Tag Archive : benjamin

Minimalist Camping

We all went camping this weekend, and had a great time.  In keeping with our minimalism, we only took a very few things.  Everyone had their 6 liter stuff sack, backpacking sleeping bag and a bed roll.  For food we kept the menu simple, with all homeade food that just needed to be reheated.  Erika had a great idea of having a ice free cooler.  All the food was frozen, and extra juices were put in the cooler instead of ice.  It stayed very cold for the 3 days, and worked out well.

We played in the Provo river, went on a nice hike, visited our Geocache, and played lots of card games.  All in all, it was a great weekend away from the world.

Swim class

Boys had swim class today.


We had the biggest Christmas ever at the Searle family.  Here is all the presents that we got.  About 1/2 are from family or neighbors, and other are from/for our little family.


Normally we only spend ~ $35 bucks on each other, but we spent a bit more, and got some nice stuff for everyone.


We got the boys both some nice skateboards, from Zumiez, one of the best places to get a board.  They have great service their too.  They boys have been enjoying their boards for several weeks now.  Benjamin was trying to pull off a funny face, so don’t think he looks like that now.  Nathan went skiing last week, and has fallen in love with thermals, and wears them as pajamas now.


Both boys got new helmets to use while skating.  Benjamin was really happy to get a green one.


We also got them some miscellaneous science and other toys, some magnet games, and legos, and books.


Erika got a iPod, and I got some clothes and shoes.  ( to replace (maybe) my still in use, 11 year old mission shoes ).


Even with us going big with the presents this year, we still managed to get all of the boxes, wrapping paper and other packing material to all fit into one box, size 12 x 10 x 15.  A software vendor actually shipped me a smoked turkey this year.  It was really good, and tasty.

We had the best day ever yesterday, we all played PS3 all day and only burned about 11 calories the entire day.  We all love to play the Pixel Junk Monsters game.  It is really fun, addictive, and simple to play.  All you do is build and upgrade little towers that shoot monsters that are going to eat your little babies.

Benjamin’s baptism

benbap1Benjamin was baptized on December 5th.  It was a cold snowy day.  Doesn’t he look so cute.

benbap2Nathan and Benjamin while we are waiting to have the baptism start.

benbap3This is the best picture of Benjamin with myself. (Nathan cut part of my head off.)  This was a wonderful day.  He was confirmed on Sunday Dec. 6th.  I can’t believe how fast they grow up.  My (baby) is baptized.

Benjamin Baptized

Little Benny got baptized this morning.  It was a wonderful day for all, and even nice to see the family.  Pics to come.

Thanksgiving 2009

My Thanksgiving was fun!!  I went to my uncle and aunts house.   I played pool, hand-pool and darts.  I ate potatoes, turkey, finger- jello, jello, rolls and celery.

Modular Arithmetic

Modular Arithmetic is a pretty basic concept that we use all the time and just don’t know it.  Basically it is what the remainder is when division occurs.  Simplest case is the clock and its 12 hours.  We quickly realize that 13 O’clock does not exist, and we divide by 12 and the remainder 1, so it’s 1 O’clock.  ( 13 mod 12 = 1 )   We also use it with money, especially if you where calculating what change to give back.  First you divide the change by quarters, use mod to get the remainder, then pay out dimes, use mod to get the remainder and so on.

Either way, I had an interesting experience with Benjamin this week at the local tire store, that I found fascinating.  He went outside the store and counted all the tires piled up, as we were bored as could be.  He came back and said there were 103 tires.  I asked how many cars worth ( 4 tires ) of tires that was, and how many left over tires would there be.  Instantly he told me that their where 3 left over, and then had to compute the number of cars, which took a little while.  Next question was how many Jeeps ( 5 tires ) could get new tires.  Once again, instant that it would be 3 remaining tires, and a few seconds for the count on the Jeeps.

I tried this with other values, like 23, 36 and 54.  Same experience with each, near instant on the remainder, a few seconds on the count.  For some reason, little Benjamin’s mind must be wired to calculate modular arithmetic faster that regular division.  I’m sure it will only be of value at parties and game shows, but interesting none the least.

Allowance For Kids

Erika and I were discussing how great it is that our kids know more about managing money than we did at that age.  In fact dare say that our boys are 10+ years ahead in money management compared to what I had experienced.

We don’t use the fixed allowance method, rather we have a weekly chore list, that when all work is completed, it comes with a nice $5 pay day.  $1 saved, $1 to the missionary fund, and 50 cents to the bishop’s truck payment.  We are on year 3-4 of this routine and have found that it works great for a number of reasons.

First, this allowance test was all started to get rid of those crappy crying sessions at the store.  The old, “Can you please buy this? It’s only $8”, are all a thing of the past.  The boys know that we will take care of basic need (food, shelter, cloths, education, etc… ) but for other stuff, they are mostly on their own.  Candybars, treats and toys are all from their own money, and that is fine by me.

Next, both our boys know how to save.  The single saved dollar a week has turned into hundreds in the bank.  They save their birthday money, and usually divide up that money the same as their weekly $5.  It is a small competition between Nathan and Benjamin to see how much cash they can have on hand, while saving what is expected.   Believe it or not, the boys have about 60 bucks each for their spending pleasure.  We ( Erika and I ) would not have ever saved money like that in our youth, it would be long gone, the moment we had it.

Also, since it is expected that they serve a mission, and that they are to pay a significant portion of the expense, it is great that they have started early.  Just like when your kids pay for their own bike, they take care of it better.  Hopefully, they will have a more meaningful experience serving, knowing that it is their money being used.

Last, they get to learn to give.  Paying tithing, or some other kind of giving is a great thing to learn at an early age.  It helps keep selfishness in check, and give them the opportunity to see their contributions help others.  Often they are helping each other cover some expense too, and are willing to share when needed.

Just to be clear, we do pay for things outside the normal base necessities. However there usually is a ‘Meet me half way’ type agreement.  For instance, Nathan wants to go take some skiing lessons next month, he will pay half, and mom and dad the other.  Ben wanted a new bike this summer, we met half way on that too.  It really does go a long way, having your kids save, earn and spend money on a regular basis.

I found this interesting article today on the subject, and found the comments on the post just as interesting as the article.

Pima Air Museum

We drove down to Tucson to see the Pima Air Museum.  It was neat, but expensive.  I was not happy that we spent $40.00 to walk around the museum and it did not include the cool boneyard of out of commission airplanes ( that would have been another $7.00 per person and I am cheap).  It was fun though and my two boys are goofy.  Benjamin spent the whole time carrying his card with a F15-E Eagle Strike on it trying to find the exact plane.  All in all it was a good day, not as long in the car and we got to stretch our legs.



Zach’s Baptism

Here the boys are waiting outside the church (it was still locked 30 minutes before the baptism).



Zachary and Benjamin’s Birthdays are only 1 week apart, but Ben gets to wait until December to be baptized.  We had a good trip, but where did all the hot Arizona weather we have been hearing about go?  It was in the 50’s and 60’s.

Fall Leaves

Over conference weekend the boys humored their mom and wife with a drive in the Alpine Loop to look at fall leaves even though it was raining.  Because it was raining there were no leaves to crunch under my feet, but it was beautiful.