Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finishing up the school year

Things at my house are in even more chaos than usual (difficult to believe, I KNOW!).  This is because we simultaneously ripped the tiles off of both bathrooms and that means—every bathroom article is stored in a box.  Somewhere.  At some (fabulous future) point in my life, I will have my house totally clean and organized BEFORE I start construction projects, and end up with the contents of all cupboards, as well as all the tools AND all of the construction supplies piled willy-nilly on top of the existing detritus.  Not yet, though!

The excellent news is that the downstairs bathroom is 95% done.  Only a tiny bit of trim work and detail needs finished up.  In the upstairs bathroom, the tile is gone, the old tub is gone, the old plaster and lath are gone, the window is gone, the new vent/light is installed, the new waterproof drywall is up, the plumbing is in, and the tub is installed (but not hooked up).  Next week: The bathtub surround, hooked up plumbing, new faucet & shower head, install the wainscoting on the walls, install the new floor, install the toilet, install the new sink & vanity and the new linen closet.  Yep—awesome!

Dad has gone to PA to do some handymanning for my dear Aunt, and he will bring BigGirl back with him.  All reports are that she has had a great time learning to quilt with my aunties.

I spent Mother’s day mostly just with SmallDaughter, since BigGirl was in PA, and LargeBoy was at Great Wolf Lodge with the friends, but my sweet hubby drove home after work (he got in around 9pm) to spend time with me (he left at 4 am), which was super sweet.

Last week was a big one for WonderDog—he had his annual checkup from the Vet (doing great!), got his vaccinations, and then he had a total makeover at the groomers.  He looks so sleek with his new haircut—it was getting VERY long and shaggy!  Also, the cat got spayed.  She is the last of our female cats to go in, so no baby kitties for a while.  We will have to be content with the mere 8(ish)  cats that are bumming around here.

On Wed, I had a bad mama moment (or several!) on the day SmallDaughter’s class went on a fieldtrip to see a Toledo Mud Hens game. It was our last regular class day of Seminary (I am afraid the book of Revelation got rather short shrift!), and I forgot she was going, so I didn’t have a lunch packed, and had to just send money.  I was running late getting her dressed, so no sunblock or hat (she did not fry, luckily!), and when I went to pick her up, I went to her usual school and waited for 20 minutes, before a teacher realized they were at THE OTHER SCHOOL—so I was a half hour late getting her.  Big sigh.  I drove straight back, picked up the boys for Scouts fed them fast food, and drove to the other town (one is 25 miles north of our house, the other is 25 miles south.  We live--not close to anything.  Not kidding!).  Not a shining star day.  There was no Faith in God Girls (they only meet the 1st, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays), so while SmallDaughter played in the nursery, I began the much needed purge of the toy boxes.   I dropped 2 trash bags off at goodwill, 1 to the garbage, and have one that is to give away to kids we know.  There will be several more purges in the coming moths, too!

All the boys “slept” at our house on Thursday night, and Friday morning, we got up at 5, got SmallDaughter & everybody else dressed, and went into town for the Bishopric Breakfast for the end of Seminary.  We got home in time to take everybody to school, in spite of the crazy fog that had rolled in while we were there.

After school, everybody (plus Sam K) came back over to our house for LargeBoy’s (long delayed) birthday party!  We played Michigan Bankroll, Scattergories and Ticket to Ride, and he loved his gifts, which included: an order of 3 lbs of random legos (not a specific set) from ebay, a plush death star, a new scout uniform, 2 pairs of flannel pajama pants, “Captain Jules Amazing Telescope Ring”, a great pocket watch from Sam K, and a ukulele—which he is decorating beautifully, and sounds really good on.

On Saturday, SmallDaughter & I took Sam K home, and we stopped to ride the carousel, and I told her we only had 2 tickets, so we would to “1 then 2 rides, then go home”—(we have been working on first—then concepts”)  She was excited until we got to the “then go home” part of the plan.  She had a MAJOR tantrum all the way home.   LargeBoy went to the Zoo with Miss I. and her crew, so I put grouchy girl to bed and spent the evening by myself, cooking food for Seminary Graduation. 

