Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kids' Chores by Room

I've been cleaning all day.  3 weeks of summer vacation are already done and I'm hoping next week we'll have the hang of it, cause so far we haven't done much of our plans cause the kids are never done with their stuff.  I thought it would help for me to be very specific about what they need to do.  SO, here is what I expect from them "chores"-wise.  I got this idea from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking's Spring Cleaning List and I modified it with a little twist of Flylady style.  I just printed up these daily/weekly task list that I'm hoping will not make them feel overwhelmed.  Put them in a sheet protector and on a clipboard and we're ready to go.  

And if they are able to do this, wow, our house will really look great!  

(This is the type of looking room that we are trying to avoid ~ although this one was taken in the middle of de-junking it)

(Here's crossing my fingers.) 


  1. Pick up items off the beds, shelves, & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Clothes folded neatly
  3. Take dirty clothes to laundry room

Mon - Wash bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets, and wipe down bed frame, (once a month: freshen mattress by sprinkling with baking powder, letting sit briefly, and the vacuuming it up.)
Tues - Organize and donate toys and wash shelves and toy box, vacuum floor and under bed
Wed - Wash walls, doors, knobs and switch plates
Thurs - Clean out all closet drawers and shelves, wipe out, replace items neatly
Fri - Vacuum floor and all corners of room
Sat - Wash windows and window blinds

  1. Pick up items off the couches & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Straighten pillows & blankets
  3. Sweep landing and clean coat closet
  4. Dust shelves

Mon - Wash Windows
Tues - Vacuum floor and under couch cushions
Wed - Wash Walls, doors, knobs and switch plates
Thurs - Sweep off front porch
Fri - Vacuum floor and move couches and vacuum under them and the rug
Sat - Scrub grout and Wash floor boards

  1. Pick up items off the desk & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Clean off desk and wipe clean
  3. Empty garbage

Mon - Wash glass door
Tues - Vacuum floor and all corners
Wed - Wash Walls, doors, knobs and switch plates
Thurs - Empty out desk drawers, wipe or vacuum them out, organize items and put back
Fri - Vacuum floor and all corner
Sat - Empty out desk cupboards, wipe them out, organize items and put back


  1. Pick up items off the couches & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Straighten pillows & blankets
  3. Clean off desk and wipe clean
  4. Dust book shelves and side tables
  5. sweep floor and mop wood floor

Monday - Wash Dad’s glass office door and all windows & mirrors
Tues - Vacuum rug and under couch cushions
Wed - Wash Walls, doors, knobs and switch plates
Thurs - Empty out desk drawers, wipe or vacuum them out, organize items and put back
Fri - Vacuum rug and under couch and all corner
Sat - Wash floor boards and spot clean couch (ask mom for help)

  1. Pick up items off the counter, table, & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Clean off Table and wipe clean
  3. Clean off counter and wipe clean
  4. Empty garbage
  5. Sweep floor
  6. Load/unload dishwasher
  7. Wash the sink

Mon - Mop Floor & Scrub Grout
Tues - Organize Pantry
Wed - Wash walls, windows, doors, floor boards, switch plates, & mirrors
Thurs - Clean out all drawers, wipe out, replace items neatly
Fri - Clean and organize Fridge & Freezer, sweep under
Sat - Clean stove top and microwave, sweep under stove

  1. Pick up items off the counter & floor and put them away where they go
  2. Wash counter top
  3. Clean sink and drain
  4. Empty garbage
  5. Straighten bathmats

Mon - Mop floor, floor boards, and scrub grout
Tues - Clean toilets and restock TP
Wed - Wash walls, doors, front of cabinets, knobs and switch plates
Thurs - Clean out all drawers, wipe out, replace items neatly
Fri - Clean Tub
Sat - Clean and organize under sinks

* Update * - I added a few more lists - including backyard, pets, basement, and other areas of our home.  Here's the link to my google document of the chore lists.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Unnecessary Beauty

Wesley picked this rose for me.  I cut it's stem and put it in our bathroom.  This rose was like over-the-top gorgeous.  Huge and beautiful.  These pictures don't do it justice.  I just kept staring at it and trying to get a good enough picture that could kind of capture it's magnificence, but couldn't.

