Friday, June 30, 2006

busy bees inside and out!

Originally uploaded by S'mee.

O.k. Being inspired by Kim and chronicler; and at Yolanda's strong urging: a new topic for blogging. It seems that everyone is rounding up the dust bunnies and making way for creativity -which means we all need to clean up our creative spaces. For S'mee that means finally getting around to clearing out #4's bedroom and knuckling down to actually changing it's purpose.

So we are heading into new country, going from a (12'x13') bedroom for three boys (young men) to a play area and craft/art room for S'mee. With a bed for Little Man to nap in when he comes over. The first photo is my decor inspiration and the direction I hope it goes.

This is our starting point.

The part that is a huge mess right now and with the tropics as a theme, it looks as if a hurricane has hit the house. We are also in the middle of laying down wood flooring in the hallway...just a few more boards and that project can finish up, but that's a whole other post! In the mean time, all the contents of the hallway, and this boys' room have been thrown out into the front living area of the house.

The bunk bed is covered with books, a left over palm tree from christmas, a dresser and a t.v. among other things!

Now we have the other side of the room:

dressers, beds and more books!
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

This is where we have "stored" even more books: on the window sill. Let me tell you, we have books. There is a dresser that needs to stay in the room, but for now we will just paint around what's left here. All the other items have been either shipped to the guys' respective homes or is being stored out in the garage until they have room at their places. (hurry up guys, the garage is full!)

Next check out the antique side board, complete with photos, albums, ribbons, and yes, more books!

I will spare you the gory details of the stacks of clear containers- full of craft, sewing, and art supplies, scrapbook papers and doodads, 4 carousels of craft scissors and even more books in the hall to see if you can play S'mee's version of "Where's Waldo?" called Where's the pianos?

Yup, somewhere under the art, paints, glues, glitters, stamps, plethora of specialty papers and equipment to manufacture even more paper, canvases, easels, brushes and even MORE books lat two pianos!

art supplies, papers, and books
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

A studio and a baby grand. But can you see them? No one will be tickling those ivories for at least two weeks! I will keep you updated as things progress. Today we begin to cut in the paint! Wahoo!

And Yolanda... the bees came back. It seems we have a division in the hive and the Queen left with her entourage, but left a princess to develop along with a couple hundred helpers. I was going to post a photo of the honey comb cells, but yeah, I agree, they are creeping me out too!

If anyone wishes to see the new bee photos, or glance at even more books stacked around the house, click on any of these photos and they will take you to the Flickr! page, where you can freak out with either photo!

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Plan "B"

O.k. So somewhere I am getting the bizzzness. It seems that S'mee's house is just full of springtime hope and the neighborhood bees are loving every square inch of the property. While Thor and I traveled to Utah, a swarm of busy bees landed in our locust tree and made a hotel of it for a week or so. #3 called about three days into our trip to let us know the happenings at home, one of which were our flying guests.

We drove home on the appointed date and found they were still hanging around; literally. I took a quick snapshot or two of the little(?) guys and went to research on the computer. (If you click on the photos you can see a better - up close- vision of what I am talking about! Note the size of the tree limb to the diameter of the bees clumped around it! Mommy! That's one freaking bunch o' bees!)

One thing I found was that on March 18th of this year a woman had a similar swarm attack her car as she drove into her driveway. Seems the woman was too afraid to exit her car and began to drive away from the bees at her house that now targeted her vehicle's windows with darting little head butts... for 2 miles! She was frantic and began to call on her cell phone to local authorities. She called the police, fire dept., animal control and even code enforcement to no avail. NO ONE would help her. Finally she found a pest control service who gave her the name of three bee keepers. Two never returned her phone calls, and the third was an elderly handicapped man who said for $60.00 he would try his best. His assessment was that she had Africanized Bees, who like to defend their space, so much so they would indeed follow her for 2-3 miles if need be to get her to stay away from their new home.

After refusing the elderly man's offer, the woman checked into a hotel and hoped that they bees would move on. They did. Officially the report in the paper said they moved on and probably found a new home somewhere in the neighborhood. Did I mention this woman was our neighbor by ten houses?