On Sunday, LargeBoy had a mandatory hike for the Jamboree, so it was just SmallDaughter & I at church.  It was very nice—Luke (who is SmallDaughter’s new helper) spoke, and she kept waving to him, which made him smile, but he didn’t lose his train of thought!  Sister C did a really cute Primary Sharing Time on tithing, and she wanted to show the kids how much easier it is to pay it first, not last.  She had me sit in front, and gave me 10 fruit snacks, and told me I had to give her one when she came back.  So there I was, jamming fruit snacks in my mouth, talking about how yummy they were, as the kids counted them—when I got to 9 they all started to say “Don’t eat the last one!”—and I said “it would be so yummy, I am so hungry, etc.”  I licked it a couple of times, too!  The kids were very involved, which was super cute!—“NO—Don’t eat that!”.  Then she gave me another 10, and had me give her one right away, and they could see how much easier it was!  It was a very good lesson—the only problem was the fruit snacks were pretty old, and I had a hard time getting them all chewed!

After church, I took SmallDaughter over to dear Aunt A’s house, then I went down to Columbus for Stake Seminary Graduation. The powers that be had asked the other teacher from our 2 ward split seminary & I to be in charge of the refreshments (for over 200 people!)—and to have them NT themed.  It ended up turning out well—mostly because of MAJOR prayers, and the help of a super sweet Brother & Sister from another ward, who also brought LOTS of bread.  We asked our seminary families to contribute bread—any kind—so we had yummy pumpkin, apple, zuchinni, etc, as well as homemade white, French and herb savory breads.  Poor Kathy had business meetings in Missouri all week, so she volunteered to get everything we needed from Sam’s Club.  We also had little cards with each item that read:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51

Candy Corn Symbolizes: SEED
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10

Pretzels Symbolize: REVERENCE
The history of the pretzel dates back to 600 AD when a monk in the area between France and Italy was playing with dough left over from the daily baking. While he was playing he came up with a unique twist that looked like arms crossed in prayer. This baked "pretiola" was given to children as a reward for their reverence.

Gold Fish & Swedish Fish
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. Mark 6:41

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

(We had little cups with blue pudding and a little sour patch kid on it*)
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Matthew 14:29

Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Isaiah 7:-15

My pudding ended up being a little curdled and not very pretty, but they ate it anyway!  Truly it was a miracle of loaves and fishes—I was pretty worried about having enough, and we ended up perfect—we ran out of most things, and only had 1 ziplock of sliced bread left!

Monday was SmallDaughter’s last day of riding for this session—and it was meltingly hot.  She will start again  in mid-June.  It was also the local High School’s Choir Concert.  Friend A.  asked LargeBoy to make a poster of a “Santa Mammoth”—apparently one of the girls had a dream in which the choir director wanted them to sing louder than fortissimo—and that level of sound is called “Santa Mammoth”!  It turned out SUPER CUTE, and they held it up during the final number.  Quite a few of the choir kids knew the story of the dream, so it went over really well!

Tuesday was a fun Library Board of Trustees meeting, where we had fun—we officially began the makeover of our library building!  New paint, carpet, furniture, and everything rearranged.  It will be awesome!  It won’t be done until Aug, though!

Monday, May 20, 2013

So Busy!

I have been spinning so many plates, and keeping so many projects in the air, but yesterday one came to completion.  Seminary Graduation!  I am so proud of my class.  They are so awesome, and they have no idea how much they inspire me!  They are the reason I can force my unwilling body out of bed and 4:40 every morning, get dressed in a skirt and blouse and function coherently.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I successfully smoked my bees today, and checked on them to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to, without any problems.  The smoke is just to calm them down, and it worked fine, and even better, I found the queen (because I paid $1.50 extra to have her marked with a dot of red paint--which was money WELL spent!).  She has been busy laying lots of eggs, and there is some lovely healthy brood (baby bees) which (I am happy to say) is not gross--which was a big relief!

We are working on a huge surprise here at our house, and I will have some awesome photos soon, but I am way too busy right now!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I wrote my dear little sister a long, rambling, newsy letter last week filled with all of the stuff that has been taking up all of my blog time--and I am too lazy to re-type it, so here it is (in a slightly modified, and WITH PICTURES ADDED form!)

