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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Family History - Document EVERYTHING you find!

I have taught genealogy for years.  I have worked in Family History Centers and have been doing my own research since I was 11.  In these years, I have accumulated much information about my ancestors.  In the days of paper, I had a fantastic filing system that I also taught.  It made finding anything and everything easy - BUT - the age of computers and Internet have changed my whole way of doing things.

I have begun using a program called Roots Magic.  There are a huge variety of programs out there and most of them do pretty much the same thing.  I personally chose Roots Magic because I liked the way it looks, the way it allows me to enter and document all information, it allows me to make a "to do" list and follow it, and to access church information that I use with ease.  It is a great program for newbie's, those only wanting to do church related work, and professional genealogist alike. 

One of the greatest features of Roots Magic is that you can download a "To Go" program onto your Flash Drive.  You can take the flash drive with you everywhere and can use it on any computer that has a USB port available.  The genealogy program does not have to be on the computer you are using.  Pop in the flash drive and the menu shows up in a popup window.  Select for it to start and you are in your Roots Magic program.

One of my biggest tasks has been to transfer all of the information I have gleened over the years from paper to my computer program.  This can be a very time consuming and sometimes boring process but it really needs to be done.  What I love about this program though is that I can enter each item as a new listing (such as a birth, marriage, death, census, residence, etc.) and then I can make notes about each item or I can make formal documation.

When you look at most every document, it will have information that applies to more than one person.  You need to make sure you enter this information for every person that it may apply to.  For instance, let's take a birth certificate.  Of course the information is mostly about the actual person born but it will also contain information about the mother, father, and sometimes grandparents.  The information should be recorded for each of these people.  You may also make a copy of the certificate and attach it to each of these individuals in your genealogy program.  Take the time right then to make your notes complete or you may miss vital clues for future information - for instance, write down the dates, places, occupations, and any other tid-bit of information even if you think it insignificant. 

As you do your research, whether it be from old records gathered or new infomation found, be sure to document everything for everyone.  Think of your record as the only history of this family and it is up to you to preserve it.  Even if you think there are many in your family doing research, make your notes understandable and complete.  Have it so that anyone at any time will be able to take over from where you left off and not have to redo anything that you have previously done.

Finally, be sure to save your information in more than one place (make backups!).  Share your information with others to have copies in more than one place.  I will often email my file to one of my online email addresses to keep it in cyberspace and available in case of any kind of disaster.

For more information on how to begin doing genealogy, check out some of the many online classes at Cyndi's List, Family Search, or  For some detailed information on how to use Roots Magic, check out their  website.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Senior Hiking #349 (our first post)


Blog by Betsy

19 Apr 2010…along the rocky shore of the lake …hike #349  (Northern Idaho)

It was predicted to be a beautiful and warm day…we haven’t had one of those in a while. While getting my glasses adjusted last week, I spoke with one of the guys there, as I always do, about the hikes each of us has been doing. When I mentioned we had just hiked Mickinnick, he said he and his wife did it two weeks ago; when I asked him what he did most recently, my curiosity piqued. He said that now that the lake water level is still low, it is possible to go to Talache Landing and walk down the rocky coast all the way to Maiden Rock. There is also a trail down to Maiden Rock from over 2000’ feet above, which we have done several years ago. Loved it. Also the same for Evans Landing. So I got dubious instructions on how to find the place, and we set out to look for it. The water was gorgeous, and the water level is now exposing about 50’ of new walkable shoreline, but in just a few short weeks, the level will rise again to full water table…usually by Memorial Day for the tourists and boaters. Then the only way to access the shore is by boat. This is the nice thing about this pristine lake of ours…80% of Lake Pend Oreille is only accessible by foot or by boat.

We found the steep narrow road which leads down to the water, but carefully got the rig turned around before we set out. It was nice to wear short sleeves and hiking boots again…a nice break from snowshoes. The first part was a bit difficult, walking on the gravel, pebbles and sand but then the second half was even testier as we had to climb up and around all the huge rocks. The sound of the water gently lapping on the shore was pleasant. We kind of dilly dallied on the way down, finding an interesting series of still deserted summer cabins, rotten docks which haven’t survived winters for a while, an old mine shaft, wildflowers, though not too many varieties, three old outhouses and lots of riffraff washed up on the shore. I picked up lots of nicely smoothed stones…something I always do when we get on the lake shore.

