Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hard to Say Goodbye

What an emotional weekend.  I was hit (hard) with the stomach flu that is going around Thursday and Sunday morning munchkin threw up (only once) so we stayed home from church and watched movies.  I let the chickens out to graze a little and came inside for a bit figuring I'd put them away soon.  Well, I never did.  My mind wasn't quite back up to snuff after being sick.  And while I was inside the neighbors black lab broke free from it's tether, dug under the fence and massacred my girls.
My husband found them after church, the dog still in our backyard.  There was lots of weeping and wailing all afternoon and I think it took a lot of control for my husband to not shoot that dog.  The neighbor said he would get rid of it (ex-wife's dog), though that hasn't happened yet.  I have to give a public thanks to my superman who cleaned up everything.  I couldn't have beared it.
We got new chickens today, same breed as per kid request.  They aren't as awesome as Fauna and Merryweather.  One is fairly skittish and they just aren't as personable.  It just goes to show how truly amazing our sweet little birds were.  I see no point in telling the previous owners and PRAY they wont call or email to ask how they are.  It's heartbreaking enough to think how they trusted me with these girls and then this happened.
Part of me feels really guilty for not keeping them in the run and the other part isn't because they loved to roam around the yard.  I'm trying really hard to not think about the neighbor and the beastly dog (whom I hated before this).  We only let them free range when we were home, but regardless, there is a new rule: no chickens outside of the run without immediate supervision.
I grew lax because they were such good birds and knew where they could and couldn't go.  I suppose it could have just as easily been a hawk or a cat, but it was the least likely predator instead.  So I think the lesson here is to assume that the burden of flock protection is always on you.  No one else is going to try to keep them safe.  Build a sturdy coop that cats, raccoons (with opposable thumbs), hawks, and dogs can't get into.  Don't assume that a fenced yard is predator proof; because it isn't.  And if you do like to let them range, keep a close eye on them or put them away.

Farewell ladies!  We loved having you with our family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A House of Order: the Kitchen

God's house truly is a house of order. So a Godly house must needs be an orderly house. Doesn't it feel like this is the carrot and we are the horse forever chasing but never quite reaching it? Lately I at least feel like I've shortened the distance between the carrot and myself.  So I'm hoping (cross fingers!!) to do a series on how we're ordering our house and lives over here.  I can't promise these posts will be regular, but I am hoping to do at least four.
Oddly enough, it all started with my almost 7 year old son. He's very tidy and has taken to heart the lesson that the Spirit cannot dwell in a pigsty.  Once he came out and commented on how nice and peaceful it was in there and that he could feel the Holy Ghost with him.  I looked at the disaster of a living room and frowned.  It sucks to be shown up by a kid and I certainly wasn't feeling anything holy.  He makes his bed almost every day and cleans up his toys when he's done and puts them away (usually). This child, and this child's bedroom, inspired my husband and I. We noticed a couple of things:
  • if his bed was made, the rest kind of took care of itself.
  • it was much easier for him to make his bed if it wasn't next to a wall. So we rearranged his room to make it easier for him to keep clean.
  • he preferred to store the Lego's under his bed (in a tub) instead of in his closet because then he would be more likely to put them away.
Those seem like simple things, but they were a revelation.

  • find the anchor in the room that makes you automatically keep everything else clean (dishes, clear counters, polished sink)
  • Can you rearrange to make more or easier to use/clean space?
  • Put similar items together in a place that makes sense.
It all started when my husband asked what my kitchen remodeling plans were. For those who don't know me well, I rearrange rooms quarter-annually and remodel them in my head bi-monthly. So I told him my dream of moving the fridge and knocking down a wall. He suggested we move the fridge and put our large IKEA cabinet in it's place. I hadn't thought of it before, but figured why not. Kitchen triangle schmiangle!  So we did and it has made a huge difference!  Now our triangle is more of a squiggle, but in a small kitchen, who cares!

Before: Fridge on the left, across from dishwasher.  IKEA cabinet (where I like to do food prep.) on the right across from stove, near door.  It worked, but it flowed weird.