Now here we are. S'mee, who has an unnatural, yet strong distain for pretty much anything that creeps, crawls or flies; and Thor who is the king of the do-it-yourself-ers. After doing a tad more research I was determined to call a bug guy out and pay him whatever he demanded to get rid of these bees, "killers" or not. I didn't want to take the chance. The research stated that if the swarm hadn't moved on in 3-4 days, chances are they like the new home and are building a hive. Grrrrreeeaaattt! Not. These bees had been here for over a week! I was getting nervous.

Now a side note here is that the front yard has been needing some attention. #4, came by to "get cool and eat your granola bars while you were away!" -so he was sitting on the couch when the phone rang. "Thor's residence, may I ask who is calling?" "Oh, well S'mee is on vacation right now, can I help you?" "hmm, well, no thank you; but I will pass the message along. mmhumm, thanks, bye." Seems a gardener had called and asked if we wanted yard work done. #4 felt guilty eating granola so he got up and began to do the yard work himself.

He cut down a small tree that has needed to go for a year, and trimmed another, the one the bees are sitting in at the time. (if you look closely at the photo you can see the fresh cut limbs just below the swarm!) He pulled weeds and raked and hacked, and went on hhis merry way, NEVER noticing the buzzing pile of bees directly over his head! When asked about his work later he replied that the large brown clump just looked like dead locust buds and he couldn't reach that branch without a ladder, or it would have been trimmed as well! YIKES!

No harm done.

So Saturday and Sunday go by and S'mee is getting more nervous with every passing minute. Monday: Thor has come up with a plan that will be implemented TONIGHT! after work and after we all are in for the night. I am still freaking out.

We kiss each other goodbye for the day and Thor walks out side. Thor walks back inside. "Babe, come look at the bees, they are really flying!" We walk out and the entire swarm is now in a frenzy and flying all over the place. We pop back into the house and shut the door after us quickly! After a few minutes they are gone. DISAPPEARED into the sky to who knows where. So I guess I will never know if these were regular honey bees or Africanized bees; either way I am glad they have moved on!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

arg! Maties!

Just a shot post today. Thor and I are off to visit with #5 at the Bayou (BY U). While I am gone, enjoy this quiz and perhaps take it yourself. Find out which action hero you would be (or are!)

You scored as Captain Jack Sparrow. Roguish,quick-witted, and incredibly lucky, Jack Sparrow is a pirate who sometimes ends up being a hero, against his better judgement. Captain Jack looks out for #1, but he can be counted on (usually) to do the right thing. He has an incredibly persuasive tongue, a mind that borders on genius or insanity, and an incredible talent for getting into trouble and getting out of it. Maybe its brains, maybe its genius, or maybe its just plain luck. Or maybe a mixture of all three.

Captain Jack Sparrow


El Zorro


Indiana Jones


James Bond, Agent 007


William Wallace




Lara Croft


Batman, the Dark Knight


The Amazing Spider-Man


The Terminator


Neo, the "One"


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

I married up...

And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
Mosiah 4:13-15

When the kids were little, their dad worked as an "inside wireman*"; which meant most of the time he was outside, in the heat, working sometimes 7-10s (seven days a week, ten hours a day), or what was more "normal", 5-12s (five days a week, twelve hours a day). As an "inside wireman", he was required to dig ditches, lay pipe, pull wire (through said pipes), and eat his lunch in whatever shade he could find. He worked commercial and industrial projects, everything from nuclear power plants, dams, and power substations, to hospitals, beer manufacturing plants, post offices, and schools. There are some places he worked that were top secret and others, like Solar One that were state of the art for its' time and highly publicized.

The work, wherever it was (except in the nuclear power plants, which were highly sterile), was filthy, hot and uncomfortable. Many of the jobs required him to stand on ladders for the majority of his day, working with his arms over his head for hours. He was required at times to deal with Fiberglass insulation, having to take old nylons into the shower with him so that he could get all the fibers off his skin before he was covered with hairline cuts. Other times he had to remove asbestos in regulations compliant with OSHA so that others would be safe once a remodel was complete. He has been exposed to all kinds of hazards and chemicals, and been "nuked" - literally.