When we walked as far as we could, to Maiden Rock, a huge rock which cuts down over 200’ vertically into the water, we sat down for a break. Then Jim decided to climb up the extremely high bank to see what he could see. Of course, I know better than try to discourage him from doing foolish things. I had my cell phone in case I needed to call the lake patrol! He crawled up on his hands and knees and slid back down on his butt, picking up three ticks on the way and finding another on his leg after we got home. While he was doing his rock climbing thing, I sat on the boulders and admired the water…got out my binoculars and ate my lunch. Thirty five minutes later he was safely down.

We were not looking forward to the walk back thru the boulders but managed to make better time than walking down. It is amazing that I never fell in spite of coming close so many times but slowing our pace and stepping carefully, always being careful not to step on a “rocker.” We got back faster than going…though I did stop a few times to pick up more smooth rocks and also picked up those I stashed on the way down, and took a few more last pictures. This was such a nice hike albeit difficult and we were glad we found out about it.

Left home 9:40Started 10:20

Got to Maiden Rock 12:40 (2 hours, 20 minutes)

Started back 1:20

Got to truck 2:50 (1 hour, 30 minutes)

Total miles hiked 5-ish miles

Total hiking time 4 hours, 30 minutes

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome Our New Blog Contributer Betsy

Hello all, we would like to welcome our newest member of our blog team, Betsy.  Betsy is going to present a weekly report on her hiking trips.  Betsy is 70 and didn't begin hiking until just a few years ago.  She will be giving us her story as to how she started soon but until then, enjoy her weekly hikes in our new Senior Hiking series.  Check out the number of her hikes!  That is how many hikes she and her husband have gone on since they began their weekly event.  I am exhausted just thinking about all the places she goes.  She also takes tons of pictures.  We will post several pictures from each hike.  Most of their hikes take place in North Idaho.

Welcome Betsy!

If any of you would like to share your talents or adventures with us, please email me and we get you set up to post.  We would love to hear from all of you. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Easy to Make Crafts

I am not one to have a lot of Nick-Knacks around my house - mostly because I have a claustrophobic feeling when things get too cluttered. I am also not that crafty of a person but I do like them. I also like to decorate for different holidays. My biggest problem is that I really do not have big spaces to display big things. My daughter and I have a Vinyl Company but that doesn't mean that I display all of the things that we sell. I love the fact that we have so many choices (and will be adding more weekly) of the 6" tiles. I have decided that that is my way to decorate. I can have a stack of different tiles and only display one or two at a time and keep changing them as the season or my desire to change things up, occurs.

Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about.

I store them in a cool place - stacked - for space. This way I can spice up my house and change it as desired.

The best thing about all of this is that they are so easy to make. You just need a 6" tile, (or any size really), and clean it. That is an important step. I wash it with dish soap and rinse well. Make sure it is completely dry. Then I carefully apply vinyl. For designs, ideas, and instructions, check out our website (Vinyl Gifts and More - see the button at the top of this page).

I like this size for gifts also as most people don't have room for large items and I think they would appreciate the idea of being able to change things as they desire. What a fun thing for grandchildren to give their grandmother...every holiday or special occasion they could give a different tile! Grandma can proudly display them and store them in a small area.

I don't know about you, but my mom is not huge on crafts around her house. I made her some of these tiles and she saw that this was the perfect craft for her. She also has been giving them away as gifts herself. She does not do any crafts so I make them for her but she loves to give them to people who do nice things for her. It is inexpensive and everyone seems to love them. It is a perfect little gift for everyone.

If you have a craft idea to share, let me know and we can post it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oriental Cabbage Salad

My husband really broke his leg a few years back. He was home for six weeks. It wasn't that he was home all day but he was also bedridden for half of that time. That meant I went from one meal a day (because he made his own breakfast and ate out at lunch) to me having to fix all three meals. He is someone that loves food but he also needs to watch calories so this turned out to be a huge frustration for me. I am not someone that loves to cook...likes sometimes, but never loves. Anyway, I am content to eat the same thing day in and day out... but he is not. I was trying to figure out something for dinner one night. I had not prepared anything in my mind so I went into the kitchen and came up with a bunch of stuff. This salad became one of our favorites... especially his! He is good with coming up with ideas, not me, so for me to make this was a shock to both of us.


