Tag Archives: YSA

YSA Campout


In my last post I shared the end of one era of life…

Today I share the beginning of another.

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Grace has just completed her first year of college and as part of that transition she now attends church down in Pittsburgh with other 18-30 year old young adults. She has loved it and has found a great group of friends in the process.

Last weekend we were able to finally meet some of these friends in the flesh… friends that Grace has spoken of with fondness…when the YSA ward had an activity at our home.

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A few months ago Gracie shared that her and two friends were throwing around the idea of a group campout. After getting the ok from their bishop they began planning. The first order of business was finding a location for their campout. Grace asked if we could host the event and planning began.

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In the week leading up to the activity the family pitched in to prepare Patchwork Farm for the onslaught of visitors…

Mulching was completed…(Happy Mother’s Day to me!)

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The bus was cleaned out in preparation for overnight visitors and moved to a more accessible location in the yard.

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In the process of charging the battery Toby discovered this nursery under the hood:


The grass was mowed and the volleyball net was erected,

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And before we knew it Friday had arrived!

Gracie’s friends began showing up around 6:00, with Olivia arriving early to set up her family’s two tents that she graciously shared with the group.


Food for the event arrived soon after that and cutting and dicing for dinner began while Rusty and Tyler got the fire going in preparation for foil dinners.

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By 6:30 the driveway was filling up with vehicles.

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Friends continued to file in as dinner was served and games commenced.

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Following dinner there was a spiritual devotional offered fireside…

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And then the remainder of the night was spent singing around the fire (accompanied by guitar) and playing night games.

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The next morning a “create your own” oatmeal bar was laid out on the picnic table and everyone got a warm and filling breakfast in their bellies before they headed out for their hike.

Per Gracie’s suggestion, they headed to Buttermilk Falls for their hike.

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This little gem is only minutes from our house but is awesome to experience. Everyone had a good time exploring the waterfall and the climbing rocks that makes this park one of our favorite places to visit.

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When I start to feel sad about a chapter of life coming to a close it is nice to be reminded that new chapters await and they can be equally blessed.

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So grateful Gracie has found this group of friends!

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A Great First Date


This past week was a monumental one as my three oldest kids stepped into the dicey world of dating…a world I am so glad to have exited 20 years ago when I found my soulmate and no longer had to maneuver that stressful and uncertain world.

I’m happy to report they found the experience delightful despite the nerves they all endured in the days leading up to the night of their dates. Rusty’s nerves were most evident by the significant decrease in the portion sizes of his meals in the days leading up to his date. The butterflies that invaded his stomach left little room for food.

This was Rusty’s and Gracie’s first dates and Molly’s second, so they were all stepping into this new phase of life within a week of each other.

Grace had a group date planned with Olivia and two of her girlfriends from church (Amelia and Hannah) and their dates, making it a group of eight. The original plan was to go bowling but after discovering the bowling alley was packed they moved onto Plan B and enjoyed a fun night walking around Oakland, window shopping, and eating ice cream. Grace said it was a really fun group and a really fun night…a perfect first date.

Molly and Rusty decided to combine their efforts and plan a group date together with friends from church. They came up with the idea of a “selfie scavenger hunt” at the mall, creating a list of fun and challenging shots they would have to capture with their dates.

 Once they had the activity planned then they each invited a friend from church to be their date, along with another couple, making it a group of six.

They met at the mall on Saturday night and began the selfie scavenger hunt…

Here are some of the items they had to find…

A picture while wearing a tiara:


A picture while wearing an orange necktie:


A picture while riding an escalator:


A picture while surrounded by stuffed animals:


A picture with a funny shirt:


A picture of your date riding a kiddie ride:


A picture of your date playing a video game:


A picture of you and your date hiding behind a tree in the mall:


A picture posing as a mannequin:


A picture with the mall information map:


Group photo modeling glasses:


A picture while holding a 100th birthday card:


They said it was a blast.

The night ended with dinner in the mall’s food court. Rusty reported that this was the only hiccup of the night as the young men struggled to figure out how to maneuver the challenging  process of purchasing their date’s meal in the crowded chaos of ordering at Chick-fil-A’s counter.

Despite the struggle and uncertainty, the date ended with a fun meal with friends. I told Rusty it gets easier and the complicated dance of “paying for your date’s dinner” gets smoother the more you do it. 🙂

Oh how glad I am to be out of that phase of life!!


Molly and Rusty both came home feeling that the activity, in combination with the dates they chose, made for a perfect date!