There were times when Thor would work so far from home he only made it home once or twice a month. He would drive to the job, usually somewhere extremely hot (like Edwards Dry Lake Beds for the summer) or extremely cold (like Colorado Springs -6,000+ ft. high, in the dead of winter). He would drive to his job in our used pinto station wagon; and live in that station wagon out in a deserted field, instead of a hotel. He would cook his meals on the radiator (or if it was summer, just let the meal cook on top of the car in the heat) and take "bird baths" with the water he stored in a 5 gallon cooler. He read a lot because back then they didn't have car DVDs, heck, back then we didn't even own a "VCR machine"- they were still expensive for home/personal purchase. When he was tired, he would pull out an inexpensive overnight bag, not an extreme temperature sleeping/camping bag, and sleep sitting up or curled around his tools and equipment in the back of the car. There were times, for weeks and months, when Thor was never able to sleep with his legs stretched completely out.

No phones back then either; so we lived for the short, yet expensive, mid week calls.

When he worked close to home, most of the time that meant an hour or two commute, and still the 10 and 12 hour days. When at all possible, I would pack the kids into the car and make sure they could see where daddy worked. We would try to drive to each job he got so they could see what he did all day -for us. I would do this once for each of his jobs. We would drive out, try to see if we could visually find him out on the job, and then observe him for a while. Some of the jobs were restricted, so we would drive out as close as we could get, and then we would talk about what it was daddy was doing. Sometimes we could only see a building, close or far off.

Sometimes we couldn't get within miles of his job, but I could show them on a map how much further he had to drive or walk to get to the job. Some of his jobs required him to park his car 'here' and ride the company bus the rest of the way in. Some of his jobs made him completely change his clothes, or work at night when we were asleep, or wear special equipment. The only jobs the kids never went to were the ones that were so far out of state, or the ones when we literally had no gas money to drive at all. But most of dad's jobs were witnessed by his children and wife.

On the weekends Thor would come home and hit the garage. Back then we lived where there was no trash service. We would pack the trash up tightly and store it until Thor could make trips out to the county dump. Sometimes he would have to make two or three trips, depending on the length of time he had been gone, or because we didn't have a truck and only so much would fit in whatever car we did have. When he got home from the dump he would begin a list of chores that only he could do. Replacing pipes, fixing gas lines, repairing whatever had broken the week or month before in our "little house on the prairie".

He would mow the lawn, trim the trees, and even lay concrete to repair the side walk that led up to the front door. He dug holes around our half acre and put in a redwood fence (secured with aluminum poles set in concrete) by himself so the kids would have boundariess between us and the desert, and yes, to keep the coyotes and other wild dogs at bay. He planted bushes and pulled out trees that threatened the roof, he laid tile, maintained and repaired the water cooler/air conditioner. If the motor in the washer went out it would be an afternoon and the wash would begin again that night. I never found one thing that Thor couldn't fix, repair or build. If he hadn't done it before, he would read a book and figure it out. I don't know what it is like to call a repair man.

He did all this so that the kids could have their mom at home all the time. He did this because he loved us more than himself. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Happy Father's Day to the best man I know. I love you babe.

*an outside wireman works only on power lines

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Friday, June 09, 2006

A tribute, Science in Action, and Danged Good Entertainment! (in less than three minutes!)

I have seen this before, but thanks to Chronicler for providing a new link. This is pretty awesome! Way back in the day, like the late 80's, times were tough and money was hard to come by. Thor and I sold a lot of our things to make ends meet and then we started to get creative on ways to bring in a little extra cash.