1 Cup Chopped Cabbage (I do a knife shredding - cut off a chunk of cabbage, semi finely chop in lengths then cut those lengths into smaller chunks - I would not use a shredder)

2 Tablespoons French Fried Onion Rings (French's French Fried - Original or any flavor, or any off brand is okay - you can add more for taste but you really do need these in this salad)

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt (or this can be eliminated)

1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil (this may be elimated - I never put it in...he always uses it)

2 Packets of Dried Low Cal Sweetener - (Equal, Sweet'n Low, etc) sprinkle on top

Rice Vinegar - shake over salad to taste. Be sure to put enough on or the onions will absorb the moisture.

Mix all ingredients except for vinegar. A few minutes before serving add vinegar and mix well. (Vinegar will be absorbed and lose its strength the longer it sits so do not add too early.)

1. I do not measure anything so these are estimated measurements. This is a salad for 2 so add cabbage, onions, sweetener, and vinegar according to the number of people you wish to serve.
2. I like the flavor of Marukan Rice Vinegar and I buy Lite (Low sodium and sugar). You find it in the Asian food section. Other brands work too.
3. This salad takes seconds to make. I tend to procratinate preparing dinner and this is a fast and easy "after thought" when I realize that I need a side dish/salad.
4. I serve this with any kind of dinner. It tastes lite and delicious. I have never had left overs when I serve it for any occasion.

Monday, April 19, 2010

View From my Patio

Twenty years ago my husband and kids encouraged me to move to a place in Northern Idaho. I was extremely content with where I lived. I had great friends, a comfortable house, and my mom lived near by so I could see her often (my husband likes my mom for those that are thinking he wanted to move to get me away from her). I had a part time job that I loved, did I say great friends :), and I plainly did not want to move. It took some real soul searching and many prayers to finally decide to go.

I went from a 2700 square foot home to about a 1000 sq. foot home. I went from 5 bedrooms to 2, 3 full bathrooms to 1, a huge kitchen, laundry room, pantry, living room, etc. to one small room that contained all the above. I think we were out of our minds! On the plus side, we went from 7 acres to 80...maybe that is not such a plus in some ways which I will explain later but for my husband and myself, we have never been city people and this amount of acreage was great.

The story of how and why we moved is amazing to me. I won't go into the why but I do want to mention the how...more the how I made the decision that this was okay to move. My husband and I are not movers so when he made this opportunity known to me, I was less than thrilled. My husband and sons had gone on a guy's trip of camping and fishing. Their destination was Montana but they ended up in Northern Idaho where his uncle lived. As they drove into town, the kids asked their dad to see if there was a place for sale that we all might like (we meaning them). They stopped to check with a real estate office, stated their request (a place of about 80 acres, trees and meadow, river, and backs up to forest land), and walked out with directions to our new home.

Now you might ask what "I" was doing. Well, I was in Japan with a group of students. We had gone there for a three week educational/cultural trip. I had spent the last 3 days of my trip in Tokyo then onto a very long flight in which I had not slept for almost the last 3 days - Why you ask....I had teenage boys AND girls to chaperon...need I say more! Anyway, while I was gone, my daughter stayed with grandma while dad and the boys took this fun trip. When I got home from Japan, they were waiting for me at the airport with a huge surprise. WE WERE MOVING! I reached our car with hope of crashing and sleeping all the way home but when I opened the car door, I was greeted with a dashboard full of pictures and some very excited kids all ready to pack up and move.

I was exhausted and even discussing a move was not something I could do as I was on the verge of tears just with the jet lag. I listened to their excited chatter and fought those tears all the way home. They were so disappointed that I did not have any excitement in MY voice. I finally told my husband that there was no way I could make a decision at that time and would not make one until I had plenty of rest and could weigh this out in my mind. The decision took about 6 weeks.