Reminded me of this quote (page 38):

Virginia Pearce shares how her husband is a butterfly collector then says:

"We have museum drawers full of outrageously unnecessary beauty. It is beauty that causes you to wonder how your vocabulary could be so small and woefully inadequate. ... When I want to fill my heart with His love, I open my eyes to the creations of His hand, especially the ones that seem outrageously and uselessly beautiful--sunsets, sunrises, ice crystals, the way a baby laughs before she can do useful things such as talking and walking..."

Speaking of babies, Sophia started really crawling today, and it was SOOOO CUTE!  Amazing that no matter if the accomplishment is big of small, they equally will fill your heart to almost bursting ~ whether it's a baby learning to clap or a 4 year old writing their name for the first time or a 12 year old getting lost in a book.  It is joyful to see these little ones learn and grow.  Each stage of parenthood has it's delightful moments.  So seeing her crawl today totally filled my heart with joy - We all start squealing and calling for anyone who hasn't seen yet to come over and watch this little 9 month old slap her sweet little chubby hands on the ground and move herself along, we were all laughing, it is wonderful.  Life is good and beautiful.  Even when it's not, I enjoy trying to train myself to make it beautiful.

Sophi likes the cool air from the floor vent :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wes Asthma Update

Happy Birthday Wes!  He is now 7 years old.  

He's doing great after his 19 hour stay at the hospital to top off his birthday celebrations.  It was an asthma attack which we now think was because of him watching me as I spray painted four Ikea magnet boards for Mel's room.  Don't know why I didn't put that together as a possible cause.  So we're relieved to know it wasn't an allergy to something and that it'll be pretty simple to keep it from happening again. 

He had a fun time in the hospital, except for when he hated it.  He really liked the bed that went up and down and would try to tell his siblings about it and show them the noise it made by holding the phone up to the button on the bed rail.  He had a little thing on his pointer finger to read his heart beat, so he was a little annoyed to be stuck in the bed attached to the string. 

He said to me "They are treating me like a puppy!" - cause he felt like he was on a leash.  We let him off for a little bit and he joined Sophia and I looking out the window at the exciting parking lot. 

For the next several hours, he'd also occasionally burst out "Are we just going to keep sitting here or what?!?!"  So lots of time just sitting there, but we are all thankful that he is okay and grateful for modern medicine.  What a blessing.

Something else cute, at dinner a few nights ago, Wesley's prayer went something like this:

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank thee for this day.  We're thankful for our food.  Please bless that...when we go to the tree farm... that none of us will be charged by a daddy deer.  Please bless that none of us will fall into the bushes on the rope swing.  Please bless that none of us will be dragged into a fox hole.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

It was really cute.  Even I almost laughed out loud, but was able to keep it in, it was a really cute prayer, very sincere prayer of a sweet little kid.  Love you Wes! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Per Eckhart Tolle (chapter 5), the pain-body is a part of the ego that feeds on negative emotion and drama.  Well, I'm having a bit of drama and my pain-body would be loving it, but luckily I'm aware of my pain-body and was thus able to squish it before he even got going.

First off, last night after Wesley's birthday party, he started having a coughing fit and couldn't breath.  Corey took him to the ER.  Didn't talk with Corey too much, but from what I understand it might be croup, an allergic reaction to something, or asthma.  I think the doctors are leaning towards the latter.  Well, then I woke up at 2:30 to find that Corey and Wes are still gone, I was woken up by a little 9 month old baby who threw up on my bed.  Look at those little sleepy eyes wondering what her body just did to her and why I turned on the light...

So, since it was 3 a.m. and I was awake and giving Sophia a bath and doing laundry, I figured I'd give them a call and see what the status was.  He had gone out to a different hospital and they have Wes on different things, they were there all night.  Then I gave her a bath and then we snuggled on the little side couch in our room, smelling her freshly washed head and listening to the wind blow through the pinetrees out our window, feeling peaceful and heavenly (take that Pain-body!).

I think Sophi threw up cause her brand new little body is still wise enough to know to reject this birthday garbage, whereas the rest of us have trained our bodies to think this is a gourmet meal.