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dear Sister Sister,


Here I am, sitting at the most boring election EVER!  Primary Elections are always quieter, but this one is stunningly dull, since we don’t have any issues, or any democrats, and the only republicans are running for judge—which nobody cares about.  We have had the polls open for 2 hours, and haven’t had ONE voter yet. 

UPDATE—10:30: We have had 4 voters!

So, I brought the laptop, and my goal is to use this time to write you the nice, long, newsy letter I have been meaning to!  Since I think I have missed two weeks, I will start back then! 

So, two Monday’s ago (April 22), I was working on Miss C’s Tardis dress, and had to stop working to take SmallDaughter to riding.  When I got back, it turned out that Seminary Boy L, Miss C & Seminary Boy A were staying the evening, and we ended up having a great Family Home Evening about
">Patriarchal Blessings, which was so inspired, and so excellent, and a spontaneous birthday party for LargeBoy.   The real party is on hold until Sam P gets back from Texas, which works out fine, since I forgot to order his gifts and they just barely arrived yesterday!

Tuesday was his actual birthday, and pretty darn dull as a celebration.  In the evening, we went to town for the 4-H banquet for everybody who got “A” grades last year.  BigGirl & LargeBoy had a good time (they always have entertainment, which is usually pretty good) and I ended up taking SmallDaughter to the park.  We partook of a mediocre “catered” dinner—stuffed chicken breast, corn, salad & cake—but I didn't have to cook it! 

I spent the rest of the week working on both trying to get my beehive parts painted (they are such a beautiful sky blue), and Miss C’s Tardis dress finished.  I also needed to finish Sarah K's dress, and my sewing machine was acting up and making me crazy!  There were many words uttered!  Also, SmallDaughter painted the archway, table leg & one chair a beautiful sky blue!  More words.

On Saturday, I finished up Seminary Boy L’s (matching, Tardis blue) vest, and Miss C’s dress.  I ended up missing a baby shower, but they looked GREAT!  Miss C was so thrilled that it was totally worth it! 

On Monday, I drove my dear friend Miss K's hubby to the campground (since he works nights, and was in no shape to drive, and she was still in TX--she is the mom of one of LargeBoy's best friends--and all of his best friends seem to be named Sam).  He inherited his parent’s trailer, and three weeks ago when he was there with his brothers he opened a drawer and found three baby squirrels (so little their eyes weren't open yet.  He is such a softy, he let them stay)!  He wanted to check and make sure they were gone.   They weren't   So we got to take the drawers out and let them go.  They sure were cute—about the size of a chipmunk, and they obviously hadn't been out—they were pretty wobbly on their pins.  I thought for a minute that one of them was going to run up BigGirl’s pants leg! 

When I got back, I immediately picked up SmallDaughter for riding, and we zoomed down.  The campground is over by Youngstown (in fact, one side of the lake is in PA)., so I logged a lot of miles!  While she was riding, my cousin Matt drove My Favorite Gentleman’s pickup over to the transmission shop for me, and I picked him up, and we went to Hobby Lobby to get photo albums, as I am attempting to get my huge backlog into a usable form!  I also got bright blue (royal blue) glitter, since I was planning to make cool corsages, but luckily, I didn't need to—because: very quietly, between Riding & Matt's house (less than 2 miles)—SmallDaughter quietly sprinkled $3 worth of glitter around the car!  The good thing is it matches the car—because glitter is forever!

On Tuesday, I drove over to pick up my package of bees.  On the way there, I talked to a hitchhiker (young guy in his 20’s with 2 dogs) at the stoplight on Rte. 250.  I decided that if he was still there on the way back, I would stop and pick him up (BigGirl was with me). She was very brave and held the crate of bees for the entire half hour drive.  They can't get out, but the buzzing IS pretty ominous! 
3 pounds-roughly 10,000 bees!

Well, when we came back, he was walking along the road with his girlfriend (who I hadn't seen the first time).  We picked them up, and ended up letting them spend the night in the yard, feeding them dinner and a good breakfast before they got back on the road.  I felt very glad, when I found out they had only had a bag of chips and some cookies to eat for more than 24 hours, because there were no stores along the road.    They were very nice, and they picked up all the sticks in the yard (which had been causing many arguments and stress amongst us!)—which was 3 huge wheelbarrow loads full.   I fed them a good breakfast on Wednesday morning, and they continued on their journey.  I can't recommend always picking up hitch-hikers, but I was glad I gave those 2 the benefit of the doubt.  