I don't know how you have tried to make life changing decisions but for me, prayer was huge. I prayed every day that my family would forget this silly notion and let me be. That didn't work. I felt this uneasiness inside. I then prayed that my husband would realize that dropping everything we knew, leaving his work (but he was self employed) and my job that I loved so much, leaving family and friends, and a comfortable home, was not the best decision. I was in a constant state of distress. Why had my family done this to me? They loved where we lived. They were all in sports, school and church activities, and they had great friends too. Why would they want to leave all of that?

One day, I can remember it clearly in my mind, I changed the wording in my prayers. I went from "please help me convince my family that this was a huge mistake" to "Father, please let me know what Thou wants me to do". Everything changed from that day on. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that we needed to move. I had not the foggiest idea what life would be like in this new location but I knew it was something we had to we did.

I told my husband that he needed to enlarge the house. There was no way our big family of 7 (well actually we only had 5 because our oldest son was leaving to join the military and our 2nd son had to finish his senior year in high school where he was - he would live with my mom for that year) could possible live in that little tiny house with only 1 bathroom and virtually no bedrooms for the boys. Due to such a huge variety of circumstances that I will not go into, it took us 15 years before we added on to the house. We crammed our family into those 2 bedrooms (we did have a small basement that we converted into a boys room) and itty bitty living space. We live 20 miles from town out in an area where we see no cars, have few neighbors (none real close) and where quiet is a normal to the point that silence sometimes is not golden.

There are dozens of stories about life out here in the country/woods whatever you would call where we now live and I am sure some of these stories will surface at some time in my writings. You may ask how life is going here? Honestly, it had some extreme rough spots - like when our road washed away with spring breakup, extreme loneliness took over until I learned to enjoy the peace and beauty, coldness in the winter overwhelmed me to the point of much crying, and much more. But my life changed here. I learned to come closer to my Heavenly Father. I began to enjoy the peace and beauty of God's creations. My house has now grown to a much more livable size which includes a much better way of heating so now I enjoy the inside as much as the outside. I treasure the days we have had here. I treasure the times I had with our children. You know, a lot of talking and closeness comes about when you have to drive 20 miles to and from town. Your kids can't get away from you so you can hash out a lot of problems, have some great conversations, and really find out what your kids are thinking. We didn't get TV, radio, high speed Internet, and most of all, no cell phone reception. My mom used to tease me that the world could come to an end and we'd never even know it. What we did do was spend a lot of time together, played games, talked, ate dinners together, laughed, enjoyed the beauty, played on our private beach at our own river, rode horses into the most beautiful country you could imagine, and made memories. Of course this is my viewpoint. Maybe the kids saw it differently as they had to make arrangements to either go to a friend's house or to have them over to our house...none of this run over to play with the neighbor kids stuff. Maybe they didn't like all those talks in the car, I don't know. What I do know is that two of our sons now live on either side of us on the 80 acres and another son lives in a nearby city. One son is a pilot and flies home often and our daughter talks with us daily. I am happy.

So I just wanted you to see what I see when I am sitting on my patio. I hope from this picture you can feel the peace that I feel as I look onto the vast beauty of God's creations. I see those memories. I see my sons shooting bottle rockets into the air and watching them land on the trampoline (ugh!), I see the horses running in the fields with their manes flowing in the wind (we no longer have horses but we do have deer, moose, and an occasional bear), I see the kids laughing and playing down at the river, I see my dogs chasing gophers and playing tag with the grand kids, I see a place for my family to come home to, I see my life - a life that I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for guiding me to what HE wanted me to do, I see a gratefulness for this time I have had with my family.

This new phase of my life, our retirement and older age, may bring changes that I am not ready for...such as selling out, moving, leaving all of this. Am I ready for this as a change in my life? Not really. I am scared, nervous, and not ready to make that decision. When the time comes that I feel that uneasiness in my soul, I will know that it is time to ask the question - "Father, what do you want me to do?" and then, do as HE requests.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lovely Little Girl

I was in Sunday School today when across from me was the daughter of a friend. My heart was breaking for her as she was sobbing uncontrollably. My first inclination was to run over and hug her but she was sitting by her dad. Just the fact that she was in the adult class and not in the class for 4 year olds and that her dad was ignoring her cries, told me that there was something going on that I knew nothing about. This adorable little face would look over at me not as if wanting help but with true sadness. After a time she stopped sobbing and sat quietly. I then saw her dad's arm go around her shoulders and he whispered in her ear. She nodded to him. Her mother was in the hall watching after the baby as he was too noisy for the classroom. Her dad motioned to mom and then whispered to mom when she came into the room. Happily the little girl and her mom went off to her class.