One way was stripping discarded wire and recycling it. Another way was piecing together tiny chips for computer boards. And still another way to earn much need money was to place tiny "O" rings on stainless steel rods, well, pistons that would be used in fountains. One of our friends owned a company that built custom fountains, here in the states, and also around the world. Some of his clients were the kind of fountains you'd see at Disneyland or other attractions. Then there were the big clients. Like the Sultan of Brunai and the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The Bellagio is famous for it's dancing water fountain. The choreographed fountain shoots water into the air hundreds of feet to keep time and the emotion of certain music and songs. It's really quite beautiful and one of the few nice things about being in Vegas. Thor and I, and our little brood actually helped that fountain (and the Sultan's) functionality by assembling those "O" rings, by the thousands.

So, in remembrance of hard times and beautiful rewards, enjoy...
(this portion of the post has been removed to try and get rid of that annoying box that pops up all the time. hope this works!)
Not exactly "O" rings on pistons, more like Mentos on a stick. Not exactly the Bellagio, but still as fun to watch. Especially considering one of the guys has a remarkable resemblance to Professor Bunsen Honeydew.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

it all started when the doorbell rang...

I go to the door and there are lovely ladies from the Jehovah Witnesses inviting me to an event in LA this weekend the church is sponsoring.

As we are talking, one of the gals notices that we have about 4-6 bees flying into a potted plant on the porch, very near the door. She was right. I kept watching the bees go in and out and in and out of the soil.

Originally uploaded by waen ♡.

We chatted a bit longer and exchanged tracts; I took an AWAKE! magazine and they each took a "Finding Faith in Christ" pass along card. I think one of the gals might actually get the video! They left and I went to change into my best beekeeping attire.

With my long sleeve shirt and tightly bunned hair I screwed my courage and took the plant by the top leaves and removed it gently from the tiki god planter. Swoosh! Two bees cam flying out from under the soil and swirled around in the air. I couldn't believe my eyes. What the heck was it they were building? In the base of the planter, the bees had constructed a cylindrical tube from the leaves of my near by wisteria bush! It was perfectly shaped and extremely neat.

I went in side to see what kind of bees would build such a hive, or nest? I called three different pest control companies before I got anyone with interest. Kathy came on the phone. She had no idea what they were, other than from the description they weren't a wasp or yellow jacket. We had a pretty good time trying to find the answers and agreed that they were probably rouge bees that somehow got tired of hive living. "I don't want to be a worker any more. I am going on strike!" Union bees? Perhaps they were teenage bees and just hanging out and making some kind of club. Better yet, we began to observe the facts. These bees were off by themselves. They were rolling leaves..., hmmm, these bees were loadie bees! Roll ;em if you got 'em! They would just hang out until the day was over and then they would head back home to the hive. All in all I have to say I have never had such a fun business call before.

The next call was to a guy named Joe. Joe made Ben stein look as entertaining and humourous as , say Robin Williams. But in his defense, he did steer me in the right direction. He told me these were "Sand Bees" and that they normally dig into the sand, he didn't know what the deal was with the leaf tunnel. His idea was to take the entire planter, plant, bees and all into the house. "They won't like that. It will make them mad and they will will leave." Great. Mad bees in the house. I don't think so. So I put the planter, in a sunny part of the porch far from the entry. I put the unpotted plant away from that.

Into the house and begin research on the net. I eventually discovered that these are not sand bees after all, but rather Leaf Cutter Bees. Well, duh! Seems they like wisteria. They prefer roses, but those were over at the neighbors. This is a photo of one of the little designers in action. Not my photo, my gals were too fast to get a shot in. But thanks to Kim, Flickr! and web sites I have a few for you.

This is the scoop: Leaf Cutter bees are loners; they hang out by themselves. They don't socialize too much, although a couple of moms may get together to share a place for a nest. They find a soft leaf, precisely cut a round piece out of it, grab it with their feet and wallpaper the walls of a tunnel they have dug out for a nursery. They dig down into the soil first, find a nice cozy spot and then go hunting for fresh leaves. They roll the leaves along the tunnel wall and connect it very neatly with magic mom spit. Cut, roll, paste. After they get a large enough spot they tuck a babe inside and seal it up with enough food to last a year until next spring when jr. comes flying out to scare the whatoosie out of s'mee, who will have forgotten they are there by then.