I ended up just giving up on trying to sew Sarah’s hem on the machine, as it hated the fabric, and made me crazy, so I just put on a movie and hemmed it by hand.

I got everything set up for my beehive on Wed morning.  It was so beautiful, a truly perfect day.  

I really enjoyed my “bee dump”—but there was one big, stupid boo-boo!  The queen is from a different colony than the rest of the bees, so she is in a separate cage in the crate.  (a cute, tiny little cage, about 3 inches long!).  It is screened so the workers can get used to her scent.  When you set up your hive, you remove the cork from the queen cage, and fill the hole with a candy plug (fondant works great), and the workers will eat the candy, and free the queen.  Since it takes a couple of days, by that time they are used to each other, and things go swimmingly. 

Although the package bees are totally tame and mellow, it still SOUNDS ominous, and I was trying to remember all the many steps I needed to follow (in order)—and when I got out the queen cage, I removed the cute tiny cork, and forgot to put my finger over the hole, and my queen flew away!  VERY BAD. Without a queen the colony will die.  SO, I had to call Queen Right, confess my mistake, take some very good natured ribbing, drive back over, and pay $25 for a new queen.  Everything is good now—and when they marked the queen for me, I had them put in the fondant, and didn’t even bother with the cork!

They are so fascinating!  At first, there was a huge flurry of activity as they all flew around the hive, because they all had to memorize it’s location.  Now, when I go see it, it is very quiet, with only 10-15 bees outside.  However, when you lift the lids and peek inside, you truly see a hive of activity!  My three pound package had about 10,000 bees in it.  Once the queen gets laying good, she will lay 1500-2000 eggs A DAY!  Her own body weight in eggs—every day!  By with end of the summer, the colony will have sixty or seventy thousand workers, who each have a few week lifespan.  

The more I learn, the more I realize how truly celestial they are!  They truly wear out their lives in service, and show us how each individual member may not be much (each worker will produce ¼-1/2 teaspoon of honey in her life), but working together we can be incredible ( a good hive can produce 150-300 pounds of honey in one summer!).  I was a little nervous about bee stings, but I got one sting (on the finger, because I wasn't wearing my gloves, and didn't watch where I put my hand!) FYI--honey bee stings are MUCH less painful and don't last NEARLY as long as wasp (Yellow Jacket) stings.  The last wasp sting I got felt like someone was literally pounding a 10 penny nail into my skin for hours.  The bee sting was on the pain level of a splinter, for about 10 minutes.  NOT a big deal.  Bees get a bad rap, being blamed for the nastiness of yellow jackets.  (Which, although they love sweet stuff are primarily carrion eaters.  Even yuckier than I had previously thought!  Urg.)

VOTER UPDATE—1:45: Five voters.

After we got back and got new queen installed, it was time to go into town for Young Women.  Matt got drafted to drive the truck up to our house (since the shop found out it WAS NOT the transmission!), and he got to see the hive.  I dropped him off at home, then went to the church early so I could fit  Sarah for sleeves on her prom dress (the great part was that I cut so much off the bottom to make it short enough for her that I had plenty to modest up the top!  I wasn't able to get all the hand stitching done until Friday, but it turned out beautifully, and she had a great time at her prom!  It started out strapless, it ended up looking quite like Meg from Hercules.

On Thursday, I drove the truck to a DIFFERENT shop, and Miss K's hubby stayed after work and brought me home.  He can’t wait for his family to be back. Fortunately  Miss K’s mom is doing MUCH better.  (they should be home tomorrow night or Thursday morning) . BigGirl got to go to New York to attend Youth Conference with Aunt M & Uncle O's stake--she had a GREAT time.

 LargeBoy went to the Seminary Boy A & C's house for a sleepover, and to see  Seminary Boy  soccer game on Sat.  LargeBoy was supposed to ride with their aunt into town to see the Youth Theater production of “7 Brides for 7 Brothers” which had LOTS of his friends in it.  However, during the game Seminary Boy C got kneed in the head, and went to the ER with a concussion, so LargeBoy missed his ride.  However, he got to go fishing with  Seminary Boy A  and had a great time, although he did get a pretty bad sunburn.

