print up your itinerary with a map and some images of your destination and the ancestor(s) associated with this site.


Gift Idea #36 – Family T-shirts

idea numbers36It would be fun to design a t-shirt for your family. You don’t have to have a family reunion to have matching shirts made. Just come up with something that represents your family, its values and what makes it unique. The t-shirts could include the family name or the relationship of the family members, like uncle, sister, grandfather etc. They could feature an image of a common ancestor or place of origin. A family in our neighborhood loves Disneyland. Disneyland is really a big part of their family traditions, so a t-shirt for their family would have to include something about Disneyland. It will probably take some brainstorming to come up with a good design. You could get lots of family members involved in a project like these. You might want to have a contest to decide the design. Or narrow the designs down and then have a vote to select the final t-shirt.


Gift Idea #32 – Family Trivia Game

idea numbers32I love this idea that I stumbled across on Martha Stewart to create a family trivia game to be played at a family gather such as after dinner. Just put together a set of questions ahead of time about your family members and see how much fun everyone will have guessing the answers and learning new facts and stories about their family.

There is even a little Trivia Booklet you can download to put your quiz questions in. I bet that this game will become of treasured family tradition for many years to come. Have fun with this idea!

Gift Idea #24 – Walk in Their Shoes

idea numbers24I had the opportunity this past summer to “walk in the shoes” of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor. She was member of one of the handcart companies that got caught unprepared for early winter storms in 1856. At Martin’s Cove they have everything all set up to experience a little of what it was like for Mary Taylor and learn more about her experiences.

A great gift for a family would be to plan a trip to one of the many historic places that are set up to help us experience and understand a bit about the history of the past. Several year ago we had the chance to visit Plimoth Plantation, which has a pilgrim village set up along with an Indian village. It was very interesting but if I had gone with a specific ancestor in mind it would have been more meaningful.

So do a little research and find a place that can teach you about what life was like for one or more of your ancestors. Then plan a family trip. Before you go take the opportunity to learn more about that person. A trip like this can be a wonderful opportunity. Here are a few links to get you started. I think you will find more information with a more focused search.

List of Historical Reenactment Groups

Living History

Living History Sites



50 for 50 – #29 Camping

the crew at girls camp

When I put “go camping” on my list of possibles to do for my 50th year, I didn’t envision the kind of camping it turned out to be. A few months ago I was asked to help with Girls Camp for the young women in our church ages 12 to 18. The timing wasn’t great but I felt like I should help so I said yes. I had lots of fun working with Cherri as co-directors of camp. We have different strengths but similar views on how things should be handled. She took care of all the food planing and I got to do the kinds of things I like to do. Well this week the rubber meet the road when we headed off to camp bright and way too early Monday morning.

two bucks who walked through camp

We were lucky to have a spot at the wonderful Heber Valley Camp. It is a lovely place with lots of evergreens and quakes. The cabins are nice but simple with electricity. There are flush toilets and hot showers. The cooking arrangements are great too with a fridge and two-three burner propane stoves. The only downside was the fire ban due to the dry conditions.

On our three mile hike

It was a fun week with lots of hard work by both leaders and girls. Not everything went according to plan but most things were successful. The girls got to take part in a challenge course with a pole climb, a walk across a wire and then a zip line. They got to ride in canoes while the leaders tried to navigate the lake in paddle-boats. We had a hike everyday including a sunset and a sunrise hike (I think the girls might hate me for the sunrise hike), plus a three-mile hike to fulfill the requirements for the first year campers.

Pat and Pam in the paddle boats

We made survival bracelets out of paracord and had bedtime stories every night. The food was great and we had more than enough of everything. One of the high lights was when the older girls when on a short overnight backpack trip. We had a small group left in camp with just the first year girls. For a special treat Cherri took clay pots lined with foil and put in a couple of briquettes. Then the girls roasted marshmallows, Starbursts and other things over the hot briquettes. It was lots of fun to experiment with adding things like strawberries to s’mores.

Legacy Lake

Camp was a ton of work and I wish I had been more organized when we left. But overall I think it was a successful week with lots of opportunity for the girls to learn new things and grow in their appreciation of God’s creations.

Monk’s Hood