Wes is still at the hospital now, Corey and I are going to do a quick trade of places cause Wes misses me! 

And remember this advice which I also had to go to Brazil to learn ~

"Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Simple Life

I read this short article today.  Amen.  Moving and being forced to pack up every item you own is a great way to make yourself stop and think of if that thing really has value to you or not.  We've been back in the US for over a year now and I enjoy some of our accumulating and decorating, but I'm also starting to choke on the clutter and overload.  Today I'm going to go through the kids clothes and get rid of a lot (or atleast put it away in storage)  Abi especially, she has too many clothes and changes her outfits so much and always leaves it on the floor, Mel was reduced to tears Saturday when she had to clean her room again which her little sisters are able to trash so quickly.

That article also made me think of when we were in Brazil, one of the times that we travels and had very little stuff.  Life was pretty hard in some ways, but super easy in others.  A little hard/exasperating on the day pictured below, when the well-water pump thingy broke (yet again) and we left unable to flush our toilets.  Luckily there was a downpour or rain, so we grabbed every container/bin/pot possible and collected water and all the toilets were flushed, oh the joy!!  And of course now it is just a tender and fun memory.

But one lesson that I'm going to keep forcing through my head today as I make myself deep clean and de-junk the house is that: my kids don't need or even want all this STUFF!!!!  It's all too much!  Why do I hold on to it?!?  The kids seriously don't care about most of it, it's me.  Let it go Tiff!!!  When we were in Brazil the kids each had one toy and one cape.  And they were good with that.

Hyrum as his imaginary character "BLACKNESS"!

We did go through a lot of paper - lots of paper crowns, belts, and other creations were made on a daily basis.
Ethan with paint on his face and socks on his ears, making him a very good puppy for their "doggy game".  Hyrum and Mel playing with the clothespins I used to dry the clothes for our family of 7 that I washed everyday by hand ...and because of that experience I'm happy to report I have never complained about doing laundry since!
How much better it would be for us to help and teach my kids to create memories and relationships instead of things.  Here's a link to a list of more things I'm going to try and do to strengthen my family.

Wes with Pao de Acucar in the background, one of my all time
favorite pictures of that little guy, what a smile!
Corey, Joe, Me and Wes in Rio de Janeiro's famous Cristo Redentor
Yes, I probably shoot myself in the foot a little too often by buying them things that I imagine (I) will make for kids playing nicely and having fun, and when the reality (R) is not like that, I tend to experience unhappiness (U = I - R).  Here we are now, we haven't done to much yet during these almost 3 weeks of summer, I'm still trying to get on top of cleaning the house and organizing all the stuff in it.  I bet if there were less stuff it would be a lot easier, no?  Si.  Well, it's decided then, I'm stepping away from the computer now to go simplify my life!  Cheerio!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3 Years Old

Someone had a birthday today! 

She's learned to say that she is "free" years old (as she holds up five fingers.)  This morning it took her a while to warm up to all the attention her siblings were anxious to bestow upon her.

But soon the party was up and running.  Everyone enjoyed the birthday cake.

Wesley unintentionally swallowed his tooth with his cake.  It was barely hanging on and I asked him if I could pull it before he ate but to no avail.

Abi started to assume possession of Lily's balloons, then her crown, then her presents... Lily's older siblings came to her rescue to preserve her birthday rights of ownership.

But we let Sophia keep a balloon, it makes her so happy!

and my favorite shot of the day, Corey sharing his lap and some kisses with his little birthday princess...

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Happiness Equation

A lesson for today: U = I - R

Unhappiness = Image - Reality

So it helps if we learn to lower your expectations/image and more importantly to have gratitude for our individual realities, cause God is good, He loves us and is blessing us everyday.  :)  The fight is not against each other, we are all on the same team!

I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other. I know that if we will be faithful, there is a perfectly tailored robe of righteousness ready and waiting for everyone, “robes … made … white in the blood of the Lamb.” 

- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - watch talk here or read it here

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Perfect Pet

Here are my 8 reasons that I love guinea pigs endorse them as the perfect pet for large families with small children:

1) They are cute, even as adults.  All puppies and kittens are cute, but most cats and dogs lose that irresistible cuteness when they are full grown.  Same with rabbits.  We went to Thanksgiving Point last week and for a brief moment of insanity I was considering buying one of their cute little fluffy rabbits for $15.