Before: This is a shot after we painted.  It looks open and we thought it was, until....

After: we moved he IKEA cabinet where the fridge was and having that open space makes the whole kitchen feel bigger!  Maybe arms head space makes a bigger difference than foot space.  Food prep is now near the sink and the stove.
After: A view from behind the cabinet.  Now when we come in from the backyard we don't feel cut off and there's space for shoes.  MUCH better flow. (yes, I know I need curtains.  I can't decide between crisp white or colorful curtains.  What do you think?)
After: Now the fridge is over here where we had the pantry/bookcase thingy which was simply moved over. Still plenty of room to move around.  I also know my fridge is a mess.  THAT part is scheduled for later this week.

Unloading the dishes is my son's job, but since all our dishes were in upper cabinets he couldn't put them away.  He'd simply unload to the counter and put away utensils.  So we move the dishes into a shelf in the IKEA cabinet so he can reach them and stay in one spot and pivot to put them away.  He can also set the table without us getting the dishes down for him.  It simply makes more sense (even though I've always put dishes in upper cabinets).  
Speaking of jobs, I'll show you my cleaning charts in my next post.  Still working on assigning tasks, but I'm getting close. The biggest key to trying to organize a routine and home is to view the first few months as rough drafts.  Try it, change it, hone it, adapt it.  It's a process.   I say this more for myself than for you readers, you know, for the tough times.  :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Life is so much easier with a routine that works.  One of the first things I did in August was develop a schedule for school.  But it kept not working.  I've been playing with it since school started and I think we've finally found what works!  Roughly, we need 5 hours of math, 5 hours of language arts, 2 hours of science, 3 hours of history, 1.5 hours of art, and 1.5 hours of music/week.  So originally I divided them up: history and art mwf, science and music tth and pe on Fridays.  Transition time was the hardest and we kept getting behind which would frustrate everyone because we want to be DONE at 3:00!
So the l;ast 2 weeks we've done a block schedule and it has been fantastic!!

I firmly believe you have to do math and language arts (which includes reading, handwriting, and grammar) every day.  It's the daily practice that makes it stick.  So we do those in the morning after breakfast.  Then we take a break for lunch and recess and get some chores done.  Afterwards we do 2 science lessons on Monday, art on Tuesdays, 2 history lessons on Wednesday, 1 history lesson Thursday + special interest study, and music & pe on Fridays.  It has made all the difference.  It's so much easier to just keep going with what your doing (especially with art and science!).  The day seems less hectic when you only have to think about 3 classes instead of 4 or 5.

Also, we learned about a fun site: ldd.lego.com. It's virtual Lego's and we're playing with them to duplicate Roman architecture.  It's fairly easy to make an aqueduct.  I'm hoping he might tackle the pantheon...but we'll see.  Anyway, it's on the list of things he can do once all his school work is done and those incentives really help a lot.

I'm still playing around with each child's schedule, trying to make sure my girls get enough mom time and the chores still get done.  It's not easy.  And I have less and less time for the internet, which is a good thing.  I don't really miss facebook, but I do miss reading all my favorite blogs as often as I used to.  

PS-it snowed today.  The coop stays fairly warm, but I'm so worried about my chickens freezing! :(

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I love General Conference

I love hearing the messages of inspiration from the leaders of my church!  But I have to admit that I don't remember a lot of talks because I'm so excited about Provo's new temple!!!!  Squeee!!
I went to so many stake conferences and Messiah sing alongs and visits at the old tabernacle.  Beautiful building with the most ridiculously hard seats you ever sat on.  Then this happened last December,
and we all cried because we thought our city's beloved building was destroyed.
But now they are going to restore it!  And even add the old middle spire that was removed after the roof started to cave in a hundred years ago.

In a matter of years the residents of Provo will get to have this
and I am so excited!!  Since there's usually an hour wait to go to the current Provo temple it will be nice to have another option.  The building was such a beautiful part of downtown and I am thrilled it will be restored!  Yay!!!