Mom can place up to 60 babies in a tunnel, each with their own 'room' or cell. They pollinate better than most bees -they're famous for it actually. But they don't make much honey and they don't make wax. They rarely sting, unless they are pinched or held too tightly, and they won't defend a nest, they just fly away. "Dude, whatever." They just fly around pollinating everything in site, rolling leaves and making babies for their short 2 month lives. Maybe they are stoners??? Well perhaps not, there are no records of them heading for the nearest 7-11 for ding dongs and Fritos.

Let's see, oh yeah, they can also use dead wood, logs, rotted whatever to make these nests in as well. I got lucky, according to Dr. Margrit McIntosh from Arizona, who sent me all kinds of links. Evidently it is rare to actually see the little tube so perfectly as in my photo. Here's some more photos and info that she sent along: my favorite link , another, and this one.

So there you have it. My adventure this week with bees. Moral to the story: Next time the Jehovah Witnesses come to your door, don't get your stinger out of joint or you might miss something sweet.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Did you write?

It seems I am in a minority, but I must stand and add my voice.

Letter from First Presidency of the Church to Church Leaders in the United States
We are informed that the United States Senate will on June 6, 2006, vote on an amendment to the Federal constitution designed to protect the traditional institution of marriage.
We, as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.
In 1995 we issued a Proclamation to the World on this matter, and have repeatedly reaffirmed that position.
In that proclamation we said: "We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."

We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate.

In many other blogs (LDS) there seems to be a debate as to whether or not one should follow this suggestion from our Prophet and actually write our Senators. There are those who wish to debate the context of the letter's exact meaning, perhaps suggesting that we should write and tell our Senators that we are for same gender marriage. There are those who defend their positions based on dear loved ones who are either gay or lesbian and in committed loving relationships.

This is my opinion. As an artist I am not a stranger to those who live "alternate lifestyles". Indeed, many of my closest friends are lesbians. I also have, in the past, had many gay friends.
I could go on and on about "union ceremonies" and other ways in which my friends have promised and committed to each other, but I will keep that part short. Suffice it to say I love these people and feel terrible when slanderous and hurtful comments are directed as a blanket statement towards them.

I do, however, feel that although I love my friends, I cannot and will not ever condone same gender marriage. Marriage is between one man and one woman.

Many will argue that same gender marriage is exactly parallel to that of a childless couple in regard that neither couple have children, but both couples love their respective partners. Some will argue that any love is good love, or that having two mommies is better than no mommie; that the divorce rate between heterosexual couples is at 50%, how can homosexual couples be any worse? I would point them to the May 3rd post (Discourse on Marriage) I wrote last month, which stated:

"As Danish sociologists Wehner, Kambskard, and Abrahamson describe it, in the wake of the changes of the nineties, "Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family--neither legally nor normatively. . . . What defines and makes the foundation of the Danish family can be said to have moved from marriage to parenthood. "So the highly touted half-page of analysis from an unpublished paper that supposedly helps validate the "conservative case" for gay marriage--i.e., that it will encourage stable marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike--does no such thing. Marriage in Scandinavia is in deep decline, with children shouldering the burden of rising rates of family dissolution. And the mainspring of the decline--an increasingly sharp separation between marriage and parenthood--can be linked to gay marriage. "

"In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for "shotgun weddings." These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we've come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?"

"Gay marriage is both an effect and a reinforcing cause of the separation of marriage and parenthood. In states like Sweden and Denmark, where out-of-wedlock birthrates were already very high, and the public favored gay marriage, gay unions were an effect of earlier changes. Once in place, gay marriage symbolically ratified the separation of marriage and parenthood. And once established, gay marriage became one of several factors contributing to further increases in cohabitation and out-of-wedlock birthrates, as well as to early divorce. But in Norway, where out-of-wedlock birthrates were lower, religion stronger, and the public opposed same-sex unions, gay marriage had an even greater role in precipitating marital decline."