I admit it, they are CUTE.
Mel and Ethan showing me their best "Can we please have a pet rabbit" faces
But lucky for us, the mother rabbit of those bunnies was really big and un-cute enough (no offense Mrs. Rabbit) that, even though I said we were not going to be buying one anyway, I was also able to stop them from even desiring one by pointing out what those cute bunnies would end up like.  Full grown guinea pigs, however, are still just cute balls of fluff with cute little black eyes. 

2) They sit still - I can put them on the grass and they will still be there an hour later.  All they need is their little igloo house or some other place to hide.

3) They are low maintenance.  They are fine to be left alone for the whole day or to be handled the whole day.  Just need water, food, & hay.  Yesterday I put Butterfinger on the grass right by Sophia and she poked him a few times and he just sat there and continued eating.

4) They are quiet.  They squeek/squeel sometimes, but it's very quiet.  But that is how they got the pig name, cause they kinda sound like little squeeling pigs sometimes. 

5) They don't bite.  The little kids will carry these cute pets around like dolls and dress them up and they just take it.  I love it, they are real live dress up pets!

Medusa and Butterfinger on a date last week
...Unlike the rabbit which we are pet-sitting this week who kicks and scratches the kids to get away from them.

6) They don't try to escape from us or their bin - we don't have to have a lid on it or chain them up or lock them in, they just sit and chill.  (Btw, we did find the rat that escaped last week the same day he went missing, phew)

7) They are large enough - they are easy to see and keep track of unlike small pets

8) They are small enough - the kids can clean up their bin by themselves. unlike if we had a pony.

Although I know that Lily would l-o-v-e a pony! 
The kids were even grossed out by picking up the puppy-dog's poop last week, wimps.  I cleaned up after her, which is why they are unworthy to be dog owners.

From a parent's perspective, I give guinea pigs 5 out of 5 stars for being low maintenance, cute, gentle, patient (as my kids dress them up), and teaching my kids some responsibility without me going nuts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mission: Lego Organization

Today I made a "Lego Instructions Binder".  Actually 3 of them, one for Star Wars Legos, one for Harry Potter Legos, and one for all the rest.  Sometime later I might divide that one into "Creator Legos" and Misc.

(although, maybe sometime I'll just abandon this whole concept, cause look at this cool site, ~ They've got a ton of the instructions online, very cool)

Supplies: 3 Ring Binder and Sheet Protectors
Put each book of instructions in a sheet protector, then put them all in a binder.

I should have done this years ago, then there would be a few less books of lego instructions in the landfill.  Oh well.  It was super simple and I'm hoping it helps the kids be able to find the instructions and thus make what they want to make when they want to make it.  And hopefully it will also keep the instructions from being destroyed by them and then thrown away by me. 

This was step 2 in my Lego Room quest.

Step 1 - Clean
Step 2 - Organize
Step 3 - Decorate

Step 1 - Clean - all we really needed to was vacuum the floor, but that simple chore involved picking up the legos which were all over the floor, ('s taken us a few days...).  We've kept the legos in a little toy chest before, but the kids would always dump the whole thing out onto the floor to find the pieces they needed.  This time around we've got some long bins that are already working better cause the kids can shove and push the legos around as they search yet still keep them contained in the bin.

Step 2 - Organize - the kids talk about sorting out all the legos by color, brick, and element.  I wished them well with that.  Would be cool if they made it happen, but all that work could be destroyed so quickly by one of the toddlers, might not be worth it.  I'll be happy if they just keep them in the bins.

Step 3 - Decorate - I've got some ideas to put photos of the kids with some of their creations up on the wall.  :)  Should be fun. Below are some of the tributes for the Lego Hunger Games game that Joe and Eth are playing, fun kids.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Time for a morning nap already?  That sounds nice, let's go.