When church was over, I had a chance to speak to the little girl's mother. This is a very special family. Mom and dad were unable to have children of their own so they have adopted 4 wonderful kids. Two of them they got at birth but the other two came somewhat older. Their oldest girl was almost to her teen years and this little 4 year old has been the last to join their family. As I had assumed, there was a bigger story to the sobbing in our class.

It seems that the little girl was not being very reverent during another part of church. She had been given many chances to correct her behavior but ended up choosing wrong and then defying her father to the point of having to be disciplined. Her discipline was that she had to sit with dad and miss a very fun game in her Sunday School class.

The "more" to this story is about the sad life this girl has had to endure up to this point. She had been in way too many foster homes. She is a spirited little girl and head strong but very bright. None of the foster homes to this point bothered to help her in a way that she needed help. She needed someone to love her and teach her about making good choices. She needed a stable life, one with structure and love. She luckily has finally found that home.

I asked her mom if she tested the waters with this little girl before they made the decision to adopt her (which will be official next month). Her mom said that she really didn't want to adopt another child as they already had 3 with the youngest being newborn when they got him last year and the oldest in his upper teens. Both mom and dad are getting older and she was concerned about age and time and all of the things that parent's are concerned about. Anyway, this girl was presented to them. They took her out to lunch one day to let her get to know them and they her. Mom said from the very beginning they knew that she was to be a member of their family. They spent two trial weekends together and from then on, she has been with their family as a member.

I will remember this day for a long time. I see that beautiful little face looking at me sobbing from sadness but then I saw her loving parents teaching her about choices. I hope she will remember this day. Knowing her zest for life, I am sure there will be many more sobbing times in her life but thankfully, now she has someone that won't give up on her...her parents will be there through thick and thin. Thank goodness for loving families that are willing to share their love with others. This has been such a testimony of unselfish love and I am grateful to have been a witness of this one small snippet of life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fun Grandparent's Site

I was trying to plan out a travel plan for my husband and I when we go on our first real Travel America trip this fall when I came across this wonderful site - (By the way, I am just learning how to do all of this blogging stuff so please bear with me until I learn all the little ins and outs of how to do the neat click on stuff.) Anyway, they have lists of fun things to do in 50 different cities across America. I can't wait! They also have fun things to do with your grand kids. Check it out!

I Love Genealogy

I have been researching my family (genealogy) since I was 11. I am now a grandma and it is still one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten any of my family out of the USA. I have a few of my husband's lines out but not mine. It is actually quite frustrating but that doesn't stop me.

Some of my favorite sites are:,, and

One of my families resided in Roanoke, Virginia. I have been so frustrated with my research in that area. I am about ready to hop a flight and check out the area first hand. For some reason, my family lived there for many years yet there seems to be nothing that proves it.

A couple of my husband's lines take us to Ireland. My husband wants to go to Ireland next year and do some research over there. I think he mostly wants to visit Ireland and the genealogy is secondary but that is okay with me. Has anyone ever done a research trip to Ireland? I would love to know more about it.


Welcome - Reason for this blog

Hi, I am pretty new to blogging but thought this would be a fun place to chat with others. If you would like to be a contributer to this blog, please let me know and I will add you. My husband will be retiring very soon and I see that our next stage of life will be very different from the one I have been experiencing for the last...well, for all of my life. I am somewhat nervous about this new phase. I am hoping to hear from others as to things they like to do and place they like to go.

We have 24 grandkids. Many of them live very near to us. It has been so much fun having them close. Things are beginning to change though. Our kids are starting to get the urge to move about which will take our grandkids much further away. One good thing though, we will have plenty of free time to travel. This will also be somewhat new to us as my husband has never been a traveler. He loves being home. Well after a very rough start to this year with some severe illnesses, he is changing his mind and feeling like travel would be fun. So I am nervous about just about everything.

This site will mostly be a place for me to share my experiences but I would love to have others contribute their experiences and thoughts also. Here's Chatting with you!