That is the world's informed opinion. How many addresses have we as Latter-Day Saints been given on this very topic? Are we not clear as to where the Lord stands on this? Not once have I ever heard the Prophet instruct members to treat homosexuals unkind, but with respect, love, and kindness. This letter is here now for a reason.

The point is that we do not stand on the tower waving our arms in warning, the Prophet does. He can see what is coming. If we do not stand with the Prophet then we stand against him. Pray all you want folks, but the Lord has spoken to us time and again, "whether by mine own voice, or the voice of my servants it is the same."

As a child I was taught that in the last days there would be a weeding out, a sifting wheat from tares, not the world from the church, but within the church itself. Sifting those who argue every jot and tittle, those who find more reason to question than reasons to be obedient or faithful. Those who worry about what friends, family and loved ones think before what the Lord thinks, and requires. Being politically correct will save us our friends, but it may lose us something more valuable.

Do we not remember that Adam was commanded to do things he had little understanding of? Perhaps this is a time when I can no longer sit on the sidelines, but stand with the unpopular for no other reason that the Lord commanded me. I love my friends, they know I do. But they also know that I love the Lord and will try my best to follow Him.

There are those who will read this and reply, "It was not a commandment at all." Or "I have my agency." And even, "I really can't get behind a law that would discriminate so. Isn't this going against being a good Christian???" All I can answer is that I have limited understanding. I do not presume to know all things. I believe the Prophet of the Lord does have more understanding and knowledge than I; and I need to trust him to direct me in what is right even when my heart may tell me differently.

We can still treat our friends with respect and love. We do not, however have to accept everything as honourable and right. I am not perfect, I make choices everyday that are unacceptable. I will be held accountable for these choices. I feel it should be the same for everyone. God has set the standard for this era, and until the Prophet instructs me otherwise, same gender marriage is not ordained of God.

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Friday, June 02, 2006


Not a huge fan or Prince, but I LOVE the Muppets. So for your entertainment this evening, I present Starfish and Coffee.


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Dr. mom self diagnoses

A short example of why I think I have some form of dyslexia.

While on a trip to Magic Mountain I noticed a sign posted at every gateway to passenger seating on the roller coasters. I read it each time and thought to myself..."that's the most odd way of putting it!" Finally, after reading the same sign for the 4th or 5th time I said to my friend, "Look at the sign; doesn't it look odd to you?" She read the sign. "What's odd about it?" "It says, 'Please rescue your belongings before entering the ride.' that's odd! Rescue?" She turned to me and said, "It says SECURE your belongings." As soon as she said that I looked at the sign again and sure enough it read "SECURE".

Both secure and rescue have the same letters. Both made sense, sort of. This happens a lot to me. It drove me crazy when we went to Hawaii! Sometimes when I read I seem to grab words from somewhere else on a page and put them in the sentence I am reading. Most of the time the word can make sense, although it isn't really there. I know I do this because I have read out loud and had people correct my mistakes; only to find the word I said a few lines up or down on the page. It makes for a more interesting, if not correct story. hmmmm.

On the plus side, I am usually the first one to unscramble a word search. And I kick booty when we play Boggle! : )

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More family ideas...

Another idea that worked very well for our family. (I thought I would leave the mis-spells this go 'round. I have a slight problem with dyslexia I think. Never been diagnosed, but I had such a hard time in school! ugh! Any who, for anyone else out there with the same situation, you're not alone! I LIVE for spell check! :> As you can ss in just this short space, the letters get a tad jumbled.)

Another idea that worked for our family was organization! We were lucky enough to have exactly seven members in the family. That made it very easy to give each person a day of the week. On your day you got to sit in the front seat, say prayers (yup, ALL of 'em if you want!), You were the helper, the errand runner, the "picker-outer", the chooser, the tie breaker, etc. Whatever, it was your day.

