Archive for January, 2008


Snow Play 2008

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Each winter we take the girls on a trip to play in the snow. This year instead of heading to Yosemite, we headed to the gold country in Calavaras Country. We rented a cottage in Murphys and drove north past Arnold to the Spicer SNO-PARK. At Spicer, there are lots of unofficial sledding hills and areas for play.

Our children prefer to have their own spot so we often find places that are less crowded. At Spicer if you just walk a little bit off the path, you can leave the crowds of people.

The snow was packed so it wasn’t the best for building a snowman or tossing snowballs. We did do some sledding, though.


When Two Ice Caves Become One

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Our greatest snow achievement this year was the grand ice cave we created on a hillside at Spicer SNO-PARK.

It started as a simple igloo or tunnel that Jackie dug. She used her hands to dig snow out of the hill or she climbed into her hole and dug snow out with her feet. Mike joined in, helping her made a deep hole. It got so deep that Jackie could put most of her body into it.

Then, Jennifer wanted her own cave too. She began constructing one down the hill of snow from Jackie. Her snow cave hit a tree pretty soon, though so she had to angle her cave to the side. She got a great angle and could even hid her entire self into her cave.

With effort and a few tools (tree bark and a broken branch), Mike, Jackie and Jennifer created a tunnel leading from one hole to the other whole.

Jennifer was the first to travel through the entire length of the cave, going in on her end and coming out on Jaclyn’s end. She was thrilled.

We were able to open the hole a little wider and Jackie traversed the whole cave as well.


The Cottage

Monday, January 21st, 2008

For our snow play adventure, we stayed at a cottage in Murphys, CA. The Church Street Cottage had two bedrooms, two bathroms, a kitchen, dining room and living room. It was so nice to have all this space for relaxing after playing in the snow. We relaxed by drinking hot chocolate, eating meals and reading books. The cottage allowed dogs, which gave us the opportunity to bring the dogs along on the trip. They enjoyed relaxing as well.

As strange as it may seem, I enjoyed taking time to cook our dinners. What isn’t strange is how I enjoyed having Mike do the dishes after our meals.


Along for the Ride

Monday, January 21st, 2008

It’s been a long time, but this year we took the dogs with us on our vacation. We had several reasons and it all worked out well. The dogs enjoyed being with us, playing in the snow and getting to take many walks.

Merlin, 14, stumbled a bit on the snow but enjoyed it. He barked whenever we would stop walking. He didn’t want to sit still!


Arthur, 10, had plenty of energy! When we did stop, he would instantly climb into my lap for cuddling. He was so lap happy that when I got into a sled he joined me and sledded down a very small hill on my lap.



Challenge Time!

Monday, January 14th, 2008

It’s time for a challenge!

Here are some ideas to keep you scrapping the next month.  I’ll share mine on February 15.

Photography Challenges:

  • Take a photograph of something that inspires you.
  • A second challenge is to get down and take a photograph of something or someone with you looking up.
  • Take it one challenge farther and take a photograph of something or someone with you looking down.

Digital Challenge:

  • Create a journaling block digitally, including a digital element (stamp, paper, etc.)

Journaling Challenges:

  • Follow my advise and do journaling for a layout before creating the layout.
  • Do a follow-up layout. Often we record an interest or a change and then leave it at that. Look back from a few years ago at some interests or changes. Have they remained the same? Have they changed? If so, how and why?

Layout Challenge: Use a scrapbook product for inspiration.

Sketch Challenge: Use this sketch to create a layout:


It looks simple enough. What can you do with it?

Have fun!



Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

When Grandpa Gormish received a hand-held GPS unit for Christmas we were all able to go Geocaching together. Typically, in geocaching you use a GPS unit to find a hidden container, also called a “cache.” The container will have a log book and maybe some trinkets to trade.


To use the GPS unit to find a cache, Grandpa and Mike found the locations of several caches from the geocaching website. With the coordinates, we were off on several trips. We tried three main areas: local neighborhood parks, Mt. Tamalpais State Park near Muir Woods and Wunderlich, a local county park. Success varied. While we were generally able to find the coordinates and general location, we had less successful in finding the actual cache. In several neighborhood caches, we only found one. Jennifer found it. It was very well hidden and magnetically attached under a picnic table. City parks run the risk of the caches being stolen so you can never be sure if you found it or it was stolen. In Wunderlich, we are positive we had the right area but the place was full of great hiding places among the trees. We never did find the two we searched for there. Woody parks run the risk of not being able to be located due to weak GPS signals and/or the multitude of possible hiding locations.

At Mt. Tamalpais, we found two caches. They were both a bit different. One we found along the road. It was also the first cache we every found. Jackie found it. It was a small magnetic container with a log book inside. We were really thrilled to find it!

As we drove along the road, looking for the next cache, the GPS until kept telling us were close, then farther away, then close again. We finally found a parking lot and got out. It was then that we discovered we would have to hide a trail to get to the cache. And it turned out not be a normal trail – it was a steep trail. While the cache was .2 miles as the bird flies, it would be a .8 mile hike downhill. Five of us took the hike down. We found the location but had a hard time finding the cache. We were wondering if we made this hike for naught. Finally Mike reached into a good hiding spot, getting his arm all the way into the earth and found it. It was a Tupperware container with a log book and trinkets. In the dark forest, we examined the contents.


This adventure doesn’t end here because a) we had to climb back UP now and b) there were people around us. Typically, when you find a cache you take it out and put it back when no one is around so that it doesn’t get stolen. When it came time to put the container back two couples had stopped nearby to take a break. We waited and waited. Finally, Mike tried to stuff the cache back in undetected but that was hard because he had to reach his arm all the way in the hole and he almost fell!

So, we had a mixed geocaching experience. It was fun to find the caches even if it was just a log book. OTOH, it was hard to spend 20+ minutes in one spot looking for a cache and having to give up on finding it.