Saturday, April 12, 2008

Letterboxing

Today has had its trying moments, to be sure, since among other reasons, my two eldest were suffering from an obvious case of stayed-up-too-late-itis. (On days like this one thanks one's Maker for the third child who, being too young to handle Ratatouille for a family movie night, went to bed at a decent hour and was sunny-tempered all day except for the inevitable dressing angst, made worse by the fact that Big Sister had a (gasp!) New Outfit -- and she did not!)

BUT, there's good news. We embarked on a new family hobby today, sort of a low-tech version of geocaching, if you know what that is. Since the budget does not allow for the acquisition of GPS units, that particular pastime is off limits to us -- but no matter, because we have discovered the joys of letterboxing! Way fun! Basically, all you need is a stamp (make your own or buy one) and a notebook, and some clues from the letterboxing site, which tells you everything you need to know (if the kids are lukewarm at first, have them explore the "Kids" section of the site). We went in search of two boxes today for our maiden voyage, and in the process discovered a charming little lake we hadn't known about, complete with geese, koi, sunning turtles, and a Hispanic wedding party. It took some doing, but we actually found both boxes, using our printed-out clues, and -- get this -- since we happened to be the first ones to find these, we garnered an Amy's Ice Cream gift certificate from each! Woohoo! The kids took turns imprinting our stamp in the logbook and then stamping the image from the box in our own notebook. I have visions of poison ivy rearing its flaming head tomorrow, but at least for now, I would call the trip an unqualified success. And there are boxes all over the U.S. -- so check it out!

4 comments:

Jenny said...

One of the teachers at my kids' school does letterboxing. She's British and says it originated in England...haven't actually verified that, but it's probably true. ;) We had an interesting letterboxing vs. geocaching discussion one day, and it was fun sharing the similarities and differences.

One thing I'm curious about, each of the members of their family has their own notebook and stamp but you have one for the whole family. Is it just up to the particular family how they want to handle that? Just wondering. :)

Hannah said...

I don't know; it never occurred to me to do separate stamps for everyone. Maybe when the kids are bigger OR we do more of this, that will make more sense. In the meantime I like family solidarity (plus simplicity of use). :-)

melissa said...

hannah, i will never know how you find some many fun things to do around town. i have to add this to the "to do" list for this summer, along with the exotic animal zoo in johnson city, the nature trail at spicewood springs, and building a tree fort... well, the tree fort may have to wait for another summer =)

Vanessa said...

Neato. . .letterboxing that is. I have never heard of such a thing, and it sounds like SO much fun. I just looked at one on the UT campus, and I know exactly where it is. I am going to have to take Benjamin there and open it. Thanks for sharing!