My Favorite Gentleman got to come home—just for Saturday, and we had a nice day together.  He modified the outside coop for the new chicks (who are now teenagers, and way to big for my basement!), and we got them moved out.  We also went on a nice date to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, and we took SmallDaughter.  She LOVED the guacamole, and the refried beans, and ate most of the steak out of my quesadilla (this is NOT the quesadilla you are thinking of!)  It is our favorite restaurant  and has spoiled me for all other Mexican joints--and I ALWAYS order their supreme beef quesadilla, because when you have found perfection, why mess with it?

VOTER UPDATE—2:25: Five voters.

BigGirl was still in NY and My Favorite Gentleman had gone back to work at 5am , so LargeBoy, SmallDaughter & I went over to Aunt A & Uncle R's house, where we ate a yummy lunch, and played with Matt’s new kitten “Seuss” (
the WonderDog wanted to play, but was pretty scared when we actually brought the kitten close—that big pansy!).  Their house looks great—My Dad & Uncle R put in a gorgeous new wood floor in the kitchen and hallways.  Afterward, we went to see the play, and we really enjoyed it.  SmallDaughter kept waving, and waving, each time she saw somebody she knew, and trying to whistle between her fingers!

Yesterday, I started the day with a Library Board Building & Grounds Committee meeting (I am the committee Chair).  It was pretty cool, because we were picking the samples and approving the final changes for our little Branch's makeover!  Then I ran a couple of errands and bought groceries and then drove North to pick up the Election Supplies.  Then I went back home, picked up SmallDaughter and took her to riding (south).  After we got back, BigGirl was getting ready to leave for her very important 4-H meeting, when we got a call from my dear friend Miss P.  She was babysitting her grand-kids  and she got a call from the rest home that her mom had fallen and broken her hip badly.  So we picked up the kids,  and went North (again!), and I took the little ones to McDonald’s playplace.  Afterwards, I took them back to Miss P’s and BigGirl watched them till Miss P came home.  AND—as if her day wasn't crazy enough—her oldest son and his sweet wife had their beautiful baby girl in the morning!  

That ends up being about 150 miles—a pretty good road trip, if it hadn't just been up and down the same stretches of road!

I got home and cooked some yummy food (ham and cheese pinwheels, chocolate cinnamon no bakes and blueberry coffee cake to bring to the polling place) and did my election prep (since I am the Presiding Judge, I have some extra stuff to do), and got to bed before 10:30, and got up this morning at 4:20.  Which, let me tell you –this boring day is not helping my desire to nap at all!

VOTER UPDATE—3:10: Five voters.

VOTER UPDATE—4:45: Six voters.

This election is less exciting than I imagined it would be—which is saying something!  I am happy that I am working with such nice people.

VOTER UPDATE—5:35: Six voters.

We have set a new record in our County—lowest voter turnout. 

The worst part of election day is that, BY LAW, is that someone has to step outside at 6:30am and yell “Hear ye, Hear ye, The polls are now open.”, and at 7:30pm, yell “Hear ye, Hear ye, The polls are now closed.”  That someone is (without exception) me, because nobody else wants do it—and I am the Presiding Judge!  I was pretty happy that there wasn't anybody here to hear me! 

VOTER UPDATE—6:05: Nine voters.  (we had a rush there for the three minutes it took for those 3 guys!)

Unimaginably exciting.

And, I have random snatches of song from“7 Brides for 7 Brothers”  running through my head--and we can't have any kind of radio.

The good thing is we are in the High School Library, but it is hard to concentrate on a book when everybody is talking.

SmallDaughter has been super cute and funny lately.  She loves her new playset, but oddly, does not feel that one should wear clothes upon it—so I have to go collect pants and gloves every day!

VOTER UPDATE—7:15: Nine voters.

Final count: 9 voters (plus 2 poor dems that we had to tell there wasn't anything for them to vote on!).  We officially set the low record for voter turnout in the county this election (not for all elections—I believe that goes to Hartland Center, who one year had 7 voters—4 of whom were the pollworkers!).  Anyway—I think my cunning plan for a long letter worked well, and you are now pretty caught up!