One thing I love about nursing is telling the older kids "I gotta go feed Sophi" and then locking myself in my bedroom for 30 minutes or an hour and reading until I'm tired and then taking a quick cat nap with her.  She's over 9 months now though and that's usually when my milk dries up, but we'll keep going as long as we can.  I love that nursing forces me to slow down from the business of my day and sit still, kind of like a grown up time out, giving me time to ponder and recharge and clear the junk out of my brain. (Great article along those lines here)

So Tuesday, let's see, that means for me: Temple & Talents.  For kids: Talents & Trek it (park or trail or mountain drive)  For the Home: Toilets, Toys.  That's my homework for today.  Plus I'm almost done reading this book, on my list of the top 10 most amazing and paradigm shifting books I've ever read.  Love it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun Run Training

I'm officially training for the Fun Run.  July 4th, 7 a.m., and I'm going for the gold.  There are two trophies awarded for the 1st place guy and girl.  I gotta win the Women's division. I gotta beat my boys while I still can.  I'm feeling in pretty decent shape, so I think I have a chance. Plus Joe's getting taller and faster, so this might be my last chance to show him up.

But I don't just have to beat them, I have to win the trophy.  Having that trophy up on a shelf where they can see it and wish they had won it and were as cool as me would be very effective.  And I can walk by and dust it and pretend that my little piece of shiny plastic is important to me.  Well, I don't want to teach them to covet, but I do want them to know that I'm setting a goal to win it, I've made a plan, and I'm going to execute that plan to help myself achieve my goal.  That's what I want to teach them, and I'm gonna win the trophy so they can wish they were as tough as me and hopefully they'll be inspired to train for something and set a goal, something like that.  Or even if I don't win I can show them how to be a good loser!  So yeah, this will be good.

Last night Joe, Eth, and Hyrum all said they wanted to train with me today.  I warned them last night that I'd do a quick shoulder shake to them to get their eyes open and say "Get up, I'm leaving in 5 minutes" - and that's it.  Eth didn't make it out of bed.  Joe, Hyrum and I walked to the church for a warm up, then went to where we think the starting line will be and said "GO!" for ourselves.  Joe and Hyrum went the whole 3K distance.  Hyrum slowed Joe and I down, but it was cute.  I let him hold my hand and I pulled him a few times.  I told him he doesn't have to come for our next training session and he said "...but I don't want to be a fAiLuRe at the fun run!"  When we were on the last leg of the run I gave Joe the timer so he could run ahead and see what his time was, then he'd tell Hyrum and me our time when we crossed.  Joe's time was 18:36, Hyrum and I were 20:30.  I ran it on Saturday and got 13:20.  Joe and I are going run it again Wednesday morning and see how we do pushing each other.  :)

Here are some pictures from last year on their website -You can join the fun too if you want, there is unlimited registration, and it's free!!  (But you better not beat me.)

My hero Shannon was at last years run in the middle above, bib #68, plus our other famous neighbor there in bib #53!  :)

I'm in image 7492 near the middle of the picture.  You can see Corey racing to the finish in image 7602.  The girl bib #93 won the women's division last year... I think I can take her.  Luckily this little fun run is just a big deal to kids, which will help me beat the adults and be the coveted winner by the children.  Corey's on babysitting duty, so without my own kids to watch, I'm in it to win it!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Did Something Pinteresting!

Well, I like Pinterest.  And I really like it and feel happy when I actually do stuff that I've repinned.  Yesterday I did two things.  One, we made some watermelon and strawberry lemonade that was very yummy - nothing like a cup o' sugar to make the kids smile!

And two, I made a patriotic wreath for the 4th of July!

Isn't that cute?  There were a few different versions of this - creative imperative, cellar door, & naptime crafting

This little project was easy but feels a little time consuming, if 2 hours of wrapping yarn in circles counts as time consuming.  But easy cause I was just able to stand by my bed and do it with Sophi content to be sitting close by.  Melodie found me and helped me do it, we had a system, I lined up and wrapped the yarn, she kept lacing the skein through the middle of the wreath.

We just kinda figured it out as we went.  I wrapped all the white at once, then did the red in sections and hot glued the ends of the red yarn to the back of the wreath.  Friday I cut out white cardboard stars and hot glued those on.

I went with brite blue and red, stars intstead of buttons, and after I was done it looked like it was still lacking something, so I added a bow.  Might take that white bow off and try a red one and see which I like better.  But for now, good job me!

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