We also assigned everyone a colour. Your favorite colour was on your toothbrush, your comb and brush, your towel and most of your shirts! We used a dot method for sorting clothes so you could end up with a rainbow of clothes the younger you were in the food chain. #1 clothes had one dot on the collar or waistband (permanent marker), #2 had 2, #3 had 3, and so on. The idea being that when #1 was done and it was handed down, we added a dot...TADA! it's now #2's! (and on down the chain...) When the laundry was finished all I had to do was put it in the front room and tell everyone to find their dots. I taught them to hang everything up and it was done in a flash.

So you got your own colour, your own dots, and EVERYONE had white (or grey, etc., depending on the year) socks, no sorting! The guy types also had appropriate colours for Sunday suits and the gals had their tights, but not having to sort socks...Glorious!

Only ten outfits per kid, if that-no more! The colour thnig helped to mix and match and the ten outfits became more with creativity. This way there wasn't over loaded clostes. If we bought something new, something old was either handed down or given to D.I. Each kid got a Sunday outfit. A pair of play shoes, school shoes and church shoes, and in the summer some sandles.

We didn't use the in room closets and we didn't use dressers. Everything was hung up in a hall closet near their bedrooms. We added rods to accomodate their clothes and marked the rods with coloured electrical tape to mark whose stuff went where. Tall kids on the top rods, short ones on the bottom rods. Shoes were hung on the door in pockets. This meant that we could used the bedroom closet space for other stuff, in our case- beds. We had custom bunk beds made for the boys. A three tiered number that fit perfectly and the boys loved it until they were in jr. high. The girls had a custom trundle in their room. They had huge floor space with the beds out of the way. The cost of the beds wasn't as much as you might think. We found a young guy fresh out of college who wanted the work. It worked well for both parties.

We rotated toys. We had very generous Santas, Grammas and Grampas, and family out the wazoo. The kids became really spoiled and their rooms became very cluttered. So every once in a while we gathered up a bunch of toys and stored them in the garage. Then in a month or so we would exchange those for the ones on the floor of their rooms and viola! they had new toys to play with! Thsi worked very well. Every November they would gather ALL of the toys and give most of them away at the D.I. toy drive. They didn't mind doing this because they knew they would be getting new toys soon at Christmas time.

In each of the kids' rooms (we had one for each gender, 2 in one, 3 in the other) there were storage bins for toys, etc. I put everything down at their eye level. Pictures, shelves, etc. It was all so that the kids could see it. We used coloured veggie bins that stacked for things like legos, blocks, and other toys that have multiple pieces. There were large hooks for back packs, and mesh bags of toys or cars. Everything was labled with a polaroid picture attached with rings so that there was no mistaking what went where. I made a large muslin "rug" with a map of our town, with streets and houses, stores, and parks. I used permanent markers and made everything "Matchbox Car" sized. It could be left on the floor or folded and put up and away.

We had a long hallway that led to the kids bedrooms. We would go down to the library and get books, but we would also get art! We would check out one piece of artwork from the library and hang it in the hallway for a month. We could learn about the artist or why it was modern or Italian, if it was painted with oils or drawn with a pencil. It was cool and cheap! (We also checked out videos for free!)

We also had a progression of pictures depicting the life of the Saviour that went down a hall. From birth to His death, hung at the kid's eye level they could tell the story of Christ by the pictures. Every room in the house, except the kitchen because we had NO wall space- and the bathrooms, had a picture of the Saviour.

Well that's it for now. Let me know if any of this stuff sounds like it would work for you too.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

pretty stinkin' mad right about now! Grrrr!

ugh! I am posting this in blogger angst! It seems the "favorite spaces" trolls have done it again! Just 3 weeks ago I reorganized my f.p. so that it was much easier and more, well, organized. Now a couple of days ago (and this happens with AMAZING regularity about every 9 months or so....WHY? Why? why?) my whole program reverts back to my original 'favorites' from , like 4 years ago! HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN??? It drives me freaking crazy (not a far drive, I know).

So I am haven't been able to read any of my FAVORITE blogs because I am trying to find you all again. Hang in there I am tracking folks down like a hungry blood hound. Thanks to ALL of you for having your favorites listed on your blogs, I am clicking away madly! I just added some tonight and will continue through the rest of the week. In the mean time, grrr along with me!


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