A journal is DEFINATELY something I started on your advice. A few quick things I've learned so far...
1. Patience. Me being as excited as the kids waiting for it to get cold drove my wife crazy, next year after the boards are up ill use that time for all of the "finishing touches". That way at least I'll be occupied and not sitting by the window looking at the thermometer.
2. Invest in some pucks. I was able to grab 50 pucks on Craigslist for $15. The kids use every single one of them when we are on the rink so it was worth every penny.
3. Brace then brace some more. I thought I had sufficient bracing (every 3 feet on the low water side and every 2 feet on the high water side) but I still got some bowing. I was luckily enough to add additional bracing before the ground froze solid but still had to use the big boy sledge. When in doubt, brace.
4. Plan out your entry and exit to and from the rink. The last thing I want is dirt, sand, Grass or whatever other ungodly substance is stuck to my kids shoes to end up on the rink. I was able to snag a few mats and lay them out on the way to the seating area. Help minimize any unwanted debris.
5. Make a Bench. I made a 6' long bench for the kids to sit on and change on and it works for giving them a rest when they are on the ice to. I snugged it right up against the boards and it works perfect. Definitely glad I did that.
6. Test out your home made resurfacer before stepping on the ice with it. Yup I didn't do that and I had a virtual sprinkler going on the rink of hot water causing a huge mess. Just needed to file back the water and I would have been ok. Lesson learned.
7. Use it! I go out after my kids go to sleep and I'm out on it again before work and school with them, and then again after school. It may not be huge or glamorous but they don't care they just want to skate. I haven't been this happy with this much ice time ever. They love it and that makes me love it. If the kids wanna go, go, it's been an incredible experience.